Of interest: HB 1087, more questionable legislation from Rep. Mike Verchio and his West River colleagues (all GOP except for Sen. Maher). If I'm reading this bill right, HB 1087 expands the power of county governments in two remarkable ways:
- HB 1087 eliminates the current maximum fine ($500) and jail time (30 days) counties can impose for violations of their ordinances. This amendment sets no new maximum.
- HB 1087 allows "retrospective application" of county ordinances if non-municipal county residents face an "imminent threat" to health and/or safety. In other words, ex post facto laws: the county can change the law and come arrest you for doing something that was perfectly legal when you did it.
But I'm at a loss for coming up with a jutification for granting counties ex post facto power. The closest I can come: suppose Hyperion builds its refinery, and then the county commissioners see it really does turn the county into a barren, smog-ridden hell. They pass new refinery siting regulations, retroactively revoke Hyperion's permit, charge them a billion dollars to reinstate... but no. I can't justify busting anyone, not even the corporate raiders at Hyperion, for committing an act that was perfectly legal when they committed it.
Sponsors Verchio, Schmidt, and Kopp have been known to run with the "Citizens for Liberty" crowd. CFL is all about limited government. HB 1087 removes limits on government. What do Verchio et al. stand for?