Public Records Exemption Bill Meets Quick Opposition At Idaho Statehouse

Mar 2, 2017

Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, introduced a bill Wednesday that would exempt public officials from fulfilling certain public records requests. He brought up the proposal in the House State Affairs Committee.

The bill would exempt draft legislation – or research about potential bills – from disclosure. Right now, anyone can file a public records request to see the content of communications from lawmakers to legislative staff, constituents and other lawmakers.

Speaker of the House Scott Bedke says he understands the frustration lawmakers have when it comes to some records requests. But when asked by reporters at an Idaho Press Club lunch, the Republican leader was skeptical about the bill’s prospects.

“There are a lot of ideas that are not ready for primetime. But, if we’re conducting the people’s business on the people’s computer using the people’s system, that’s not mine. That’s ours.”

Democrats were quick to rebuke the proposal, calling it an attack on democracy and the free press. Idaho Press Club President Betsy Russell also released a statement opposing the bill.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio