Gov. Otter signs bill evicting Occupy group from state land

21 Feb

John Bischoff hunkers down to man the Occupy Pocatello camp earlier this month. The group will have to leave after Gov. Butch Otter signed a bill evicting protestrs from state land. (Jamie Hale/The Bannock Alternative)

It’s official. After contentious debate and a little drama, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed the so-called anti-Occupy bill that officially bans protesters from camping out on state land. The bill was written in response to Occupy Boise, the city’s branch of the Occupy Wall Street, who had been camping out on the lawn of the old Ada County Courthouse for months. Some legislators weren’t too keen on the image (or the message) of the protesters, and wrote a new state law to kick them out.

The bill could have wider implications, as some other Occupy movements across Idaho have also been camping out on state land. In Pocatello, leaders of the movement have already been served notice that they would have to leave as soon as the bill was signed, but the group said they will simply find somewhere else to camp.

The bill was amended in the Idaho Senate to allow the protesters more time to gather their belongings from the sites. While the old bill gave them virtually no time, making the ban effective immediately, the amended bill will give the Occupiers until Monday, Feb. 27 at 5 p.m., to gather their things and leave.

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