TRANSPARENT AND ETHICAL GOVERNMENT
OPEN MEETINGS LAW
74-208. Violations. (1) If an action, or any deliberation or decision-making that leads to an action, occurs at any meeting which fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter, such action shall be null and void.
(2) Any member of the governing body governed by the provisions of this chapter, who conducts or participates in a meeting which violates the provisions of this act shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
(3) Any member of a governing body who knowingly violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500).
(4) Any member of a governing body who knowingly violates any provision of this chapter and who has previously admitted to committing or has been previously determined to have committed a violation pursuant to subsection (3) of this section within the twelve (12) months preceding this subsequent violation shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
(5) The attorney general shall have the duty to enforce this chapter in relation to public agencies of state government, and the prosecuting attorneys of the various counties shall have the duty to enforce this act in relation to local public agencies within their respective jurisdictions. In the event that there is reason to believe that a violation of the provisions of this act has been committed by members of a board of county commissioners or, for any other reason a county prosecuting attorney is deemed disqualified from proceeding to enforce this act, the prosecuting attorney or board of county commissioners shall seek to have a special prosecutor appointed for that purpose as provided in section 31-2603, Idaho Code.
(6) Any person affected by a violation of the provisions of this chapter may commence a civil action in the magistrate division of the district court of the county in which the public agency ordinarily meets, for the purpose of requiring compliance with provisions of this act. No private action brought pursuant to this subsection shall result in the assessment of a civil penalty against any member of a public agency and there shall be no private right of action for damages arising out of any violation of the provisions of this chapter. Any suit brought for the purpose of having an action declared or determined to be null and void pursuant to subsection (1) of this section shall be commenced within thirty (30) days of the time of the decision or action that results, in whole or in part, from a meeting that failed to comply with the provisions of this act. Any other suit brought under the provisions of this section shall be commenced within one hundred eighty (180) days of the time of the violation or alleged violation of the provisions of this act.
(7) (a) A violation may be cured by a public agency upon:
(i) The agency’s self-recognition of a violation; or
(ii) Receipt by the secretary or clerk of the public agency of written notice of an alleged violation. A complaint filed and served upon the public agency may be substituted for other forms of written notice. Upon notice of an alleged open meeting violation, the governing body shall have fourteen (14) days to respond publicly and either acknowledge the open meeting violation and state an intent to cure the violation or state that the public agency has determined that no violation has occurred and that no cure is necessary. Failure to respond shall be treated as a denial of any violation for purposes of proceeding with any enforcement action.
(b) Following the public agency’s acknowledgment of a violation pursuant to paragraph (a)(i) or (a)(ii) of this subsection, the public agency shall have fourteen (14) days to cure the violation by declaring that all actions taken at or resulting from the meeting in violation of this act void.
(c) All enforcement actions shall be stayed during the response and cure period but may recommence at the discretion of the complainant after the cure period has expired.
(d) A cure as provided in this section shall act as a bar to the imposition of the civil penalty provided in subsection (2) of this section. A cure of a violation as provided in subsection (7)(a)(i) of this section shall act as a bar to the imposition of any civil penalty provided in subsection (4) of this section.
[74-208, added 2015, ch. 140, sec. 5, p. 372; am. 2015, ch. 345, sec. 1, p. 1301.]