- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A plan to increase penalties for violating Idaho’s open meeting law has cleared a House panel.

The House State Affairs Committee voted Tuesday to boost fines that hadn’t been touched since the original law passed four decades ago.

Republican Rep. Linden Bateman of Idaho Falls told the committee that the fivefold increase of the basic fine - from $50 to $250 - simply covers the cost of inflation.

Republican Rep. Ken Andrus from Lava Hot Springs was the only lawmaker to oppose the bill. He raised questions about whether informal conversations could violate the act.

More severe violations could cost $1,500 or $2,500.

This was Bateman’s second attempt at the bill after lawmakers said his original plan to up fines tenfold was too drastic.

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