‘Targeted picketing’ bill prompts protest at lawmaker’s home

An Idaho lawmaker who introduced a bill to prohibit targeted picketing outside officials’ homes found torch- and pitchfork-wielding protesters gathered outside his own house Wednesday night.

Caldwell Republican Representative Greg Chaney posted about the demonstration at his home on social media accounts Thursday morning, calling it an “intimidation tactic.”

Chaney’s bill, co-sponsored with Boise Democrat Representative Brooke Green, comes in response to targeted protests that occurred last year over a regional public health agency’s coronavirus orders. One such protest forced a health board member to rush home in tears after learning that protesters were blasting recordings of gunfire, shouting and blowing horns outside her house while her son was home alone.

On Thursday Chaney wrote that about 15 protesters had gathered outside his home the night before, some carrying pitchforks and torches. The group also left a stuffed animal with a “Chaney” T-shirt hung in effigy outside the home.

If approved, the bill would bar anyone from picketing outside someone’s residence with an intent to “harass, annoy or alarm” another person, punishable by a misdemeanor. Opponents of the bill say it would violate their First Amendment rights. A hearing on the issue drew a crowd of protesters at the Statehouse on Wednesday.

The House Judiciary and Rules committee is expected to vote on the legislation Friday. (AP)