Idaho’s Open Meetings Law [chapter 2, title 74, Idaho Code] specifically authorizes the holding of a meeting using telecommunications devices which enable all members of the library board participating in the meeting to communicate with each other. Such devices may include, but are not limited to, telephone or video conferencing devices and similar communications equipment. Participation by a member of the library board through telecommunications devices shall constitute a presence in person by such member at the meeting; provided, however, that at least one (1) member of the governing body [library board], or the director of the public agency [library director], or the chief administrative officer of the public agency [library director] shall be physically present at the location designated in the meeting notice, as required under section 74-204, Idaho Code, to ensure that the public may attend such meeting in person. The communications among members of a governing body must be audible to the public attending the meeting in person and the members of the governing body. [I.C. § 74-203(5)]
On March 13, Governor Brad Little issued a proclamation (attached) declaring a state of emergency in the State of Idaho due to the occurrence and imminent threat to public health and safety arising from the effects of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). For the duration of the emergency declaration related to COVID-19, the Governor has suspended the portion of the Open Meetings Law that requires public agencies to have at least one member of the library board or the library director physically present at the meeting location designated in the meeting notice. All other requirements of the Open Meetings Law remain in place, including providing the public with the ability to attend public meetings by telecommunication devices.
The Governor wants to do all he can to support all divisions of state government in continuing to operate and provide services to the people of Idaho during this difficult time, while also ensuring that the public continues to have access to its government. The Proclamation is designed to address both of these important objectives.
If your library needs access to a virtual meeting room via Zoom, Idaho Commission for Libraries staff may be able to help set that up. Please contact your area field consultant if you would like to utilize this service. You can find contact information for your ICfL area field consultant via the attached Consulting Area Map or by visiting https://libraries.idaho.gov/about/staff/.
To learn more about Idaho’s Open Meetings Law, please contact your ICfL area field consultant or download the Idaho Open Meeting Law Manual, published by the Office of the Attorney General: https://www.ag.idaho.gov/content/uploads/2018/04/OpenMeeting.pdf.