Idaho’s capitol building is located in Boise. (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)
A bill that would require parents to be informed of their legal rights in a child protection investigation was introduced in the Idaho Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee on Monday.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Scott Herndon, R-Sagle, is an updated version of House Bill 170, which passed the Idaho House of Representatives in 2019 but failed in the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee.
That bill, sponsored by Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, stated that the responsible parents were to be notified of their legal rights in a child protection investigation upon the first contact with the family. It also stated that the individuals had the right to remain silent and consult with an attorney, could refuse entry to their home or other property, and could refuse to allow questioning of minor children in their home or on their property.
Those same rights are listed in Herndon’s new bill, he said, but with the stipulation that the rights are required to be expressed to the individuals involved within 72 hours of first contact rather than immediately. He said that was an attempt to fix criticism from the last version of the bill that immediate notification of rights would make the process seem criminal rather than civil.
Herndon said the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare agreed to institute the policy after the bill failed in 2019, but said putting it into law would ensure the next health and welfare director didn’t decide to do something different.
The bill could receive a hearing in the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee in the coming days of the legislative session.
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