Idaho Open Meeting Law

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The Idaho Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Title 67 chapter 23 statutes 40-47 of the Idaho statutes define the law.


Relevant legal cases

See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA

Here is a list of open meetings lawsuits in Idaho. For more information go the page or go to Idaho sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)


We do not currently have any pages on open meetings litigation in Idaho.


Proposed open meetings legislation

2010

See also Proposed transparency legislation, Open meetings legislation


We do not currently have any legislation for Idaho in 2010.


Statement of purpose

The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"The people of the state of Idaho in creating the instruments of government that serve them, do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies so created. Therefore, the legislature finds and declares that it is the policy of this state that the formation of public policy is public business and shall not be conducted in secret."[1]

Which government meetings are open to the public?

The law defines a meeting as any convening of a government body to deliberate and decide on public matters.[2] This definition includes all meetings conducted through telecommunication.[3]

Notable exemptions to this definition include:

  • Deliberations from the following groups, involving hearings and the discussions of the legal rights and duties of an individual:
  • board of tax appeals
  • public utilities commission
  • industrial commission[3]

What government bodies are subject to the laws?

The act defines government body as all agencies with two or more members of the state and all political subdivisions which were created by statute or ordinance, including all sub-agencies created by governing bodies.

Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:

  • The judicial branch including the district Magistrates commission[2]
  • All state insurance agencies[3]

==== Legislature====

Ambiguous

The Idaho Open Meeting Law is ambiguous as to whether or not the law applies to the legislature. The law explicitly requires that all meetings of committees of the state legislature be open to the public. However, the legislature has the power to establish internal rules for convening any meeting in executive session making the law unenforceable.[4]

Notice requirements

The act requires that all government agencies give at least 5 days notice of meeting times and dates and post a definitive agenda within 48 hours of the meeting. If the agency in question holds regularly scheduled meeting, they can announce those meetings in bulk at one point during the year. The act allows for special meetings to be called in order to prevent physical harm to persons or property or to prevent significant financial loss. Special meetings requires a 24 hour notice which must include the date, time, location and subject of the meeting. The statute also requires a 24 hour notice for executive sessions which must include the topic to be discussed at the sessions. Agendas for both regular and special meetings[5]

Meeting process

The act requires that all meetings record minutes which must include the list of individuals present, any measures that were considered and the results of any votes taken. Minutes must also include any justifications for calls to executive session.[6]

Executive sessions

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions must be convened from a regular open meeting and must be voted in by a 2/3 majority. Executive sessions can only be called for the following reasons:

  • Hiring, discipline and termination of public employees
  • Labor negotiations
  • To consider records that are exempt under the Idaho Public Records Act
  • To protect trade secrets where the governing body is in economic competition
  • For cases involving the attorney-client privilege when the public agency expects or is currently under pending litigation.
  • These boards may convene at executive session at any time:
  • commission of pardons and parole
  • sexual offender classification board
  • custody review board of the Idaho department of juvenile corrections
  • To communicate with the agencies insurance risk managers

The act prevents decisions from being made in executive sessions.

If violated

The attorney general and various district attorneys are responsible for enforcing the open meeting laws. However, anyone who is wronged by a violation of the law may commence action in district court. If the individual wishes to have an action declared null and void, he or she must file suit within 30 days of the violation. For all other punishments and writs, an individual must file suit within 180 days. Violations can be overcome by the governing agency itself by an acknowledgment of the violation and action to ameliorate the violation. If the court finds a violation of the law it may impose fines on individuals up to $500 and may null and void any action taken at an illegal meeting.[7]

See also

External links

References