477 is a good bill, but it was rushed through too quickly. So the main problem
is its PERCEPTION, not the reality or wording of the bill itself.
Repealing HB477 can reshape it as well. Remember: The Patriot Act
allows the goverment to search your records and property without warrent. HB477 denies the average public access to Utah's legislatures email and
I am not getting good feelings after reading this article......We must
stay informed. Let's not get hoodwinked again, Utah!
The only good way to "reshape" HB477 is to repeal it. Throw it out,
and start over if real corrections are needed to it. People of Utah -- please
be aware of what Herbert and his minions are trying to do -- keep that piece of
trash in place while making people THINK they're trying to be responsive to the
wishes of Utah's citizens by negating it.The best thing to do is get
the Referendum in place, and totally toss HB477 in the trash where it belongs.
The Guv has lost all credibility with me. This is not the first thing that he
has done that smells badly.
It's one thing to protect the privacy of communication between a legislator and
his/her spouce. It's another thing to protect the privacy between a legislator
and a lobbiest. It's one things to stop a "fishing
expedition" which was done soley to cause the state money. It's another
thing to stop a "fishing expedition" to look for ethics violations,
examples of back room deals, or a general disrespect to the democratic process.
HB477 should be repealed. It should be studied during Interim
Sessions. It should not be redone/rewritten during a one day session. It's hard to trust legislators who first of all passed this bill so quickly,
without debate, under pressure from leadership, and who keep changing their
stories based on the push back they are getting from the voters.
"It is now clear to me," Herbert says. It's funny how clarity hits a
politician in the head when the voters start sending a clear message.
The bottom line for me is this: if we, the taxpayers, are paying for their
phones, then we have a right to GRAMA their emails, text messages, etc. They
are working on our behalf. I am still in shock that the legislature did not
anticipate the outcry about this. And they definitely underestimated the power
of the press.
I like the bill. It protects individual privacy.If I send an
electronic message to my legislator encouraging him to vote a certain way,
that's not be public information any more than how I vote in the voting booth.
Just kill the bill.
I agree with AlanSutton. I expect that my private communications with my
legislator will remain private. Whether those communications take place in
person, via a phone call, in a letter, or via a text or email message should
make no difference. Let us remember, it is one thing for those
living in urban, high population density areas to drive the down the street and
chat with a legislator in person. It is quite another thing for those of us
living in more rural areas where our legislators may live a 2 hour drive away.
My short text message or even lengthy email to my rural legislator should enjoy
the same level of privacy as is enjoyed by an urban legislator and his
constituent chatting in the front yard or living room.And, as a
taxpayer, I'm not thrilled about picking up large bills so the biased media can
engage in partisan fishing expeditions against legislators who all happen to be
in one party. Expecting requestors to pay reasonable costs for their GRAMA
requests is not out of line.The State constitution already protects
the right of the accused against paying any fees for material needed for
Gov. Herbert:Are you serious. There is no need to amend the bill
because the bill shouldn't even exist! If you restrict access to public
officials' communication that is electronic, how do you think our gov. officials
are going to communicate??? Electronically.This bill is
ridiculous. If this goes into affect no one in the legislature including you
should be re-elected. Get rid of this bill.And these other comments
about privacy for state officials is absolutely ludacris. A puplic official can
communicate privately on personal electronics, but not on tax payer provided
computers and cell phones. They should have no expectation of privacy when
using government electronic services.
Isn't it funny? Repubs claim that legislation that allows them to spy on us is
good and for our protection. Then, they proclaim that legislation that they are
above criticism and seek to take away the few means we have of spying on
them.In other words, government is usurping all the power in order
to keep tabs on citizens while taking away rights citizens have to keep tabs on
I think the most appalling part of all of this is the complete and utter
disregard for the people.The vast majority were/are against this
legislation. Yet, the out of touch repubs rammed it through.Can we
please vote all these guys out? Get them out. When they feel they no longer need
to vote with us but FOR us, then there time is right for them to GET OUT of
The legislature is all about what is good for them is good.They want the
free health care.They want their privacy.They want the control, (to
make more money for themselves, more benefits, more perks, etc.)There seems to be two types of conservatives, first the ones with the power,
(ether trying to keep it or get more) and the ignorant). When ever a
person that posts that is of conservative nature, I always wonder which one are
they?Why would any one support more secrecy in our government?Would we know of the payouts?Would we know of any of the illegal or
unethical acts of these high and mighty individuals?The government
should be about service, but currently it is about what they can get for
I would like to know if the Deseret News is going to defend the rights of the
people to have an open government or continue to cater to the powers that be.
