Board of Health
The Board consists of a representative from each county, appointed to a five-year term by the county commissioners within the District. Idaho Code also allows for the appointment of a physician representative to the Board. The Board hires a District Director to administer the day-to-day activities of the Health District.
In an effort to promote government transparency and provide the public, Southwest District Health posts meeting notices here, in accordance with Idaho’s open meeting laws. Want to learn more about the Board of Health? Check out the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.
Do the Southwest District Health Board of Health meetings meet Open Meeting Law requirements?
Yes. Southwest District Health Board of Health meetings are held in accordance with open meeting law as specified in Idaho Statute. The regular Board of Health meeting schedule can be located online at https://swdh.id.gov and is posted in the foyer of the Caldwell facility. Regular meeting agendas are posted to the website and foyer 48 hours in advance of the meeting date. Notices of special board meetings and agendas can be found at https://swdh.id.gov and are also posted to the foyer of the Caldwell facility and are made available at least 24 hours in advance as required by statute.
The Idaho Open Meeting Law does not require the opportunity for public testimony or public comments at these open meetings unless a public comment opportunity is included as an agenda item on the agenda. However, public comments may be solicited in advance of the meeting.
Meetings held via telephone or video conference are in compliance with Idaho Open Meeting Law. The law permits a meeting to be held by telephone or video conference and requires at least one member of the governing body or the director or chief administrative officer to be physically present at the meeting location designated in the meeting notice. These communications via telephone or video conference among members must be audible to all persons attending the meeting. Providing an electronic link for members of the public to listen to the meeting is an acceptable means to allow those members of the public who cannot physically attend to listen to the meeting.
Does the Open Meeting Law permit holding a meeting by telephone conference call?
Yes. The Open Meeting Law specifically authorizes the holding of a meeting by telephone conference call. However, at least one member of the governing body or the director or chief administrative officer must be physically present at the meeting location designated in the meeting notice. Additionally, the communications among the members of the governing body must be audible to all persons attending the meeting. Care should also be taken to ensure that votes are not made in such a way to permit an illegal secret ballot or vote.
May qualifications or restrictions be placed on the public’s attendance at an open meeting?
A public agency may adopt reasonable rules and regulations (Idaho Open Meeting Law Manual 13) to ensure the orderly conduct of a public meeting and to ensure orderly behavior on the part of those persons attending the meeting. In Nevens v. City of Chino, a California appellate court nullified a city council measure, which prohibited the use of any tape recorders at city council proceedings. (31) While acknowledging that the city council had an absolute right to adopt and enforce rules and regulations necessary to protect its public meetings, the court held that the rule prohibiting tape recorders was too arbitrary, capricious, restrictive and unreasonable. A similar holding might be reached if a governing body prohibits the use of cameras if their presence is not in fact disruptive of the conduct of the meeting. Another limitation is that the body cannot make it practically impossible for the public to be present at a meeting. For example, in Noble v. Kootenai County, a board of commissioners conducted a site visit to a proposed subdivision. When arriving at the site, the board intentionally avoided a group that was gathered near the entrance to the site location and conducted its site visit outside the group’s hearing. The court held that this was a violation, stating that “Idaho’s open meeting laws are designed to allow the public to be present during agency hearings. At the very least this means that the public must be permitted to get close enough to the hearing body to hear what is being said.”32 In any event, the governing standard is the reasonableness of the rules and regulations. Use of a timed agenda, “heavy gavel” and/or compliance with Robert’s Rules of Order or some other procedural guideline may serve to facilitate the orderly conduct of a public meeting.
Does the Open Meeting Law require the governing body of a public agency to accept public comments and testimony during meetings?
No. While other statutes, such as the Local Planning Act, may require the solicitation of public comments, the Open Meeting Law does not expressly require the opportunity for public comment.
What are the powers and duties of a Public Health District Board of Health?
HEALTH AND SAFETY
PUBLIC HEALTH DISTRICTS
39-414. POWERS AND DUTIES OF DISTRICT BOARD. The district board of health shall have and may exercise the following powers and duties:
(1) To administer and enforce all state and district health laws, regulations, and standards.
(2) To do all things required for the preservation and protection of the public health and preventive health, and such other things delegated by the director of the state department of health and welfare or the director of the department of environmental quality and this shall be authority for the director(s) to so delegate.
(3) To determine the location of its main office and to determine the location, if any, of branch offices.
(4) To enter into contracts with any other governmental or public agency whereby the district board agrees to render services to or for such agency in exchange for a charge reasonably calculated to cover the cost of rendering such service. This authority is to be limited to services voluntarily rendered and voluntarily received and shall not apply to services required by statute, rule, and regulations, or standards promulgated pursuant to this act or chapter 1, title 39, Idaho Code.
(5) All moneys or payment received or collected by gift, grant, devise, or any other way shall be deposited to the respective division or subaccount of the public health district in the public health district fund authorized by section 39-422, Idaho Code.
(6) To establish a fiscal control policy required by the state controller.
(7) To cooperate with the state board of health and welfare, the department of health and welfare, the board of environmental quality and the department of environmental quality.
(8) To enter into contracts with other governmental agencies, and this act hereby authorizes such other agencies to enter into contracts with the health district, as may be deemed necessary to fulfill the duties imposed upon the district in providing for the health of the citizens within the district.
(9) To purchase, exchange or sell real property and construct, rent, or lease such buildings as may be required for the accomplishment of the duties imposed upon the district and to further obtain such other personal property as may be necessary to its functions.
(10) To accept, receive and utilize any gifts, grants, or funds and personal and real property that may be donated to it for the fulfillment of the purposes outlined in this act.
(11) To establish a charge whereby the board agrees to render services to or for entities other than governmental or public agencies for an amount reasonably calculated to cover the cost of rendering such service.
(12) To enter into a lease of real or personal property as lessor or lessee, or other transaction with the Idaho health facilities authority for a term not to exceed ninety-nine (99) years upon a determination by the district board that the real or personal property to be leased is necessary for the purposes of the district, and to pledge nontax revenues of the district to secure the district’s obligations under such leases. For the purposes of this chapter, a public health district is not a subdivision of the state and shall be considered an independent body corporate and politic pursuant to section 1, article VIII, of the constitution of the state of Idaho, and is not authorized hereby to levy taxes nor to obligate the state of Idaho concerning such financing.
(13) To administer and certify solid waste disposal site operations, closure, and post closure procedures established by statute or regulation in accordance with provisions of chapter 74, title 39, Idaho Code, in a manner equivalent to the site certification process set forth in section 39-7408, Idaho Code.
(14) To select a board member to serve as trustee on the board of trustees of the Idaho district boards of health.
[39-414, added 1970, ch. 90, sec. 14, p. 218; am. 1973, ch. 29, sec. 6, p. 56; am. 1974, ch. 23, sec. 71, p. 633; am. 1976, ch. 51, sec. 9, p. 176; am. 1976, ch. 179, sec. 3, p. 644; am. 1980, ch. 118, sec. 1, p. 257; am. 1982, ch. 133, sec. 2, p. 381; am. 1986, ch. 63, sec. 5, p. 182; am. 1988, ch. 213, sec. 1, p. 403; am. 1992, ch. 331, sec. 3, p. 996; am. 1993, ch. 139, sec. 23, p. 370; am. 1994, ch. 180, sec. 72, p. 474; am. 1999, ch. 61, sec. 2, p. 159; am. 2000, ch. 132, sec. 33, p. 342; am. 2008, ch. 231, sec. 1, p. 702.]