On firing squads, public records and agency rules

If you haven’t seen it, Betsy Russell’s Sunday column mentioned the Idaho Department of Corrections exploring adding the firing squad as a method of execution in Idaho.

IDOC got as far as drafting legislation on firing squads, but ultimately abandoned the idea, Russell reported.

Idaho Reports had also obtained a copy of the draft legislation through a public records request. Included in the proposal: Putting into code a public records exemption for the names of those participating in or assisting in the execution, including the on-site physician, consultants, members of the escort team and members of the medical team.

While the names of those individuals are already exempt from public records requests in the Board of Corrections rules, this would put that exemption in code, said IDOC spokesman Jeff Ray. And though the department is dropping the firing squad proposal, it will continue to pursue codifying that exemption. “The reason is just to provide further clarification and add greater protection by having it in statute,” Ray said in an e-mail to Idaho Reports.

In addition to Idaho’s public records statute, state agencies sometimes make administrative rules to clarify which of their public records are exempt. Those agency rules, approved by the legislature each year, must stay within the boundaries of state code, but sometimes give added clarification on the agency’s interpretation of the statute.

Speaking of rules, I’m digging through some of the proposed rule changes that lawmakers will soon consider. So far, the most interesting thing I’ve found is on cow brain testing, but I’ve only just begun and I’m sure there will be more. Stay tuned to the Idaho Reports blog for all your rule updates concerning domestic cervidae (and everything else).

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