Senate Judiciary Committee S 1110

Michael Kane, with the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association and the Idaho Association of Counties, testified Feb. 25 on behalf of a bill to provide Idaho’s first-ever regulations for bounty hunters.

BOISE — With full support Tuesday, a bill that would impose Idaho’s first-ever restrictions on local bounty hunters has passed the Senate.

The bill would require bounty hunters, also known as “bail enforcement agents,” to carry proper identification, be older than 18 and to inform law enforcement before a planned arrest. Bounty hunters wouldn’t be permitted to carry weapons, unless it complies with state and federal laws.

The bill still needs approval from the House and must receive the governor’s signature to become law.

Current law doesn’t include any restrictions on bounty hunters, who aren’t sworn police officers.

Without such regulations, there have been some bounty hunter-related problems. Just last month, two bounty hunters were sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation for reportedly impersonating officers and making an illegal arrest.

Earlier this session, when the bill cleared committee, it received the support of representatives from the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the Idaho Bail Coalition and the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office.

Similar legislation failed in 2016, in part due to efforts from Duane Chapman, better known as TV reality star “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” The earlier bill aimed to enforce attire that identified a bail enforcement agent, prohibit bounty hunters from introducing themselves as an employee of any federal, state or local government, and make the minimum age of a bounty hunter 21.

City of Nampa reporter Erin Bamer contributed to this report.

Savannah Cardon is the Caldwell reporter for the Idaho Press. Follow her on Twitter, @savannahlcardon, or reach her at 208-465-8172.

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