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Author Topic: Utah Open Government  (Read 2612 times)

sohmdaddy

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Utah Open Government
« on: March 09, 2011, 10:36:12 AM »
The Utah Legislature took two or three weeks to declare that the 1911 is the state gun. It took them TWO DAYS submit and vote on a law that restricts a large class of public records from access by the public, and allows agencies to raise the prices for requesting records.

After a huge public outcry, and a veto threat from the Governor, they recalled the bill to amend it. The only thing they proposed as a change was that they changed the implementation date from immediately to July 1, 2011. They took a day to amend it and vote on it, then gave it to the Governor, who promptly signed it.

Once again, the only thing they changed is the date that it goes into effect.

Here is what the governor had to say after signing the law.

"With HB477 now amended, the delayed implementation date allows us to have an open public process with robust, deliberate engagement by the public, the media and lawmakers," Herbert said. "Our goal is open and transparent government. This bill provides a way to find the right balance between the public's right to know and the personal privacy of both constituents and policymakers, while protecting taxpayer dollars."

Here are some links, in chronological order.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705368138/Utah-lawmakers-recall-and-amend-controversial-records-bill-for-further-study.html

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700116367/Gov-Herberts-welcome-influence.html

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705368253/Herbert-signs-records-bill-HB477-after-rally-for-veto.html

I'll bet the Deseret News is pissed off at Herbert for signing the law the same day they praise him for being deliberate in the legislative process.

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    Thernlund

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    Re: Utah Open Government
    « Reply #1 on: March 09, 2011, 07:20:54 PM »
    I read HB477, or at least what I could stomach.  You guys are in trouble I think.  Some of these provisions come pretty close to making actual in-progress legislation eligible for protected status. 

    This stand out to me...

    Quote
    38 provides that work product records may be classified as protected if the record
    39     involves anticipated or pending litigation;

    So, by lines 38 and 39, could that not include any in-progress legislation that is anticipated to draw a lawsuit?

    That's bad.  Your legislators could about passing laws that, BY LAW, you are not allowed to see. 

    WTF Utah?


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    Arizona  Arm yourself because no one else here will save you.  The odds will betray you, and I will replace you...

    GeorgeHill

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    Re: Utah Open Government
    « Reply #2 on: March 09, 2011, 07:41:44 PM »
    This is disgusting.  I am angry and ashamed of the State of Utah.
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    sohmdaddy

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    Re: Utah Open Government
    « Reply #3 on: March 09, 2011, 09:31:18 PM »

    Feud

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    Re: Utah Open Government
    « Reply #4 on: March 09, 2011, 10:36:40 PM »
    This article lists the people who voted for the law.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/51365395-76/government-utah-grama-records.html.csp

    Or you could go straight to the fountain.  ;)

    http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0477.htm

    I read about halfway through it, and I've got mixed feelings on it.  I can see a few positives in keeping work-flow confidential and similar stuff confidential, as well as texts and phone calls.  I'm not sure if the law differentiates between personal and official correspondence (haven't read that far yet), and if so, that would change things a bit.  

    But, I'm of the opinion that transparency in politics isn't always a good thing, so that colors my opinion on the matter.  I can definitely understand why those who do want either complete or simply more transparency wouldn't be happy.

    sohmdaddy

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    Re: Utah Open Government
    « Reply #5 on: March 10, 2011, 04:03:03 AM »
    The law doesn't differentiate. It makes all text and instant messages sent by lawmakers off limits. Of course text messages will then be used to conduct public business away from the public's view.

    sohmdaddy

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    Re: Utah Open Government
    « Reply #6 on: March 26, 2011, 09:33:37 PM »
    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/51503737-76/repeal-media-law-voted.html.csp

    It was repealed in a special session. But I won't be voting for the people who voted it in, originally. Including the governor. Elected officials need to learn that the public does not like them trying to sneak things past us, trying to hide their actions in dark corners. Because the legislature is entrusted with the public's money, money that we trust is being used for the public good. The Utah legislature has had issues in the past of using public money to benefit relatives by awarding construction contracts, using state or county gas cards to go on family vacations, etc. . .

    If they were to restrict public access to the goings on of the legislature, even just a little bit, just imagine how much more tax dollars they could spend for their own personal benefit? And if they were successful in passing small restrictions, what's to stop them from passing more restrictions the next session, or the one after that, or the one after that?

    I hope that this mistake, this collective grab for secrecy that was committed by the majority of Utah's Lawmakers, follows every single one of them to the next election, and they get burned for it.

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