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SB 1049: Making endowment closures enforceable – 2023

Summary: SB 1049 would make it easier for law enforcement to write tickets for violations when Idaho state endowment land is closed to public access.

ICL's position: Support

Current Bill Status: Law

Issue Areas: Idaho Department of Lands, Public Lands

Official Legislative Site

Sen. Mark Harris (R-Soda Springs) introduced Senate Bill 1049, which adds some clarity to closures of Idaho’s state endowment land. While usually open to the public access, sometimes the state’s public lands are closed to protect public safety and natural resources. In addition, it is illegal to damage state lands through off-roading with ATVs or other motor vehicles.

Currently, if closures are in effect, county sheriffs must file misdemeanor charges which creates a heavy burden on the local counties. As a result, there is a lack of enforcement in many instances. SB 1049 would reduce a violation to an infraction, allowing law enforcement to write a ticket instead. There would be a penalty for first time violators (warning), second time violators ($250), and a third violation ($1,000 and up to 6 months in jail). While we feel that all violators should be eligible for a fine, we hope this will increase accountability for those who abuse our shared public lands.