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Bill to address snow removal clears Idaho House panel

An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation that would exempt highway districts from clearing snow from sidewalks and streets.

Currently, state law requires highway districts to maintain city streets, curbs, gutters and other infrastructure. The law was amended in 2013 to include snow removal, littler control and weed abatement as part of the definition of maintenance.

However, after an unusually snowstorm packed winter, the state’s largest highway district is pushing lawmakers to do away with that maintenance definition. Officials with the Ada County Highway District say the definition has been misinterpreted to force districts to do work not expected when the Legislature passed the 2013 amendment.

Many cities have fines for citizens who do not keep their sidewalks clear, but Boise lawmakers began raising objections this year that such fines are unnecessary when that responsibility should fall on the highway district.

The House Ways and Means Committee agreed to introduce the ACHD-backed bill Friday despite objections from Democrats.

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