House panel approves two public record exemption bills

From Eye on Boise/The Idaho Press

by Betsy Russell

The House Judiciary Committee, at the end of a meeting that lasted until nearly 6 p.m., has approved two public records exemption bills, sending them to the full House with recommendations that they “do pass.”

There was much testimony in favor of HB 620, after Rep. Brooke Green, D-Boise, spoke tearfully about her best friend’s death by suicide after she was arrested amid a mental breakdown and her booking mug shot was widely shown. HB 620 would prevent the public release of a booking photo of someone arrested on a misdemeanor not involving assault or battery, who is detained for mental health treatment within 24 hours after the arrest.

Rep. Marco Erickson, R-Idaho Falls, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Green, said, “It’s about mental health in a big way.”

The Idaho Sheriff’s Association opposed the bill, citing procedural issues with how it would work. But the committee passed it. “This bill is narrowly crafted,” said Rep. Gary Marshall, R-Idaho Falls. “It makes perfect sense.”

The second bill, HB 621, was proposed by the Association of Idaho Cities to exempt cybersecurity records. “HB 621 is a public records exemption, but it’s a very specific one and it’s a limited one,” said Rep. Dustin Manwaring, R-Pocatello, the bill’s House sponsor. “It does not exempt public expenditure records.”

The committee also approved that bill on a voice vote.

From Eye on Boise/The Idaho Press

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