House panel advances crime victims rights bill

An overflow crowd turned out Wednesday for an emotional hearing in the House State Affairs Committee on a proposal to expand the rights of crime victims and their families. (KBOI Photo)

An Idaho House panel has advanced a proposed amendment to the state's constitution to expand the rights of crime victims and their families.

The House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday approved sending the proposal called Marsy's Law for Idaho to the House floor.

The proposal would change Idaho's 1994 Victim Rights Amendment by requiring victims to be timely notified of all court proceedings involving suspects, as well as allowing victims be heard at each step of the legal process.

A similar proposal failed to clear the same House panel last year after lawmakers raised concerns about the bill's backers and appropriateness of tweaking Idaho's constitution.

Marsy's Law is named for a California woman killed in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend after he was released from jail without her being notified.

A constitutional amendment requires two-thirds support from the House and Senate, as well as a simple majority from voters in the November general election.

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