- Slides: 26
UNDERSTANDING LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS
OVERVIEW OF LOCAL STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS
◦ The Office of the Attorney General of Idaho has Manuals available to assist with the laws that affect the Soil & Water Conservation Districts of Idaho. ◦ Ethics in Government Manual ◦ Open Meeting Law Manual ◦ Public Records Law Manual
RULES AND REGULATIONS RELATED TO A CONSERVATION DISTRICT
◦ SCDs have the power to plan and carry out programs for soil conservation, flood prevention, water management, recreation, and other purposes within their boundaries. Most SCDs have the authority to acquire property, enter into contracts and agreements, cooperate with other districts and agencies, conduct surveys, and receive funds. However, due to the fact that most states modified the model act to some degree, there is a certain amount of diversity in the authorities and administrative mechanisms under which the districts operate. ◦ The soil conservation districts cover almost the entire Nation. The SCD is based on relatively uniform state laws, local initiatives and governance, and cooperation with federal agencies. It provides a mechanism for delivering much of the conservation assistance authorized under the federal laws. In addition, many federal conservation assistance programs that are less formally tied to SCDs use the local districts as an important part of their delivery system.
STATE CONERVATION DISTRICT LAW
District Committee ◦ The committee consists of five (5) or seven (7) members. ◦ Committee members are called supervisors ◦ A supervisors election term is for 4 years ◦ Supervisors receive no compensation for services other than expenses such as traveling/lodging expenses. ◦ The committee carries out state policies at state level for the conservation of renewable natural resources and representing the state in matters affecting such resources ◦ The committee holds regularly scheduled public meetings, usually on a monthly basis.
Conservation District ◦ A number of powers are entrusted to the conservation districts: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ (1) entering into contracts (2) acquiring and disposing of property (3) providing assistance (4) developing districtwide plans (5) constructing and maintaining structures (6) cooperating with other districts and agencies (7) acquiring and administering projects (8) imposing conditions for furnishing assistance (9) suing and being sued (10) adopting land-use regulations (11) conducting surveys, investigation and research (12) receiving money from the state (13) receiving money from the United States (14) receiving income from property by sales
STATE AND FEDERAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
What is the FOIA? ◦ The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.
FEDERAL---FOIA ◦ Enacted on July 4, 1966, and taking effect one year later, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.
State-----FOIA ◦ Idaho Public Records Law § 9 -337 -§ 9 -350 states that every person has a right to examine and take a copy of any public record of this state and there is a presumption that all public records in Idaho are open at all reasonable times for inspection except as otherwise expressly provided by statute. ◦ No inquiry of any person who applies for public record shall be made. ◦ Examination of public records must be conducted during regular office or working hours unless the custodian shall authorize examination of records in other than regular office or working hours. ◦ A written records request may be requested including names, addresses and phone numbers. ◦ An information request must be fulfilled within three (3) working days of the date of the receipt of the request for examination or copying unless a request is made for any records pertaining to a person. The request must then be filled within ten (10) days of the receipt of the request.
STATE OPEN/PUBLIC MEETING ACT
Idaho Codes § 67 -2340 -§ 67 -2347 ◦ All meetings held by more than a majority of the board in attendance must comply with the following: ◦ Regular meetings---must include a location, date and time of meeting. ◦ No less than a five (5) calendar day meeting notice ◦ No less than a forty-eight (48) hour agenda notice ◦ Special Meeting---must include a location, date and time of meeting. ◦ No less than a twenty-four (24) hour meeting notice ◦ No less than a twenty-four (24) hour meeting agenda ◦ If a majority of the supervisors are not in attendance no official motions can be made and passed ◦ Written minutes of meetings---◦ All meeting minutes shall be available for the public within a reasonable time after the meeting, and shall include at least the following information: ◦ All members of the governing body present ◦ All motions, resolutions, orders, or ordinances proposed and their disposition ◦ The results of all votes, and upon the request of a member, the vote of each member by name. ◦ Minutes pertaining to executive session shall include a reference to the specific statutory subsection authorizing the executive session and shall also provide sufficient detail to identify the purpose and topic of the executive session but shall not contain information sufficient to compromise the purpose of going into executive session.
Idaho Codes § 67 -2340 -§ 67 -2347 ◦ Executive Sessions----When authorized. ◦ An executive session at which members of the public are excluded may be held, but only for the purposes and only in the manner set forth in this section. ◦ A motion to go into executive session must be made and shall identify the purpose of the session. ◦ (a) to consider hiring a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent (not to discuss replacement of an elected supervisor) ◦ (b) to consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent ◦ (C) to consider deliberations, concerning labor negotiations, or to acquire interest in real property which is not owned by a public agency ◦ (d)to consider records that are exempt from disclosure as provided in Chapter 3, Title 9, Idaho Code ◦ (e) to consider preliminary negotiations concerning trade or commerce
Idaho Codes § 67 -2340 -§ 67 -2347 ◦ (f)to communicate with legal council ◦ (g) by the commission of pardons and parole, as provided by law ◦ (h)By the sexual offender classification board, as provided by law ◦ (i)By the custody review board of the Idaho department of juvenile corrections, as provided by law ◦ (j)To engage in communications with a representative of the public agency’s risk manager or insurance provider to discuss the adjustments of a pending claim ◦ A motion to exit executive session must be made and voted on and passed ◦ Violations to the Open meeting laws ◦ Fines for not complying with the provisions can and will be fined $50 -$500
STATE AND FEDERAL ETHICS ACTS
Bribery and Corrupt Influence Act ◦ Federal Law § 18 -201 ◦ This statue prohibits an executive branch employee from receiving any legal fees, partnership share, bonuses, or any other form of compensation derived from representational services of others in matters before the executive branch or the courts of the US. ◦ State Law § 18 -1351 & § 18 -1352 ◦ Gain or receive an advantage or benefit as a consequence of public measures which ones is engaged or supports or opposes.
