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Tipsheet

Idaho Scores A Win Against Homeless Encampments

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Gov. Brad Little (R-ID) was granted a score after winning a court battle against homeless encampments outside of the state's capitol, saying it had turned into a “danger zone.”

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A judge decided to dismiss a lawsuit filed by activists that challenged his administration’s actions to remove the encampment on public property.

According to Little’s office, activists began gathering on the capitol steps last January, which eventually led to an increased need for police surveillance after the area was starting to become a safety hazard. 

Little said that the area had become like a scene out of Portland with hypodermic needles, bags containing human feces, soiled clothing, rotting food, abandoned property, violence, drug abuse, and garbage all over the state property.

“It just looked like heck," Little said, adding that there was “no shortage of people upset about it."

The Republican governor said his office won the case by arguing how unsafe and unsanitary the area had become, and also providing evidence of the waste found at the site.

“But they were there, they were harassing state employees and legislators when they went by," Little said, adding that Idaho has resources for the homeless such as shelters, which always almost have room. 

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“And we just don't have that in Idaho. But activists got these people – some of them with not much in the way of means, ginned up to stay there even though there were other places they could stay,” he continued.

He blamed activists for escalating the situation beyond its means, and said that his state was not going to be another Portland, San Francisco, or Los Angeles “where public officials have engaged in failed experiments to permit and encourage unsafe and destructive public camping."

According to data, Idaho has the 10th lowest violent crime rate in the nation, ranking it as the third safest state in the nation overall.


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