A legislator and his cameras

Print Article

Safer Idaho roads and bridges.

Sensible tax policies that balance essential services for citizens and a desire for limited government.

Moves that would lead to more and better jobs, Idaho businesses growing and prospering.

In the late days of the Idaho 2017 legislative session, one might think these issues would be at the top of the priority list. But if one is looking at Rep. Vito Barbieri from Dalton Gardens, one would be wrong.

What Vito’s focused on is an abortion-related matter — asking a doctor during open testimony if a gynecological exam can be done by a woman swallowing a small camera.

No, wait. He did that during the 2015 session. This session, Barbieri is focused on another kind of camera. This one is the camera that can show you what Barbieri and other legislators are doing.

Last week, Barbieri introduced House Bill 233, which would exempt communication among legislators from the state’s public record laws. Barbieri wants emails, texts and other forms of communication not just between legislators, but between legislators and private citizens, hidden from disclosure in public record requests.

Barbieri didn’t dream this up all on his own. Other governments are creeping steadily toward greater secrecy, weaving thicker veils separating them from the people they’re supposed to be serving. Barbieri and his ilk might think they’re striking a blow against media, which no doubt would raise cheers in some quarters of modern day America. But what they’re striking a blow against is you. You, Mr./Ms./Mrs. Idaho Citizen, now have the right to ask for a wide array of public records, including the public-owned email of elected officials. Vito Barbieri wants to take that right away from you.

Transparency not only helps the public know what’s really going on, but also encourages public officials to do what’s right. Secrecy is protected in restricted quarters already covered by Idaho public record and open meeting laws, areas that include discussion of personnel matters and possible real estate transactions. Otherwise, the advice your mother or father may have passed on to you still applies: Behave like even your private actions are going to be disclosed on the front page of the newspaper.

Vito Barbieri prefers that some of the official work he and other legislators are doing is published with invisible ink. He wants your lights dimmed and the camera turned off unless and until he says otherwise.

Perhaps there’s another anatomy lesson in there somewhere.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

The sweet first taste of summer

May 26, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Remember Scrooge and Cratchit? Today, at a business near you, a wintry Christmas Eve in London is about to be played out North Idaho style in May. Employees will leak from the workplace like a fauce...

Comments

Read More

Here’s to the cream of the crop

May 24, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Consider this editorial a validation and a salute — to Kootenai County high school valedictorians and salutatorians. This week, The Press is dedicating front-page real estate to recognize our public...

Comments

Read More

How to better serve public interest

May 21, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Idaho code from 74-101 through 74-126 covers the state’s public records law. There’s not a whole lot there, and some of what is there doesn’t smack of specificity. So it is with disappointment but ...

Comments

Read More

Editorial: We need good books — and good people

May 19, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press In the great library debate, Glen Seely is right. And so is John Hartung. They’re both right in that their efforts, which at times might appear counter to each other, are actually pointed in the sa...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X