The Idaho House passed a strengthened anti-stalking bill Tuesday on a 69-1 vote, sending it to the governor’s office for signature.
The measure would allow any victim of stalking or harassment, including threatening telephone calls or interaction over social media or the internet, to seek court-ordered protection. Idaho law currently only provides for protection orders for people in a domestic or family relationship with their stalker.
“Unless there’s an actual crime committed, a stalking victim in this case has almost no recourse,” said Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, the House sponsor.
Clow said 28 states have similar legislation, and only five do not make civil protection orders available to stalking victims. He cited another statistic that there are 7.5 million stalking victims in the U.S annually.
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In a Boise case last summer that spurred the legislation, a Boise man pleaded guilty Monday to stalking and then shooting a North End woman.
Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, cast the only dissenting vote. He questioned Clow on whether someone accused of stalking would have a chance to answer the charge in court before a protection order was issued.
The law allows for the order to be issued if a judge sides with the victim based on a preponderance of evidence, with a subsequent hearing to be held within two weeks.
The measure passed the Senate on a 31-3 vote earlier this month.