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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Fines to increase for violations of Idaho Open Meeting Law

Gov. Butch Otter has signed HB 324 into law, sharply increasing fines for violations of the Idaho Open Meeting Law. Fines for regular violations would rise from $50 to $250; fines for knowing violations would rise from $500 to $1,500; and fines for knowing, repeated violations would rise from $500 to $2,500. Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, proposed the bill, saying fines hadn’t been updated since the Open Meeting Law first was enacted in 1974, and the increases reflect inflation.

The bill had a bumpy ride, with a House committee initially rejecting a version with even higher fines. Then, the House passed the bill, but the Senate added technical amendments that turned out to have a serious drafting error, inadvertently repealing a portion of the existing law. Finally, a new version was introduced in the House, where it passed, 60-9, and then passed the Senate, 29-4. Otter had no comment as he signed the bill into law. It takes effect July 1.

It was one of 12 bills Otter signed into law yesterday and today; you can see the full list here. Among them were SB 1174, the Idaho Transportation Department budget for next year, which totals nearly $500 million, nearly half of it from federal funds; and SB 1098a, the bill to allow state parks to seek corporate sponsorships.


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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