To Members of the Idaho State House and Senate,
The Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai and Latah County Human Rights Task Forces in North Idaho, with a combined membership of over 1500 people, stand united against two dangerous bills currently in the Idaho State Affairs Committee, S 1220 and S 1240.
S 1220 changes Idaho’s existing law redefining "domestic terrorism" and proposes a group must have proven coordination with a foreign organization to be designated as “domestic terrorists”. This bill would exclude most groups in our country that conduct organized violence and would essentially make Idaho’s domestic terrorism law useless. The Aryan Nations would not qualify as domestic terrorists under S 1220.
S 1240, by removing Idaho’s ban on private militias, would repeal Idaho law that states the only legal militia is the National Guard under the Governor’s authority. S 1240 opens the door to the growth of paramilitary groups which operate outside of public governance and accountability to Idaho’s citizens and threatens the safety of our communities.
The changes these bills propose would make Idaho law inconsistent with federal law and other law enforcement agencies nation-wide. Counter-terrorism experts and the FBI are watching the evolution and growth of extremist groups in Idaho with alarm. Former Attorney General, Jim Jones, states that these bills, “will deprive Idaho law enforcement of their best tool against dangerous groups like the Aryan Nations and send out a message across the country that Idaho is once again opening its door to violent extremists.” This is no time to weaken the laws meant to protect Idaho’s citizens.
Our Human Rights Task Forces were created in response to militia activity in North Idaho. We have personally witnessed armed vigilantes on the streets of our own communities creating fear and intimidation. We urge you to vote No on S 1220 and S 1240. Current Idaho law that addresses militia activity should be enforced, not repealed. Please enter our written testimony into public record.
Latah County Human Rights Task Force
Bonner County Human Rights Task Force
Kootenai County Human Rights Task Force on Human Relations
Boundary County Human Rights Task Force