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House Bill 233

House Bill 233

Phil Haunschild
March 7, 2017

Bill Description: This bill would deny the public access to many of the communications of their legislators.

Rating: -3

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability? 

This bill would allow the lawmakers passing it to withhold all communications among lawmakers about draft legislation. In addition to the drafts and pertaining documents, legislators could deny the public access to all related communications, including emails, and phone records. This bill would, in effect, put up a screen, severely hobbling the public in holding their legislators accountable for their actions in public office. This bill would also grant to legislators something not granted to other state employees. (-1)

All “communications between members of the Idaho legislature and communications between members and legislative staff” would be exempt with this bill. Once again, this would prevent the public from understanding what their elected officials are doing, making it impossible to hold them accountable. (-1)

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law? 

Only the 105 members of the Legislature and their staff would receive this specific immunity, a legal protection given to no other citizens of Idaho. (-1)

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