House Bill 195 and House Bill 288 – What Will You Do to Protect Your First Amendment Rights in Idaho?

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Idaho State Legislture

Representative Heather Scott                                              March 8th, 2021 

House Bill 195 and House Bill 288 – What Will You Do to Protect Your First Amendment Rights in Idaho?



Today is an excellent day for Idahoans to engage in their government. It is also a critical day for any Idaho citizen who values their free speech, right to air grievances against government, and their right to freely assemble.  Two bills will be voted on within the next few days, and if passed, I believe will stifle your freedom of speech and right to assemble.


-House Bill 195 would stop “targeted picketing” which essentially means the criminalization of free speech and protests on public property based on the protest's proximity to a private dwelling. House Bill 195 criminalizes efforts to hold elected officials accountable by protesting near their homes when they violate their oath of office. I believe this bill is a direct attack on our 1st Amendment. This bill was proposed by Rep. Chaney of District 10 and Rep. Green of District 18. 


-House Bill 288 becomes even more ludicrous by criminalizing free speech. It imposes penalties for sharing information that might be used in organizing political protests near residential property.  House Bill 288 is salt in the wounds inflicted by House Bill 195 by stopping organizing for protests or picketing. While advocates of House Bill 288 claim the bill is consistent with making people "responsible for the abuse of" their liberty, we have yet to see any government branch hold the media responsible for their routine violations, so why now is the target on citizens?  This bill was proposed by Rep. Chaney of District 10 and Rep. Green of District 18. 


I believe this is a dangerous path to start down for the State of Idaho. With the current federal administration, big tech, and media now wanting to set the standards and suppress any speech that doesn’t fit their political narrative, these two bills seem to openly destroy our Republic.  


No one endorses mob actions that disturb the peace with extreme noise or destruction of property.  However, the vagueness of the language in both of these bills is the problem. “Picketing” could include peaceable assembly, the word “annoy” could include almost anything, and the word ‘disclose’ is not clear.  If you are at all concerned, please contact your representatives and senator today and express your concerns with House Bill 195 and House Bill 288. Ask them to honor their oath and protect your rights as expressed in the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States.


If you do not know who your legislators are, you can click HERE.


Government tyranny is real. Today’s government spends an excessive amount of energy protecting and insulating themselves from citizen oversight and engagement.   This problem is not new to the governed vs. the governing battle  throughout history. See below to for a quick history lesson on suppression of speech in United States. It won’t take long to see the trends.

Freedom of Speech Restrictions Over the Centuries


The Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798:

Signed into law by President John Adams during an undeclared war with France. Consisted of 4 laws, among them the Sedition Act, which criminalized making “false statements” critical of President Adams or the Federalist-dominated government, a violation of the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The Sedition Act expired in 1801.


19th Century:

Sedition, criminal anarchy and criminal conspiracy laws were used to suppress the speech of abolitionists, religious minorities, suffragists, labor organizers, and pacifists.


Early 20th Century:

Trade union meetings were banned and courts routinely prohibited strikes and other protests. Violators were sentenced to prison. Symbols of communism and anarchism like red or black flags were outlawed. Peaceful opponents to entry in WWI were jailed. Many people were arrested merely for membership in groups regarded as “radical” by the government.


1950s – McCarthyism:

An attempt to protect the United States form the Cancer of communism became an overzealous effort to suppress opposition in any form.   This witch hunt mentality weakened the “clear and present danger” test. A loyalty oath was mandated for government employees, and people lost their jobs based on flimsy evidence supplied by secret witnesses.


1969 Brandenberg v. Ohio:

The Supreme Court struck down the conviction of a KKK member and set a new standard: speech can be suppressed only if it is intended, and likely to produce, “imminent lawless action.” Otherwise, even speech that advocates violence is protected. The Brandenberg standard prevails today.


2001 Patriot Act:

This act gave federal officials sweeping and expanded authority to track and intercept communications for law enforcement and intelligence-gathering purposes. Patriot Act expanded government authority to conduct secret searches and surveillance. Critics say the Patriot Act weakened privacy rights by allowing government access without probable cause. Patriot Act provisions have been questioned on First Amendment grounds.

Thank you for engaging in your government.