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HB 335: Allowing Eminent Domain for Trails — 2020

Summary: HB 335 would repeal a 2015 law that prohibited the use of eminent domain for the purpose of developing multi-use recreational trails.

ICL's position: Support

Current Bill Status: House Committee

Issue Areas: Public Lands

Official Legislative Site

In 2015, the Idaho Legislature enacted a law that prohibited the use of eminent domain for trails, bike paths, walking paths and greenbelts located away from highways.

Greenbelts are essential to our quality of life, providing wholesome outdoor recreation for families and helping our communities attract new businesses and tourists. Further, there are strong public safety reasons for why they are located away from roads and not next to them.

House Bill 335, sponsored by House Minority Leader Rep. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise), would repeal the 2015 law and allow for local decisions on how to best locate and design multi-purpose pathways and trails to promote recreation, safety and efficient land use.

Because the bill was introduced as a “personal bill,” it’s unclear whether the bill will receive a hearing in the House Local Government Committee, chaired by Rep. Ron Mendive (R-Coeur d’Alene).

There’s a lot of support for “local control” in the Idaho Legislature. Unfortunately, that support seems to wane when legislators disagree with decisions that are made at the local level.