Idaho coalition teaches about open government

State and local governments affect citizens’ daily lives, but often small governments, media and the public don’t understand open meeting and open record laws.

Free sessions offered by a nonprofit Idaho coalition aim to change that, but you’ll have to wait until fall for the next round of offerings.

Betsy Russell, a Boise-based journalist for The Spokesman-Review, and Dean Miller, then-editor of the Post Register in Idaho Falls, in 2004 formed Idahoans for Openness in Government, a broad-based coalition.


Idaho public records exemption to be softened

A bill that would expand an exemption in Idaho’s public records law is expected to be amended to address the concerns of reporters and open government advocates.

House Bill 447 was written by the city of Idaho Falls. Mayor Rebecca Casper, City Attorney Randy Fife and Idaho Falls Power General Manager Jackie Flowers were in Boise on Wednesday to advocate that the Senate State Affairs Committee recommend the law be passed.


Idaho bill would exempt infrastructure records from disclosure

Records related to “critical infrastructure” would become exempt from disclosure under public records law if a bill that was introduced Friday passes.

“Anyone can walk into any government office and get whatever blueprints they want,” Will Hart, executive director of the Idaho Consumer Owned Utilities Association, told the House State Affairs Committee.


Idaho law enforcement agencies wrestle with data collection

Law enforcement leaders across Idaho are considering whether to seek new laws detailing how they collect and retain video footage and who gets access to the images.

The use of body cameras, dash cameras and jail security cameras means police and sheriff departments nationwide are gathering more data than ever and receiving more public records requests for the images. Idaho law requires that the videos be stored for two years, but that amount of digital storage can get expensive for the agencies.


Most Idaho school districts, charters break transparency laws

Almost every school district and charter in Idaho is out of compliance with state laws created to promote transparency in spending, contracts and long-term strategic planning, according to a new study.

Only 14 of 164 districts and charters are in complete compliance, while at least 18 have posted nothing on their websites. Continue…