- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A House panel has blocked a bill that would increase fines for violating Idaho’s open meeting law by tenfold.

The House State Affairs Committee balked at increasing the maximum fine for violating the open meeting law from $50 to $500. The bill, introduced by Republican Linden Bateman of Idaho Falls on Thursday, would have also increased the penalty for knowingly breaking the law from $500 to $5,000.

Bateman told lawmakers that the penalties haven’t been updated since 1974, when the law was first passed.

However, Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri of Dalton Gardens says he found the extreme price difference appalling. Others also said the bill came with too high of a sticker shock but acknowledged that a higher penalty may help lower open meeting violations.

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