To Idaho Media:
From Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General
Open government is the cornerstone of a free society. The Idaho Legislature affirmed Idaho’s commitment to open government by enacting the Idaho Public Records Law in 1990. The Public Records Law protects each citizen’s right to monitor the actions of state and local government entities by providing access to governmental records. Through the Public Records Law, the legislature continuously seeks to balance the competing interests of public access and an individual’s right to privacy by exempting certain records, or portions thereof, from the disclosure requirement.
One of my duties as Attorney General is to encourage compliance with the Idaho Public Records Law by agencies and officials of state government. The 44 elected county prosecuting attorneys have the same duty with regard to agencies and officials of local government. I am committed to ensuring that public documents are accessible to the public. Toward that end, my office regularly conducts training sessions for state and local officials throughout Idaho.
The Idaho Public Records Law provides for private enforcement. Where an individual or organization is improperly denied access to public records, it is up to the individual to challenge the government agency’s refusal to provide access to the record.
Effective private enforcement can occur only when citizens understand their rights. My Intergovernmental and Fiscal Law Division has prepared this manual to educate citizens, the news media and government employees about the Public Records Law. I hope that this manual helps in avoiding misunderstandings and protecting the public’s legitimate access to government records.
If you have further questions, feel free to call your city or county prosecuting attorney or my office at (208) 334-2400.