Instead of questioning why hb477 happened in the first place and explaining to
the public how it is a reprehensible law, the DNews seems more concerned about
making the governor look good. Classic you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.
Case in point: There are 3 people with ties to the Deseret News on the HB477
working group and no representatives of Utah's largest daily newspaper or the
broadcast media. I want a newspaper that will look out for me and fulfill its
watchdog role as the "fourth estate." Sadly, though, I've come to the
realization that's no longer the Deseret News.
Charles History | 11:04 a.m. March 22, 2011 Cha!You
nailed it....The legislature is all about what is good for them is
good.They want the free health care.They want their privacy.They want the control, (to make more money for themselves, more benefits, more
perks, etc.)All animals are equal, but some animals are more
equal.I guess we can all say the pigs are in the Farmhouse.
The underlying problem is Accountability and determining exactly who is the
Constituency of our elected officials.We've arrived at a political
situation in Utah where the general public is in fourth place in the pecking
order:1. GOP Delegates - if a candidate doesn't get past the GOP
convention, the candidate has no hope of holding office. If they get enough
votes at the convention, they're on the ballot, which essentially means
electoral victory.2. GOP Voters - should there be a close election
at the convention, the decision could go to GOP voters in a closed primary.3. Lobbyists - these folks are deeply buried in our Legislature. Anyone
who thinks otherwise is delusional or ignorant.4. Utah Citizenry.Needless to say, the first three groups are small minorities of the
population.Because there is no meaningful political competition in
Utah, and because the State's business is often conducted in private GOP caucus
meetings, maybe the citizens should enact a Recall Law as another point of
leverage on our elected officials.
@Considering: Please explain this to me. Why do you consider any communication
with a "public" official to be "private"? I'm really not
being cynical. This has been a long standing curiosity with my right along with
people who say "red light cameras" on public roads violate their
privacy. Your rep is not working for a private business. He/She is working as
a public servant.I could see a privacy argument on behalf of the
people if the goal was to protect the identities of the source of
text/email/etc.. i.e. All SMS messages to the Senator (on his government phone)
are automatically uploaded to the utah.gov website, but you need a court order
to obtain the identity of a specific sender. But that is not what is being
argued. They are saying that if you email a government address which is paid
for by tax payer dollars for support of a public office, that we need a court
order to see the emails. There is not a single private employer in this state
that needs a court order to review employee emails. Why do public servants
deserve special treatment?
@Peanut: How is classifying research related to fiscal notes until after the
legislation passes good under any definition. You need to actually read the
bill.@Alan: When you vote, your voice is weighed equally against
all of your fellow constituents. When you attempt to influence a
representative directly, you are having direct influence over your neighbors.
If you text your rep and offer him a bribe to help "influence" their
vote, you better be sure that is not a private matter.I personally
find it funny that most backpedaling reps complain that it is all this new
communications technology that drove HB477. Here's an idea: Instead of blaming
the technology for making your job harder, use the technology to make it easier.
You are called a "Public Servant" for a reason. Every aspect of your
official business is done to impact the public and funded by the public. As a
former Marine, I find the idea that anyone who holds Public Office and thinks
they should have privacy is completely absurd. If you don't want public
scrutiny, don't run for office.
Have those who defend this bill actually read all of the provisions? You say
you want your communications with your individual representatives to be private.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that's reasonable, and a law ensuring
such privacy is required. HB477 will do that. A few other things it will
do:Prohibit access to ALL texts messages, regardless of content. So
if a legislator wanted to engage in unethical behavior, he could simply make
sure all communications on the subject were text messages--there would be no
danger of discovery.Shift the burden of proof to the party making
the request for access to records, should the request be denied under current
GRAMA rules. Currently, the burden is on the government to show why the records
should be sealed.Best of all, the bill seals any records when there
is a "reasonable anticipation" of litigation. In other words,
anything even slightly controversial.There are many more great
things the bill does if you're into back-room deals and secrecy--I suggest you
give it a read, or at least the summary. Protecting privacy is fine, but this
bill does much, much more than that.
