Illegal closed meetings could be a bit more costly for local Idaho officials if proposed amendments in the OPEN MEETING LAW are enacted by the legislature.
House Bill 620 would raise the fine for violation from $150 to $500 for a first offense and top out at $1,000 for a second offense. Representative Russ Matthews is pushing the bill in the wake of the Ada County commishes current court battle with the Attorney General’s office.
The Ada Commishes have run up a legal tab of more than $17,000 in public money defending themselves against charges they held an illegal closed meeting last June. They claim the meeting with Boise councilor Vern Bisterfeldt was over impending litigation. Bisterfeldt and the AG say otherwise and the matter is still pending in court.
Matthews’ bill would also clarify the definition of “pending litigation” as litigation commenced by the governing body or WRITTEN notice from another party either threatening a lawsuit or notice that one has been filed.
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