Boise crowd learns about public records, open meetings

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden teamed up with Idahoans for Openness in Government (IDOG) and the Idaho Press Club on March 14, 2007 to help educate people about what is covered—and what is not—by the state’s public records and open meetings laws. The lively, interactive session drew a crowd including lots of members of the working press, along with local officials, their staff and ordinary citizens.

The workshop coincided with Sunshine Week (March 11-17), a non-partisan initiative that seeks to enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.

The three-hour workshop presented the public records and open meeting laws in a no-legalese format, complete with interactive, audience-participation skits that helped illustrate the do’s and don’ts of complying with these two important laws. The session ran from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Hayes Auditorium at the Boise Public Library.

“This collaborative effort with local government, IDOG and the Idaho Press Club continues the long-standing tradition of the Office of Attorney General working to educate Idahoans about our state’s open meeting and public records laws,” Attorney General Wasden said.

Wasden, Deputy Attorney General Bill von Tagen and IDOG President Betsy Russell conducted the seminar, which was co-sponsored by the Idaho Business Review and the Idaho Statesman.

Part of a statewide series, funding for the workshop comes from the National Freedom of Information Coalition through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Russell said, “Our purpose is to foster open government, supervised by an informed and engaged citizenry. We all benefit when the public, the media and government officials are fully aware of the public’s rights to access government information and observe the conduct of the public’s business.”

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