House dumps unconstitutional Capitol protest rules

BOISE, Idaho (AP) A House panel effectively ended the state's appeal of a federal judge's decision that Idaho's rules governing Capitol protests are unconstitutional.

The House State Affairs Committee on Tuesday voted to reject rules that, among other things, had sought to limit protest duration and give special treatment to state events.

These rules were crafted in the wake of the "Occupy Boise" protests of 2011 and 2012.

But U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill decided they violated constitutional free speech protections last year.

Following Tuesday's unanimous committee vote, Idaho Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna told The Associated Press her agency no longer plans to appeal Winmill's decision.

She says Winmill's ruling provided guidance on crafting rules governing Capitol gatherings in a way that doesn't run afoul of the U.S. Constitution.