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Majority of Idahoans support 'Good Samaritan' legislation

There’s overwhelming support for Idaho to give legal protections to those who break into a hot vehicle to help a child or animal, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll finds.

It’s not even close.

Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds in a recent survey that 86 percent of Idahoans would support such legislation.

Only 12 percent oppose.

And 2 percent don’t know.

Two state lawmakers are drafting a bill for the 2018 general session that would give “Good Samaritan” protection to those who break into a hot car or truck to rescue a child or animal from the life-threatening situation.

Idaho currently has no law to protect those who break into a hot car to help an animal. According to an animal rights group, 26 states do have some such law.

While it is not specifically listed in Idaho statute that you can’t leave a child in a hot car, there are general safety and care laws prohibiting doing anything to harm a child.

And it follows that if a person broke into a hot car to rescue a child, you might be immune from prosecution for destruction of property – although you may be civilly liable, some attorneys say.

But such is not the case with a dog, for example.

According to this report, police could cite you for breaking into a hot car to rescue a dog, for you are destroying another’s property.

Sen. Mark Nye and Rep. Elaine Smith want to make it clear that breaking into a hot vehicle to help a child or animal will not place the rescuer in any legal danger.

Jones finds that 67 percent of Idahoans “strong” support such legislation, while 19 percent “somewhat” support it.

Idaho women are more aggressive on this subject: 73 percent said they “strongly” support the new law, while 61 percent of men are in that category.

Jones polled 604 adults from Aug. 23-30. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.