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House Bill 404 — Records, wildlife

House Bill 404 — Records, wildlife

Parrish Miller
January 20, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 404 would exempt from Idaho’s public record act certain types of information about the location and activity of wildlife. 

Rating: -1

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

Idaho's Public Records Act generally allows people to access government records and communication with certain exceptions, typically intended to protect individual privacy. 

House Bill 404 would amend Section 74-108, Idaho Code, which lists some of these exceptions, to include "records identifying telemetry frequencies, remote camera locations, or precise or specific locations of any individual terrestrial wildlife, including but not limited to global positioning system, telemetry, or remote camera data."

It further says that "a state agency's sharing of such records on an individual case basis for agency or regulatory environmental reviews or management of wildlife damage or populations does not constitute a waiver of this exemption."

Finally, it clarifies that the exemption would not apply to "records identifying aggregated or otherwise generalized locations of individual terrestrial wildlife or populations."

The "Statement of Purpose" prepared by the sponsor of the bill suggests that the bill's intention is to prevent "unfair chase, hunter harassment, or other inappropriate uses" of this data, but this bill is an example of government overreach. Rather than explicitly prohibiting "inappropriate uses" of the data, this bill would prevent anyone from accessing it for legitimate research purposes. It also would prevent appropriate applications, such as an individual seeking to establish his whereabouts by documenting his own appearance on a remote camera.


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