Threats and other Improper influence in official and political matters ◦ Federal Law—US Code Chapter 41§ 18 -871 -18 -880 ◦ These include threats to the President (Past or Present) ◦ Blackmail and mailing threatening communications ◦ Penalty under this law is a fine or imprisonment for no more than one year ◦ Whoever, with intent to extort from any person any money or other thing of value, so deposits, or causes to be delivered, as aforesaid, any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of the addressee or of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. ◦ State law--§ 18 -1353 ◦ The offense is defined as a person who threatens unlawful harm to any person with purpose to influence his decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official or voter. ◦ This offense is considered a misdemeanor but can be elevated to a felony.
Gifts to public servants by persons subject to their jurisdiction ◦ Federal Law—US Code § 7353 ◦ No member of Congress or officer or employee of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch shall solicit or accept anything of value from a person, agency, or business to persuade them. ◦ State Law--§§ 18 -1356 -1358 ◦ No public servant in any department or agency can accept or agree to accept any pecuniary benefit from a person known to be interested in or likely to become interested in any matter before such public servant with which he is associated. ◦ Offense under this section is a misdemeanor.
Using Public Position for Personal Gain ◦ Federal Law—Executive Order 12674 and 12731 ◦ Prohibits employees from soliciting or accepting gifts from prohibited sources or gifts given because of their official position. The term “prohibited source” includes anyone seeking business with or official action by an employee’s agency and anyone substantially affected by the performance of the employee’s duties. For example, a company bidding for an agency contract or a person seeking an agency grant would be a prohibited source of gifts to employees of that agency. ◦ The term “gift” is defined to include nearly anything of market value. However, it does not include items that clearly are not gifts, such as publicly available discounts and commercial loans and it does not include certain inconsequential items, such as coffee, donuts, greeting cards, and certificates. ◦ State Law--§ 18 -1359& § 18 -1360 ◦ No public servant shall: ◦ Use public funds or property to obtain pecuniary benefit for himself ◦ This prohibition shall not include travel benefits not to exceed fifty dollars ($50) incidental to personal, professional or business contacts and involving no substantial risk of undermining official impartiality ◦ No person related to a county commissioner by blood or marriage within the second degree shall be appointed to any clerksh 8 ip, office, position, employment or duty with the commissioner’s county when the salary, wages, pay or compensation of such appointee or employee is to be paid out of public funds. ◦ An employee of a governmental entity holding a position prior to an election for a local government official, who is related within the second degree, shall be entitled to retain his or her position and receive general pay increases, step increases, cost of living increases and/or other across the board increases in salary or merit increases, benefits and bonuses or promotions. ◦ Penalties for violations are not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1000) or incarceration in the county jail for a period not exceeding one (1) year or both.
Conflict of Interest ◦ Federal Law—US Code § 18 -208; §§ 501 -505 ◦ Prohibitions an executive branch employee or general employee from participating personally and substantially in a particular Government matter that will affect his own financial interests, as well as the financial interest of: ◦ His spouse ◦ His minor child ◦ His general partner ◦ An organization in which he serves as an officer, director, trustee, general partner or employee ◦ A person with whom he is negotiating for or has an arrangement concerning prospective employment ◦ State Law--§ 59 -704 & § 59 -704 A & § 59 -705 ◦ A public official shall not take an official action or make a formal decision or formal recommendation concerning any matter where he has a conflict of inter and has failed to disclose such conflict. ◦ Any public official who intentionally fails to disclose a conflict of interest as provided for in section 59 -704 , Idaho Code, shall be guilty of a civil offense, the penalty for which may be a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500)
USDA REQUIREMENTS FOR SHARED OFFICE SPACE
USDA Requirements for Shared Office Space ◦ Work Space: NRCS agrees to provide office space adequate to meet the needs of the parties. Proposed changes in a party’s office space requirements will be discussed in advance, if possible. NRCS will provide space for one employee at no cost. Additional office space requirements will be determined in a mutually agreeable fashion between affected parties. Agreements for work space will be reviewed annually by the affected parties.
USDA Requirements for Shared Office Space ◦ Equipment: the parties agree to share select general office equipment (computers, faxes, phones, copiers, etc. ). USDA equipment may be used for official USDA purposes by all parties. Postage, consumable office supplies, field equipment and supplies, etc. will be sharing arrangements and reimbursements. A supplemental agreement concerning shared telephone lines will be developed and will specify sharing arrangement and reimbursement. When a significant amount of mass printing production is required, parties will contract said work orders with an independent printing company
All information in this module was obtained from: ü Idaho Soil Conservation District Supervisor Handbook ü 2014 Idaho Election Manual ü Idaho Ethics in Government –Office of the Attorney General ü Idaho Public Records—Office of the Attorney General ü Idaho Open Meeting Law—Office of the Attorney General ü United States Office of Government Ethics ü Bear Lake Soil & Water Conservation District