Conservation Voters of Idaho is asking Republican Rep. Lynn Luker, chairman of the House Local Government Committee, to hold a bill that would prevent cities from using eminent domain for bike paths and other recreational trails.
Luker’s committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Senate Bill 1044, which already has passed the Senate. The Idaho Farm Bureau is pushing the legislation.
“We are very concerned that for these nice amenities, these things that would be great, that would be wonderful to have in our community, those are not rights,” the Idaho State Journal quoted Farm Bureau lobbyist Russ Hendricks. “Those are not requirements. Those are not things that we have an inherent need to have.”
But the Association of Cities opposes the bill, arguing that alternative transportation routes get people out of their cars, reducing air pollution and adding to the quality of life critical to local economies.
In the last 24-hours Conservation Voters got 300 people in the Boise area, most in Luker’s West Boise neighborhood, to sign the petition opposing the bill.
“People told us the real issue for them was access to the river,” said Conservation Voters executive director John Reuter. While Boise is largely finished gaps remain in Eagle and Garden City and downstream.
Luker said he has not yet decided how he will vote on the issue but he plans to hold the hearing at 1:30 Tuesday.
“I know there are two sides to the issue and I expect we will hear from all of them,” Luker said.
Reuter said the vote for Luker and other lawmakers is whether they value the greenbelt and sportsmen access.
“Or does he think highways are more important?” Reuter said.