Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Workshops on Idaho’s Open Meeting and Public Records Laws

On August 23 and 24, 2005, the Idaho Attorney General's office, the Idaho Press Club, and Idahoans for Open Government will be sponsoring public workshops on Idaho's Open Meeting Law and Public Records Law.

The August 23, 2005, workshop will be from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. in Coeur d'Alene at the Spokesman-Review building, 608 Northwest Boulevard. MAP

The August 24, 2005, workshop will be from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Sandpoint at the East Bonner County Library District, 1407 Cedar Street. MAP

Here's a link to the Attorney General's press release with all the details.

"So what?" you say. "This is only a big deal for the press, isn't it?"

Yes and no.

Yes, it is a big deal for the press, such a big deal in fact that the Idaho Press Club has appealed a lower court decision which permits Idaho's legislature to close its committee meetings. Here's a link to a story entitled Press Club files appeal over closed committee meetings.

But no, it's not a big deal only for the press. We can't all travel to Boise to monitor the legislature's conduct of public business. We depend on our news media to do that for us. If the news media are forbidden to observe and report the legislature's conduct of the public's business, the public is denied a valuable tool it needs to judge the integrity, honesty, and competence of elected officials. We are also denied access to the legislative history of any particular law.

But the Open Meeting Law and Open Records Law don't apply only to what goes on in and comes out of Boise. Those are the laws that give us access to our local elected governments' conduct of the public business as well.

Consider this: If elected and appointed government officials at any level could be trusted to act honestly, objectively, and impartially in the public interest, it would not be necessary to have open records and open meetings laws.

If you're able, please attend one of the workshops. And while you're there, look around and see how many elected and appointed officials are there. Make note of those who aren't...they're the ones who bear close watching!


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