Sheldon’s trespass-notice bill passes Senate

Trespassing is now more prevalent than ever. Forestland owners, service people, ranchers, farmers, and private individuals with land have problems with trespassers, many of whom commit theft of metal, hay, equipment, and livestock. Engrossed Senate Bill 5048 would allow property owners to use a more cost-effective approach to warn potential trespassers: fluorescent orange paint.

“The biggest challenge prosecutors have with indicting trespassers is proving that they knowingly invaded private property. We also know that posting ‘no trespassing’ signs can be very expensive if you own more than one acre of land,” said Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “Rather than spending money on hundreds of signs, this bill would allow them to use logger’s paint, which is typically fluorescent orange, and very easy to see—even at night.”

Often, trespassers use the excuse that they did not know the land was private, and even if signs were used, the perpetrators can easily tear them down. Using paint for notice is cost-effective, efficient and is extremely difficult to remove from trees.

“People see paint as a universal message of notice against trespassing,” Sheldon said. “Not to mention that signs may be written in languages that some people do not understand.”

The Senate voted in favor of a bipartisan amendment that would require actual “no trespassing” signs on all access roads to the property. If a property owner uses paint to designate private property, every marked tree must be no more than 100 feet apart in forestland, and no more than 1,000 feet for all rangeland.

The bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 38-11.