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After learning that its previous order to move Ada County back to Stage 3 violated Idaho’s Open Meeting Law, Central District Health’s Board of Health held an emergency meeting Friday to fix the issue, writes Idaho Press reporter Blake Jones. The board voided the previous order to close bars and limit gatherings to 50 people, which took effect Wednesday, and issued a new, identical one, which is effective immediately.

During the brief meeting Friday, attorney Michael Kane told the board the violation was caused by the lack of advanced notice for the board’s June 20 emergency meeting. Kane said because of the coronavirus’ accelerating spread in Ada County, health district staff recommended that the board act without 24 hours’ advanced notice to the public to avoid “further injury or damage.”

The Open Meeting Law, however, doesn’t require 24 hours’ advanced meeting notice for emergency meetings.

This issue, rather, was the board’s failure to alert the media ahead of Saturday’s meeting, according to Don Day, who runs the independent news site BoiseDev.com and has a content-share agreement with the Idaho Press. Day wrote in an article Friday that he raised the issue about the lack of notice with the health district.

“Idaho State Code requires that agencies notify the media of the emergency meeting,” Day’s article states. “Central District Health did not inform BoiseDev, even though we are on their media list.”

District staff looked into it and determined that “an inadvertent open meeting violation occurred,” Kane told the board Friday.

You can read Jones' full story here at idahopress.com, or pick up Saturday's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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