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Readers' forum: Ruckus about HB477

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  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 22, 2011 7:08 a.m.

    Everyone has their issue, so there is nothing wrong with protesting another outrageous action by the Republican controlled legislature. There are differences between the bills in the way they were handled, discussed and considered, and the writer of the letter seems to have missed this. The bottom line is the Republicans again gave us an awful session, the consequence of one party rule slowing taking away the freedoms we enjoy.

  • Selznik Saint George, UT
    March 22, 2011 7:10 a.m.

    I think you're missing the point. The "ruckus" was from the electorate -- the media merely reported it. You sound like you'd prefer a world without media. That would let the legislators do what they want in total secrecy.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    March 22, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    We all pick and choose our battles. The media reported this shady deal passed by our legislature, and a majority of the public expressed our outrage. Apparently, the public didn't feel quite as strongly about the immigration issues as they did about legislator transparency.

  • John Charity Spring Alloway, NJ
    March 22, 2011 7:46 a.m.

    Unfortunately for the people of Utah, their legislature has become the laughing stock of the entire nation. Fortunately, Utahns were willing to put down their video games and ipods just long enough to do something about it.

    Clearly, the Utah Legislature forgot that its state was founded upon Christian principles. Indeed, faith, love, temperance, and charity for all were the values upon which the state was founded. If the legislature had remembered this, it never would have attempted to foster corruption by enacting HB477.

    Hopefully, the outrage of the people will put the legislature back in its place and convince it to return to the aforementioned Christian values. This corruption must be nipped in the bud before it spreads eastward.

  • Grundle West Jordan, UT
    March 22, 2011 7:51 a.m.

    Just a thought about the HB477...It was brought forth because there is a very real dialog that needs to take place concerning the management and openness of communications by our elected officials. The course of public business needs to be open to all as it is our business. On the other hand the personal communications of our public servants needs to be respected as well. Where is the line?

    As I have contemplated the issue and where the line should be drawn. It is apparent that there is no easy answer. The real key is to make sure that the legislator representing you is ethical, honest, and transparent. How can we be sure that who we elect meets these criteria? Make smaller districts so the elected individual is unable to hide within his district. I live in Senate district 10 and I know three of the 10 individuals running for the open seat. If I don't approve of the three then I am shooting in the dark on the seven. My district is one of the largest in the state in terms of area and population.

    Quite the dilemma.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    Immigration only affects a portion of Utah.

    And, supposidly by definition, 'only' the illegal portion of immigrants.

    While I still feel that the immigration debate unfairly targets hispanic immigrants vs. say, danish ones....

    HB477 affects us all.

    Regardless of racial background, legal status, oreintation, etc.

    We ALL who live in Utah answer to the Utah legislator.

    And yet, they feel they do not need to disclose anything to their electorate.

    That is why there is more outrage.

    I agree with Really??? | 7:36 a.m.

    As 1) HB477 affects us all in Utah.

    and 2) Most of us are decended from immigrants at SOME point in our family history.

    Or are some claiming to be 100% Native American now at the next 'Pioneer day?'

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    March 22, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    Loren makes a good point.

    Whatever one's views on immigration, illegal aliens, or GRAMA, we need to remember something very important. While we often think of the media as an unbiased observer, dutifully reporting what is happening, when it comes to GRAMA the media has a vested interest of its own. It cannot even begin to claim to be an unbiased observer. It has what is classically known as a "conflict of interest."

    Certainly the media has and will continue to cloak this conflict in the high sounding rhetoric of "the public good" or a "right to know." But don't we all think that our positions represent how to achieve the greater good? The media in particular often paraphrases Charles Erwin Wilson in proclaiming that "What is good for the media is good for the nation".

    But, as the media often tells us about the right to own guns, with rights come responsibilities. If the media will not respect what are obviously private communications between individual constituents and legislators, then legal protections are needed. If the media abuses its power to engage on partisan fishing expeditions at taxpayer expense, then legal limits are needed.

  • Zed Orem, UT
    March 22, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    Well said John CS. As you may know from previous posts, I'm quite conservative, but I must tell you, this legislature is amazingly--no, I would say stunningly--arrogant. I've had the chance to deal with many of them on an up close and personal basis, and as much as I'd like to disagree with Pagan and others--whom I regularly do disagree with--they are correct on this issue.

    It's a real life example that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. They did what they always do, but this time they got caught. They'll be right back to their old tricks next year, and hoping that the general populous isn't paying that much attention.

    I don't know what the solution is, because I don't feel like electing more democrats is the answer as I fundamentally disagree with most of their tenets. However, we've got to find a way to get some honor, accountability and true statesmanship back into our state government. Otherwise, it's shenanigans like this we can expect in the future.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 22, 2011 10:12 a.m.