Nate Daniels | 1:30 p.m. March 22, 2011 Woods Cross, UT As a
former Marine, I find the idea that anyone who holds Public Office and thinks
they should have privacy is completely absurd. If you don't want public
scrutiny, don't run for office. ================= Agreed!and Thanks for your Service.We used to laugh
all the time about the rank of "Private" in the Military.Couldn't even use the latrine or take a shower in "Private", yet these over paid, Public Cry Babies are whining about phone calls!
Nate Daniels,You said, "Please explain this to me. Why do you
consider any communication with a "public" official to be
"private"?===Well... #1... it's
the LAW. It's ILLEGAL to record a conversation unless you notify the caller
that the call is being recorded. IT'S THE LAW. I used to work at a
Brokerage and we had to warn EVERY caller that "the call was being recorded
for their protection" (in case the trade was done wrong, or challenged
later, or something).It's the LAW... you have to tell people when
their conversation is being recorded.===Now besides the
pesky LEGALITY_thing... there's the 4th_Amendment (AKA Right_to_privacy) which
makes searches illegal unless there is probable_cause and a warrant.Being a politician isn't automatic "Probable_Cause" for a search...
Including their papers, electronic_communications, etc. You still need a
warrant (which the 14th_Amendment (AKA_Due_Process_Clause) states requires
probable_cause).I know... pesky_Constitution_again... DANG!===Now... You can ASSUME that politicians don't have the
protections of the law or the Constitution... but that doesn't make you
right.Politicians.... are CITIZENS... with legal_rights like
you_and_me.Legislative meetings, conf_calls, emails, documents, etc,
are recorded (KNOWINGLY)... so they_are_OK.
If Utah politicians want people to stop going on fishing expeditions, they need
to stop stocking the pond so full of big tasty fish.
The joke is on Utah. HB477 will be repealed, but that does not matter. After
all, an essentially similar -- some say far worse -- secrecy law was tacked on
to HB116 at the last minute (HB0116S03, Sections 1 and 2). [line
197] Section 2. Section 63G-2-305 is amended to read:[line 198]
63G-2-305. Protected records.[line 199] The following records are
protected if properly classified by a governmental entity:[line
296](19)(a)(i) personal files of a state legislator, including personal
correspondence to or from a member of the Legislature; and [...]and
much, much more, several pages worth. The language is far more
comprehensive than just the id's of those given the guest worker cards, and is
not at all limited to matters pertaining to the guest worker program. So if the essential law is duplicated in two bills, and one of those two bills
is repealed, what happens then? Do the math. No wonder
Herbert and Lockhart are so willing to listen to the will of the people and
Governor Herbert,Here is what I have a problem with:1. You agreed to
sign this bill long before they passed it.2. You signed HB477 into law
with only the date of implementation being pushed back and with a non-binding
promise to make changes.3. At the end of the day, if the legislature does
not come up with a compromise the bill will become law.4. Because of issue
3, the leadership in the legislature now has a very powerful bargaining chip to
ensure they get what they want at the expense of everyone else.5. You are
making an effort to protect the Citizens of Utah only after the public outcry.
6. Your excuse for not vetoing the bill is weak and shows a lack of
leadership.7. You have not apologized and taken ownership for the obvious
mistake you have made.8. You signed HB116 into law, a bill that has the
very real potential of giving away Citizen's jobs to illegals.9. Your
track record shows that your primary concern is for the welfare of special
interest at the peoples expense.
Nate Daniels if you had read the bill you would realize e-mails are specifically
exempted from the protection of hb477. And why does anybody think that a text
message or casual conversation during the legislative session is the only source
of lobbying. At one time in history, a lot of political jockeying went on in
Lamb's Cafe downtown. It goes on all year. And since we know this and that the
Real Maverik might call his legislator, we should have a tap on his phone year
round. Heaven forbid we were not aware of his influence.
