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Eye On Boise

New Attorney General’s manuals out now to reflect changes to Public Records, Open Meetings laws

The Idaho Attorney General’s office has published new versions of its manuals on the Idaho Public Records Law, the Idaho Open meeting Law and the Ethics in Government law, to reflect changes enacted by the Legislature this year, including recodifying all three statutes into a new title of the Idaho Code entitled “Transparent and Ethical Government.”

“One of the most essential elements to a free and democratic society is government that honors, respects and promotes transparency,” said Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. “These manuals have always provided the tools and understanding of the laws designed to help the public hold government and its leaders accountable.” He added, “This recodification reflects the importance that lawmakers and I place upon transparent and ethical government all across this state.”

The recodification changes the Idaho Code numbers to reference all three laws; previously, the Public Records Law was deep in the section of Idaho Code dealing with evidence; the Open Meeting Law was under a “miscellaneous” section; and the Ethics in Government law was under a public officers section. Now, all are in Title 74, making all three easier to find and giving them more prominence.

However, the changes will require all those who reference the laws to change the statute numbers they cite, just as Wasden revised the manuals his office publishes. For example, public records requests that previously cited Idaho Code Sections 9-337 through 9-350, now will need to cite Idaho Code Sections 74-101 through 74-126, the new section numbers for the Idaho Public Records Law.

Wasden is recommending that local government leaders take time to update their own materials to reflect the changes. In addition to the recodification, the new manuals reflect this year’s increases in fines for violations of the Open Meeting Law. All the manuals can be found online here. The Idaho Public Records Law was first enacted in 1990; this year marks its 25th anniversary.

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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