Idaho House spikes victims' rights amendment

The bill failed to receive a two-thirds majority from the Idaho House needed for passage.

BOISE - Idaho lawmakers have once again spiked a proposal seeking to expand the rights of crime victims after opponents argued the change could lead to costly unintended consequences.

House members failed to give the proposal a two-thirds majority support on Monday.

The proposal would have changed Idaho's 1994 Victim Rights Amendment by requiring victims to be timely notified of all court proceedings involving suspects, as well as allowing victims be heard at each step of the legal process.

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A similar proposal failed to clear the House last year after lawmakers raised concerns about the bill's backers and appropriateness of tweaking Idaho's constitution.

The amendment, dubbed Marsy's Law for Idaho, is named for a California woman killed in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend after he was released from jail without her being notified.

In a news release issued after Monday's vote, the Marsy's Law for Idaho campaign said it won't give up the fight for equal rights for crime victims.

“We are grateful to our sponsors, Rep. Brent Crane and Sen. Todd Lakey, victim advocates, prosecutors and law enforcement for their unwavering support to provide crime victims in Idaho with an equal level of constitutional protections,” Jason Arrington, state director of Marsy’s Law for Idaho, said.

“Some people just don’t care about equal rights for crime victims, and that’s unfortunate. Even so, we do not intend to give up this fight,” Arrington said. “This will simply make us more focused and committed to come back and work on behalf of victims who deserve to have a stronger voice and rights equal to those of the accused.”