It is going to take a lot of time to regain public confidence. The constant,
yearly assault on public education, ethics problems, and now this
anti-transparency bill has done a great deal of damage to what I consider
out-of-control, big state government. People want smaller government and that
includes state government as well. 500+ laws per year is utterly ridiculous.
Your Gov. Gary Herbert YAWNS loudly, that some years ago, the state Legislature
passed Utah's GRAMA (Government Records Access and Management Act). Its proper
focus was government transparency and accountability, but it did not and could
not anticipate our world of new media. If there really was any Utah was
government transparency and accountability you would find out this. It's
called money, greed, corruption, above the law, (ignore us common people unless
they need your votes), career politician's who will take money from any special
interest and say or do anything to keep his hold on power. It's secret
government by and for the insiders. And big business only. Plus The Patriot
Act's money laundering provisions, where are they today?. Rep. Michael Oxley
removed a provision involving money laundering from the bill at the behest of
the White House and GOP whip Tom DeLay. Thanks to our GOP de-regulation for BIG
OIL and Wall Street plus the crooked speculators that killed the planet back in
2008, these RINO anarchists against the poor and middleclass, that are GOP
socialists for themself in sheep's wool cloths. Then would you vote for them?.
There should be nothing ever like HB477. If the DNews signs off on any
restrictions similar to what was in the original bill then they will be failing
in their duty to their readership.
@Hunt 5:27 p.m.:10. The reason you want action to repeal the bill is
so that you can get the illegal immigration bills you signed off the front page.
Leadership. Something sorely missing in Utah right now. The Governor has shown
none. He simply does what the Ultra-Conservative Legislature tells him too.
Leadership from the Legislature, that's a very frightening thought, but
unfortunatly that is who is "leading" the state right now.Jon Huntsman, Utah desperately misses your forward-thinking leadership. You
did not let the inmates run the asylum. Something this Governor has no problem
doing. And it is quickly setting Utah back.It's just too bad
Republican voters can't see this.
In the governor's defense, he didn't start this fire. But I'm noticing a
pattern in the governor's leadership style. Just like with the UDOT bid payout
fiasco, his initial response is to pretend like it's no big deal, and to fail to
take a principled stand. Then, when the situation morphs into a PR catastrophe,
he makes a big deal about it and goes into damage control mode.The
governor writes about a loss of public confidence. He's right, but I want him
to understand that it's not just because of this bill. The governor and the
legislature are performing their jobs as if they are beholden only to the folks
who financed their campaigns and the ones who carried the banner for them
through Utah's inane caucus process. Their disdain for the will of the people
is shameful. It's going to take much more than a song and dance around HB477
before I have any confidence in either the governor or the legislature again.
Just let it be known that any phone call, e-mail, or text message, to a public
phone, or computer, is public information.pretty much defeats the
individual privacy argument.And do not allow private phones on the
legislative floor.When I go to work all my e-mails and phone calls can be
reviewed and recorded. And I am not allowed to conduct private business during
the work day. I am not allowed to be on my private cell phone during the day. I
am on company time so they expect all my energies to be at work.There is
no reason for a legislator to be taking private phone call during the day. Have
one person appointed to notify them in case of an emergency.Our legislator
thinks they are royalty. They do not want any meaningful ethics restrictions,
They skirt around the law with gifts by creative accounting, they have made it
as hard as possible to pass a citizen referendum, they call public meetings
private to get around the law.Now they do not want anyone knowing what
they are doing by cripling GRAMMA.
The Governor makes good points about what would happen if he had vetoed the bill
-- a majority would override the veto and this heinous breach of GRAMA and
government transparency would've been enacted anyway. Having written that,
however, saying the bill would be repealed and replaced is only half right. It
should be repealed and replaced with nothing.
@2bits3:04. "its the Law...Its illegal.....". Well so is sneaking
across the border, but it seems our Legislators and Herbert want to reward that.
I think these two bills, 477 and 116, have a lot in common, scratch my back and
I'll scratch yours! Viva Legal immigration.