Civil asset forfeiture reform bill clears Idaho House

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho proposal to change when police can take a citizen’s property has cleared its latest hurdle despite warnings from critics that doing so will mean the Legislature is softening its stance on crime.

House members voted 58-10 on Thursday to advance legislation that would forbid police officers from seizing cash or property simply because it was in close proximity to an illegal substance. It would also ban seizing vehicles unless they are in connection with trafficking offenses, while creating reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies on forfeited property.

Idaho’s current civil asset forfeiture law allows police to seize someone’s cash or cars if they believe it’s tied to a crime as a way to fight large-scale crime operations. A person doesn’t need to be charged with a crime in order to have property seized.