    I'm glad the bill is getting another review. I'm pretty sure when people actually look at what's in it... they will realize it didn't end Democracy or put a dark blanket of secrecy over the legislative process.

    I'm pretty sure they will find a way to get the REAL story on this bill out there and make the changes that are needed.

    The clarifications to GRAMA were needed. Maybe they went too far, but I think that's mainly an assumption made by people who haven't read the actual bill and just responded to the howling and misrepresentations in the media (Note DMN editor Jay Evenson wrote an official retraction of his comments mis-representing what was in the bill on Sunday). Read it.

    I hope this will give us a chance to get over the mis-representations and over-reactions and make sure the public knows what is ACTUALLY in the bill and make changes to the parts that actually are upsetting to the public.

    I think giving more time for public comment and compromising on the problem_areas in this bill... is a GOOD thing.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 22, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    Selznik | 7:10 a.m.

    The ruckus was not only REPORTED by the media... it was LEAD by the media.

    I haven't heard one word about this bill from my friends I talk with regularly on the street. or in the office, or around the neighborhood. Just in the papers.

    Remember... the DMN editors (who are VERY ticked off about this) pick what letters get published. That may be why there have been literally DOZENS of letters published on this topic and almost NONE on Libya.

    So don't just assume that if more letters against HB477 get published... that that reflects the exact ratio of approval vs disaproval. Only the letters the DMN likes (and they HATE this bill)... get published.

    When the Media controls the message... they can make it SEEM like the public is saying ANYTHING THEY WANT.

    ===

    That_said... I'm glad they are taking a second look at this bill, and even seem open to scrapping_it all_together. But I really think SOMETHING needs to be done. Unlimited and free GRAMA requests for ANYONE who wants them are getting so expensive... the requester (hint..media) needs to help absorb some of the costs.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    March 22, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    If legislators don't want us to have access to the phones and computers that we paid for, then maybe they should seek other occupations. I'm sure Energy Solutions or UDOT would have openings for them.

    Grow thick skins. If you don't want the public to know what you're doing, then for one, you're probably doing something what. If not, why would you be all up in arms and angry over people wanting to know what you're doing... And two, find another job.

    Teachers, restaurant workers, and those in health care all have to answer to someone. If legislators don't want to answer to their bosses (the people) then please step out of public office.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 22, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    Free Press = Government Watch-Dogs for the People.

    Knowledge is Power.

    That's exactly how and why Totalitarian Regimes censor the media, so they can control the people.

    Q: Why can't Conservatives who "love" the Constitution support this?
    A: Because they are the ones caught in the media spot light.

    Gotcha'

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 22, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    The Real Maverick 10:52

    HB477 didn't restrict ANY access to data on government owned phones or computers.

    Read the bill AND the retraction of the misrepresentations of the bill in DMN Editorial Articles (Sunday DMN... see archives).

    ===

    I think most Legislators can afford their own cell phone and their own computer... and they can use these when they don't want to use the issued phone or computer.

    ===

    Who OWNS the phone, or the computer, isn't the issue. It's whether or not the COMMUNICATION was personal or not.

    Just like ANY job... they shouldn't be using equipment their employer gave them to do their job for personal business.

    Keep in mind... These people only work for the State 45 days/year. They have other jobs, and businesses they need to take care of (yes, even when the Legislature is in session). We should not pretend that we OWN them. Or that they can't have lives and take care of their family and businesses just because we elected them.

    We DON'T "own" them!

    They have private lives and businesses to take care of the other 320_days of the year.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2011 11:24 a.m.

    'I don't know what the solution is, because I don't feel like electing more democrats...' - Zed | 10:04 a.m.


    And THAT'S why the Republican leadership voted HB477 into law.

    Because they are SO sure and SO arrogant, that they are willing to bet Republicans in Utah will continue to vote straight party line...

    instead of what's the right thing to do.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 22, 2011 11:33 a.m.

    @2 bits;

    Let them do their "private" business on their own equipment.

    ALL, underline and bold that, ALL of the state's business needs to be open and available to the public.

  • Zed Orem, UT
    March 22, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    Pagan,

    You're right. As I said, folks like me are stuck in a predicament...and I think there are a LOT of us out there. I'm more libertarian than conservative, but there is simply not a political platform with any real presence that is available as a legitimate alternative. The Democrat platform has its share malignancies that are as unacceptable to me as is this arrogance issue we're talking about. Believe me, I've given it a good deal of thought...

    I wish it were not the case.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 22, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal | 11:15 a.m. " did you even read the bill? It really isn't as bad as the media has made it sound.

    It protects the email addresses of private individuals. Protecting them from being attacked by people with opposing views.

    It also increases fees to get the records to help pay for the additional manpower needed to make those records public.

    Tell us, are you against protecting the privacy of individuals? Are you also against people paying for the additional government resources that they use?

