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Eye On Boise

Open meeting law expansion wins House panel’s support

The House State Affairs Committee today voted unanimously in favor of legislation from its chairman, Rep. Tom Loertscher, to bring state boards and councils created by executive order under the Idaho Open Meeting Law. Loertscher, R-Iona, noted that the committee’s hearing this morning was open to the public, “and rightfully so. Everything we do in government, it seems like, we want to make sure that we’re doing this with full knowledge of the public," he said. "That’s the way it is. Sometimes it’s not very comfortable, but certainly it is the right thing to do.”

Loertscher said he was surprised when he learned that boards created by executive order didn’t already fall under the Open Meeting Law. “These councils and commissions are declaring themselves not to be open to the public. That’s problematic if we’re doing the people’s business,” he said, “no matter if it’s created by statute or by executive order – it seems to me that it’s the same.”

Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, moved to send the bill to the full House with a recommendation that it “do pass,” and Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, said, “I think this may be my favorite bill of the session, and I think it’s great, and good job.”

The bill, HB 273, now moves to the full House; it needs passage there and in the Senate and the governor’s signature to become law.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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