IDOG seminars draw crowds in Boise, Caldwell

Boise Photo Gallery and Caldwell Photo Gallery.

Eighty people in Caldwell and nearly 100 in Boise attended recent IDOG seminars on Idaho’s open meetings and public records laws, led by Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Deputy Attorney General Bill von Tagen and IDOG President Betsy Russell.

Those in attendance ranged from news reporters, photographers, editors and cameramen to elected local government officials, clerks, deputy clerks and other government employees, school trustees, law enforcement personnel, attorneys and interested citizens.

The Caldwell seminar, held at the Canyon County Courthouse, was co-sponsored by the Idaho Press-Tribune and KBCI Local 2 News. The Boise seminar, held at the Boise Public Library, was co-sponsored by the Idaho Statesman. Six IDOG board members were in attendance at one or both of the seminars: Betsy Russell, reporter for The Spokesman-Review; Rocky Barker, reporter for The Idaho Statesman; Anne Abrams of the Idaho State Library; Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa; Elinor Chehey of the League of Women Voters of Idaho; and Allen Derr, attorney at law.

During the course of the seminars, audience members got a chance to portray various characters in skits to illustrate some do’s and don’ts under Idaho’s open-government laws. That led to some laughs, such as when Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade played the role of “Earnest, the Rookie Reporter” trying to get information from Idaho Statesman political columnist Dan Popkey, who was playing “Undertrained, the Overly Cautious Clerk.”

Here are some of the comments from evaluations filled out by audience members at the end of both seminars:

“Nice review of public records and open meetings.” “Our practice is pretty good, learned a couple of points to improve on board procedure.” “Learned more about the business of the public.” “An informative, organized, and entertaining workshop.” “There are exceptions!” “The public has access to many records that I was not aware of.” “It was fun but a good learning experience.”

The Caldwell and Boise seminars were the eighth and ninth that IDOG has held around the state, with two more coming up Dec. 9 in Pocatello and Dec. 12 in Twin Falls. Previous seminars were in Idaho Falls, Salmon, Lewiston, Moscow, Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.

Boise Photo Gallery and Caldwell Photo Gallery.

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