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 22, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    RanchHand,

    What makes you think they DON'T do their private_business on their own phone and computer?

    I think they do. Do you have any evidence they DON'T?

    ===

    I agree with the part you underlined... the STATE'S business needs to be open and available. I totally agree with that.

    But we also need to realize that this is a part time job (45_days/year). They have a life outside the legislature. We don't actually OWN_THEM (as many rabid posters have posted). We own their work.... not their private_lives. They have lives the other 320 days of the year and businesses, farms, families, etc, don't go away during the 45_day_session. They STILL need to communicate and take care of things.

    ===

    I have no issue with access to 100% of the stuff on their WORK computer/phone. HB477 wasn't about that.

    It was about access to their private emails, private facebook_accounts, tweets and texts.

    They don't legislate in Facebook. The Media wants access to that to see who their friends are... to VILIFY the friends/family and get info about contacts they can use to make interesting innuendo_based stories insinuating questionable contacts.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    March 22, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    Isn't it funny how some posters wrap themselves in American flags and rant about freedom yet will defend this bill that was even called an "abomination" by fellow repubs?

    If legislators don't want to be watched by us, then they should find other jobs. I for one, will do my best to help them in this process at the next election. :)

    Can't wait to vote these bums out! Sandstrom, Bramble, Herbert, and Wimmer, you boys are mine!

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    March 22, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    "the consequence of one party rule" Darn that thing called democracy, every time it sticks its head up one party ends up ruling. Esquire would like to try something called what, two party, three party rule. Oh no just liberal party rule?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    March 22, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    Americans everywhere are having buyers remorse for the past election.

    Americans are finally wising up to the GOP.

    WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE are saying NO to corporate welfare, subsidies, and tax cuts for the rich.

    We are saying NO to wars and runaway military spending.

    We are saying NO to immoral health insurance companies.

    We are saying NO to greedy wall street and corrupt banks "too big to fail."

    We are saying NO to flip flopping politicians like Mike Lee. Yes, he can read off his teleprompter fine and look wonderful. But substance is severely lacking. Americans are seeing this.

    We are saying NO to Tea.

    We are saying NO to deregulation.

    We are saying NO to drill baby drill.

    We are saying NO to foreign aid and to the UN run by republican corporate interests.

    We are saying NO to Glenn Beck (he's lost millions of viewers), AM radio, and radicalism.

    We are saying NO to mudslinging.

    We are saying NO to HB477 and republicans who "know better than we do."

    I predict massive losses for repubs in the next election. We are taking our country back from the GOP and their rich allies.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2011 1:47 p.m.

    '...there is simply not a political platform with any real presence that is available as a legitimate alternative.' - Zed | 12:05 p.m.

    I get that.

    And I want to say, I'm sorry if my 11:24 a.m. seemed to target you. It is the MINDSET that a person can 'only' vote one party that upsets me.

    Not you.

    As a Democrat, I cannot say everything they do I support. I mean, Bill Clinton signed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and that lead to my discharge from the US Army based soely on my orientation.

    Can't say I agreed with that.

    And, of course, MANY things Republicans do in Utah I do not agree with. Example? Amendment 3, 2004, which changed marriage from 'two people' too 'one man/one woman'.

    What I hope we DO agree on is that HB477 is a bad bill.

    When EYE vote against that bill, no one will care.

    I am part of a political minority in Utah.

    The ONLY way to get the message that HB477 is a bad bill...

    is if it comes from Republican voters in Utah.

    Otherwise, the Utah legislature is NOT accountable.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 22, 2011 1:50 p.m.

    Redshirt1701 | 12:07 p.m. March 22, 2011
    Deep Space 9, Ut
    To "LDS Liberal | 11:15 a.m. " did you even read the bill? It really isn't as bad as the media has made it sound.

    ================

    Better yet RedShirt...

    Why do you so adimitly defend it?

    The Govenor who signed it said it was bad.
    The Legislators who approved it said it was bad.
    85% of the entire State of Utah said it was bad.
    The rest of America thinks it is bad.

    Yet - you and a very FEW others somehow think it's OK, fine, and nothing wrong with it.

    That's called "denialism", "being out of touch" or "extremeism".

    ...The cheese stands alone.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    March 22, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    The Real Maverick There is a law that prohibits the recording a phone conversation unless both parties agree to it being recorded. It does not matter who owns the phone. You do not have the right to listen in on any individual or legislator's casual phone conversation. HB477 tried to clarify what is a personal casual conversation. It appears the most rabid anti HB477 posters seem to think that once the legislative session begins there is no privacy.

