‘Sunshine’ forecast: Very good in Idaho

From the Idaho Press-Tribune

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 – 11:00 am

This is Sunshine Week across America. It began in 2002 as an effort by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors to draw attention to state legislators’ attempts to create exemptions to Florida’s public records law.

It’s really great to see local government providing so much easily accessible light on records these days. Nampa city and now Canyon County are opening up their financial records to the Idaho Freedom Foundation and the public. Read the details here.

I also want to thank Canyon County’s commissioners for taping the meetings now. We editorialized on it earlier this month after new Commissioner Kathy Alder suggested it, and the commissioners instantly made it happen!

The Idaho Legislature can make a huge difference in the Open Meetings Law this session as well. Boise Weekly News Editor Nathaniel Hoffman gives a super report on the proposed changes here.

The revisions, supported by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office as well as the Idaho Press Club — and the Idaho Press-Tribune — have been in the works for three years.

Here’s the bill.

Here’s the statement of purpose: This legislation proposes changes to the states Open Meeting Law. The legislation would amend four sections of the Open Meeting Law. It addresses how notice is given to the public by public agencies that are subject to the Open Meeting Law, as well as how amendments to meeting agendas are to be made. The legislation also covers the subject of minutes pertaining to executive sessions and discusses the manner and method for a governing body of a public agency to go into executive session. The bill provides that an executive session is an exception to the states Open Meeting Law and, as an exception, is to be narrowly construed. Finally, the bill addresses violations to the Open Meeting Law, modifying penalty provisions found in Idaho Code 672347. This legislation provides a provision for governing bodies of public agencies to cure violations of the Open Law by following steps set forth in a new subsection (7) to Idaho Code 672347.

This would be a super — and much needed — enhancement to the current law. It needs to pass — unanimiously.

From the Idaho Press-Tribune

Not an IDOG member yet?