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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Bill closes Sunshine Law loophole for recall votes, passes House, heads to Senate

The House has voted 62-1 in favor of HB 490, which expands Idaho's Sunshine Law to cover recall elections, applying campaign finance reporting requirements and contribution limits to those votes just as to all other Idaho elections. "HB 490 is designed to close up a loophole in the Sunshine Law," Rep. Julie Ellsworth, R-Boise, told the House. "All of this was outside the law, the law was silent on it. Nothing governed it. It's just a free-for-all if we don't apply the Sunshine Law to this area."

Ellsworth discovered the loophole when she was the subject of a recall attempt last year; she said she wanted to report her finances, and was dismayed to be told that wasn't required. The only "no" vote came from Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, who didn't say why he objected; the bill now moves to the Senate side for consideration. Later, Smith explained, "It was a 'throwaway' as a joke.  The sponsor and I are the only two in here that I know of who have gone through a recall election."

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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