    But what about the rest of the year. Do you really think the only lobbying going on happens in 45 days. How naive can people be. They don't have year round lobbyist jobs because it happens in one month. So under yours and a thousand others, shouldn't we just out law such and all lobbyists like SUWA, Unions, UEA, and others. Or just bug everyones phones. Because even you might call your legislator.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    March 22, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    LDS Liberal | 11:15 a.m. " did you even read the bill?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 22, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    jsf | 2:19 p.m. March 22, 2011
    Centerville, UT
    LDS Liberal | 11:15 a.m. " did you even read the bill?

    =============

    Yes, I did.

    Personally, I feel that "Thou shalt not lie, cheat or steal or bare false witness" or
    "Are you HONEST in your dealings with your fellow men",
    should have been MORE than enough to cover anything specifically written in the HB477....but I'm a just law abiding Citizen Engineer that uses my own moral compass to define what is right and what is wrong,
    I'm not some (is it legal?, or is it illegal?) moral bending Lawyer or Politician...one someone trying to defend them.

  • BlueShirt Voyager, Ut
    March 22, 2011 4:23 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal | 1:50 p.m." The governor is only saying it is bad because the public has pressured him.

    Since you read the bill, which section was so bad, was it section 63G-2-203 where the law requires people to pay for the time it takes to prepare a record for release?

    How about section 63G-2-204 which sets the time table for a response.

    How about section 63G-2-206 which describes how records may be shared within the government.

    What about section 63G-2-301 which defines records that must be disclosed. This section was changed to make draft documents protected against being disclosed.

    What about section 63G-2-302, which protects personal information?

    How about section 63G-2-303 which protects government employees?

    How about section 63G-2-305 which designate protected communications, such as email between legislators that do not have anything to do with legislature business, are personal in nature, would put a person at risk, contain information on bids and proposals, or contain trade secrets?

    Since you read it, please tell us what it is that is so bad about the law, other than it bothers the media?

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    HB477 is a decoy, and a patsy. Language similar to HB477 was tacked on to HB116 (the guest worker bill) at the last minute, providing redundancy should anything happen to 477. 477 will be repealed, Herbert and Lockhart will be hailed as folk heroes, and the law will go through anyway, by way of 116 instead of 477/

    [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.

    The language is far more comprehensive than just the id's of those given the guest worker cards, and extends well beyond matters pertaining to guest worker program.

    Thus the REAL secrecy bill gets past security, while everyone focuses on 477. You've almost got to admire the Machiavellianism of it for its ingenuity.

    Go ahead, look it up for yourself:
    HB0116S03 (HB116 - Third Substitution) Section 1 and Section 2.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    March 22, 2011 5:42 p.m.

    Personally, I feel that "Thou shalt not lie, cheat or steal or bare false witness" or
    "Are you HONEST in your dealings with your fellow men", should have been MORE than enough to cover anything specifically written in the HB477. Then why the stink on HB477. Because if the above arguments have merit, how can you think they would do anything dishonest that needed to be covered up. Are you saying you have more moral integrity and no one else could have as much as you?

  • wrz SLC, Utah
    March 22, 2011 6:36 p.m.

    Herbert is using recall of HB477 to get his signed illegal immigration bills off the front page. Very clever politician. Very poor statesman.

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    March 22, 2011 9:17 p.m.

    I think BlueShirt has raised a very valid point. Those who object to this bill should cite chapter and verse of what it does that is bad. I haven't read the bill in detail, but I haven't found anything yet.

    But if someone would point me to a specific section or item that they think is problematic, I could read it and maybe decide it is a problem.

    I also have to agree with wrz. I fear that 477 is diverting a lot of attention from the amnesty bill that just hung a huge "Illegals are welcome in Utah" sign at every port of entrance to this State.

    The media LOVES 116 despite how it was passed, but are using the same procedures against 477. The media may be correct on 477. But they are not an unbiased source here. They have a conflict of interest.

  • Uncle Charles Where freedom and liberty reign, utah
    March 22, 2011 9:54 p.m.

    Hey Mav...your list of what you are saying NO to was hysterical to read. btw, Beck hasn't lost millions of viewers. so much for your factual statements.

    Wait, facts and Liberals are like oil and water.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 24, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    Considering... that very question... "site your proof or part of the law that does what you claim"... has been raised here many times over. But when you rely on the media, and don't fact check your sources, you end up with many claims based on someone else's opinion - often an uneducated one.

    For example, Death Panels. I challenge anyone to find the line in the Healthcare bill that calls for "death panels". It doesn't exist outside of one parties talking points.

    So if you are going to take a stand on making sure someone can recite page and line, that standard needs to be held for both sides of the isle or political spectrum. And yet, somehow the same requirment is not applied.

    In this case, what one does while employed by someone else while on the clock, everything they do is the employer's business. There is no expressed right to privacy while on the clock or using employer assets, same in the private sector as it is in governance. Part time of full time makes no difference. What one does on their own time with their own resources is another story.