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New Laws to Take Effect on Open Meetings & Public Records

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, April 6, 2018

Two important bills on open meetings and public records passed the Legislature this session and will take effect July 1 of this year.

House Bill 611 was sponsored by Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle and makes changes to the Idaho Open Meetings Law.  The bill requires:

·         Meeting notices and agendas must be posted online if the state agency or local government has a website or social media account, in addition to physical posting at the office of the government entity;

·         Action items must be identified as such on the meeting agenda, but identifying an action item does not require a vote to be taken at that meeting; and

·         Final action cannot be taken on an item added to the agenda after the start of the meeting unless an emergency is declared that requires action at that meeting.  The declaration and justification must be approved by motion of the council and recorded in the minutes.

We recommend that the action item designation be as clear as possible and actually use the words “action item,” which are specified in the law.  The following mock agenda item is a good example:

Resolution 2018-36: A Resolution Supporting Enhanced State Transportation Funding for Local Highway Jurisdictions.  ACTION ITEM.

Senate Bill 1274 was sponsored by Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d'Alene and deals with the Idaho Public Records Law.  The bill requires state and local governments to:

·         Designate a records custodian for each city department and an alternate that will respond to public records requests, which should be done by council resolution;

·         Provide that bonuses, severance packages, other compensation, and vouchered and unvouchered expenses for reimbursement of current or former public officials are public record; and

·         Provide that social security numbers and driver's license numbers of public employees or applicants are exempt from public disclosure.

If you have questions about this new legislation, please contact the AIC office at (208) 344-8594 or email me at jruen@idahocities.org

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