For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: July 21, 2009
Attorney General Publishes Updated Manuals on Open Meeting and Public Records Laws
(Boise) – Updated versions of the Idaho Open Meeting Law Manual and the Idaho Public Records Law Manual are now available on the Attorney General’s website, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.
The Idaho Legislature made substantial revisions to the Open Meeting Law and one change to the Public Records Act during the 2009 session. The updated manuals reflect those changes.
OPEN MEETING LAW CHANGES
Wasden led a coalition of local governments, journalists and open government advocates in presenting changes to the 2009 Legislature. The proposals were adopted by the Idaho House of Representatives and the Idaho Senate and signed into law by the Governor.
Under the revised law, public officials are subject to a civil penalty of up to $50 for any violation of the Open Meeting Law. Second and subsequent violations can result in a penalty of up to $500 and any “intentional” violation is subject to a civil penalty of up to $500.
In addition, the new law further restricts the circumstances under which governing bodies of public agencies may meet behind closed doors in “executive session.”
The amendments also clarify the procedure for amending a public meeting agenda before and during the meeting and provide a procedure by which governing bodies of public agencies can cure a violation of the Open Meeting Law.
PUBLIC RECORDS ACT CHANGE
The legislature also amended Idaho Code § 9-340B(6) act to clarify that records relating to a retired law enforcement officer’s application for a concealed weapons permits are exempt from disclosure. Records of a retired peace officer are now treated exactly the same as the records of any other applicant.
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