Changes to Idaho's Open Meetings Law: An Opportunity to Try Something New

Kevin.Tomlinson's picture

Effective July 1, 2018, Idaho's Open Meetings Law (chapter 2, title 74, Idaho Code) will contain two additional requirements for public library board meeting agendas.

First, in addition to posting requirements for meeting agendas, meeting notice and agenda notice must also be posted electronically, if the library maintains an online presence through a website or a social media platform.  See Idaho Code section 74-204(1).

Second, an agenda may be amended, provided that a good faith effort is made to include, in the original agenda notice, all items known to be probable items of discussion.  An agenda item that requjires a vote must be identified on the agenda as an "action item" to provide notice that action may be taken on that item.  Identifying an item as an action item on the agenda does not require a vote to be taken on that item.  See I.C. § 74-204(4).

Now that action items must be identified on the agenda, here is an opportunity to try something that may be new to you: a timed agenda.  A timed agenda includes a beginning and ending time for each agenda item.  These times are flexible, of course, but suggested time limited for each item will also keep trustees focused and productive.

A timed agenda includes multiple columns, including agenda item, presenter(s), allotted time, and desired outcomes.  One of the selling points of a Desired Outcome column is that every agenda item is an action item.  Listing desired outcomes on the agenda also helps boards remember the new action item requirement of the Open Meetings Law.

Action verbs are important on a timed agenda, as they identify what actions the board will be performing as part of each agenda item.  Desired outcomes may include:

  • Achieve consensus
  • Action item -- required in I.C. § 74-204(4), effective July 1, 2018
  • Approve
  • Assess
  • Agree
  • Collect (data, facts, information)
  • Consider
  • Craft (a solution, a response)
  • Discuss
  • Identify
  • Inform
  • Receive (data, facts, information)
  • Refer (to a committee, to the library's attorney, to an outside consultant)
  • Report
  • Review
  • Share
  • Vote

For More Information on Timed Agendas:

The Idaho Commission for Libraries does not give legal advice, so please be sure to consult with your library's attorney with questions on labeling an "Action Item" on your agenda.