Idaho Land Board cures open meeting law violation

Attorney General Raúl Labrador did not cite the section of law authorizing an Aug. 15 executive session 

By: - September 1, 2023 3:32 pm
Picture of Idaho Attorney General Raúl R. Labrador smiling in the Capitol building a few days after being sworn in

Idaho Attorney General Raúl R. Labrador at the State Capitol building on January 9, 2023. Before his election in 2022, Labrador served as a U.S. congressman, a state legislator, an Idaho Republican Party leader and a trial attorney. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

The Idaho Board of Land Commissioners met briefly Friday morning to acknowledge and cure a violation of Idaho’s open meeting law. 

During Friday’s meeting at the Idaho Department of Lands downtown Boise office, Gov. Brad Little said the violation occurred during the land board’s most recent meeting on Aug. 15.

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“I move the board acknowledge that the Aug. 15 motion for executive session violated the open meeting law by failing to specifically identify the specific subsection of Idaho code authorizing the executive session,” Little said during Friday’s meeting.

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To remedy, or cure, the violation, the land board voted to void the Aug. 15 executive session and re-do the motion by identifying the section of Idaho code authorizing the executive session. The land board then went into an executive session for about five minutes Friday to meet with its legal counsel to discuss pending litigation. When the land board members returned to open session a few moments later, they announced they took no action during the executive session and then adjourned their meeting. 

An executive session is a closed-door meeting of a governing body, which is allowed under Idaho law only under a specific set of narrow circumstances. Those circumstances include meeting with legal counsel to discuss legal options for litigation or pending litigation, acquiring property not owned by a public agency, considering hiring a public officer or employee or considering disciplining or dismissing a public officer, employee or public school student. 

The violation occurred after Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador made a motion to go into executive session on Aug. 15 but did not cite the specific subsection of Idaho law authorizing the executive section, the Idaho Press reported Thursday

Idaho Statesman opinion editor Scott McIntosh noticed the violation and contacted the land board about it on behalf of the Idaho Press Club’s First Amendment Committee earlier this week, the Press reported. 

The land board is made up of Idaho’s top statewide elected officials, including Little, Labrador, Superintendent of Public Instruction Debbie Critchfield, Idaho Secretary of State Phil McGrane and Idaho Controller Brandon Woolf. The land board’s job is to provide direction to the Idaho Department of Lands for managing more than 2.5 million acres of state endowment lands. 

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Clark Corbin
Clark Corbin

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.

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