"A bill that would restrict public access to many government records sailed
through the House Thursday, less than 24 hours after it was first discussed in
committee."Step one in moving toward a secretive tyrannic
Utah's Righteous Overlords always know what is best for the peasantry, even if
the peasants don't know what is good for them.
Once again, something created in the Utah Legislature that will have to be
settled in the 10th District Court of Appeals in Denver.
Making it easier to withhold information from the public is shameful. Hopefully
the Utah Senate will wakeup and smell the decaf and kill the proposed bill.
"Dougall said he also proposed the changes to protect constituents'
privacy, allowing them to communicate candidly with their
representatives."More like to protect lobbyists' privacy and
allow them to agree with "their" representatives on ethics violations
which could be embarrassing if discovered by the public. What a total circus.
This deserves deliberate discussion with public access advocates, not a 24-hour
rush job. Doesn't the Republican majority already have enough opportunity to
predetermine outcomes in their secret caucuses? I say all cell
phone/texting/email among legislators during legislative sessions be publicly
broadcast, recorded, or banned. Otherwise a quorum of any committee can discuss
and make a decision in private at any time, avoiding public exposure of the real
issues during public meetings.When making law becomes as distasteful
as making sausage we need another Upton Sinclair.
This bill is outrageous and slimey.
Interesting how the media, who really are the ones who will be impacted by this
bill, are so vigorously stirring up the populous into thinking this is some
terrible thing.Ask yourself, when was the last time you needed
access to public records?Given how frequently the media quotes
"anonymous sources" who can't be named because they are not authorized
to discuss or release the information, it seems the media gets what ever
information it wants - one way or another.Media crybabies whining
they won't be able to do what ever they want...Limiting the media's
self imposed entitlement to all information on anything is a good thing... the
media is biased and out of control. Time to reign them in!!
@runwasatch: The reason we don't generally have to access public records (and
pay the fee associated with it) is because the media DOES. It is their JOB. And,
I daresay I "need" access to public records on a daily basis, though I
might not always take advantage of that access. No good can come from greater
secrecy for a government. Are there no other ways for them to streamline their
work load? Government has "come to a stop" because they allow the
public to have too much access? Please. Give me a break.
This is the type of legislation that gets passed when there is only one party
(either party) running the state. We need two parties for discussion and
Who really thought that it wouldn't "sail through the House?" Was
there a chance that it wouldn't?
@runwasatch"Limiting the media's self imposed entitlement to
all information on anything is a good thing... the media is biased and out of
control. Time to reign them in!!"So the press has no business
getting infomration about the public's business? When the government gets to
control what information the deem the public is privelidged enough to have we
are no better than the USSR and Pravda.
Many of you have fallen prey to the media's slant on this issue. Not surprising
since they get to control the issue through their publication of the story.This bill will protect free speech, not inhibit it. And the
GRAMA requests really can be ridiculous and burdensome. Good bill -
it will help protect citizens, our speech and the private speech of our
@freedomforthepeopleYou are wrong, plain and simple. Government
workers have NO right to privacy on a government-owned computer or phone. If a
government worker wishes to have private email converstations or text
conversations, they need to do so on equipment that they own, not the equipment
the taxpayers own. A government computer is for government use, not to email
This is what we get because we keep electing a single party. The people of Utah
won't wake up until it is too late. These guys on the hill don't listen to
their constituents, don't pay attention to public polls and see themselves as
above direction and certainly above reproach. As long as we blindly vote for
the candidate with the "R" we will continue to lose our freedoms.
@freedomforthepeopleWhere to begin...Freedom of speech is not what
you apparently think it is. Freedom of speech says the government can't
persecute you for what you say...extends to religeon etc. It provides no
protection from criticism by your fellow man for saying something that makes him
angry. As well, ANY conversation with a legislator about a legislative issue
should be available, as each conversation has a potential impact on a
legislators decision...it is public record, no question. I honestly don't know
what private speech is, but if you mean discussions regarding legislative issues
initiated by a citizen who wantes to remain anonymous...fine redact their name
if they have no contracts or other interest with the state.Sometimes
its not about the specifics of a law, but rather the environment it creates
leads to lawlessness. This legislation clearly sends the wrong message
regarding accountability, and in and of itelf has enormous potential to be
abused. Seriously, we may as well put in a small, dark, smoke
filled room at the Capital and quit pretending.
I agree with the majority who posted their opinions this bill is an egregious
attempt to limit the ability of the press to submit Freedom of Information Act
requests. This bill is bad news, and will establish a precedent potentially
damaging the press' and citizens' ability to "speak to authority" by
requesting and receiving government information in a timely fashion.
NavyvetYou are dead on. Right now, due to focus group studies, the
Republican are saying the "right things". But just look at their
actions on the hot social issues like defense of marriage, gay rights and
abortions and see if they effectively do what they claim. I have been in states
dominated by the Democrats and you see the same attitude, just different bad
results. But is almost impossible to get a Mormon to vote for a Democrat, no
matter the state of residence.
I put my life on the line and many of my fellow veterans gave theirs to protect
freedom. Now, in a stroke of the pen, the "uncouth crowd"
can take it away?
It seems to me that the Legislature ought to be spending time creating
legislation that will allow the public to trust them - like, for example,
legislation requiring their ethical behavior (since they prove over and over
that they can't do it otherwise) - and quit developing and passing bills that
enable them to be just as unethical as the public already knows that they are.
With the Wisconsin debacle, there seems to be a lot of talk about an
"out-of-control" government. Well, here in Utah, that description
starts with and is exemplified by the legislature. Unfortunately, their actions
demonstrate that they just don't get it, and they just don't care, and they
don't care who knows it.
runwasatch | 8:41 p.m. March 3, 2011I do not have the time to
request and review public records, but I am glad that someone is watching
them.The american press should have free reign into whatever government
records they want to look at.Despite whatever fantasy our republican
dominated legislator is involved in; this is a democracy, and they are not the
empire.Or maybe they are if the voters will not hold them accountable for
this type of thing.
The Utah Constitution is hanging by a thread! Heaven help us!
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO HIDE?ALL government records should be open.
If they do it, the public has a right to know. If it is financial/personal
negotiations then it should be open aftr the fact. Nothing in government should
be off limits to those who really pay the bills.
What a farce, our legislature at its very best. Speaking of farce, I watched
the news last night and caught a glimpse of our illustreous Guv. mumbling out
both sides of his mouth concerning this ill advised bill. Can hardley wait to
see how my Rep. came out on this one! Can anyone pronounce ETHICS!
If we wish to have citizen legislators (which I fully support and I do not
support full-time legislators whose career is politics) then we must get with
the times on communication. Reasonable, ethical people (the educated,
thoughtful kind we want in office) simply will not endure the bullying that
current law allows the public and the media with regard to access to
"public information". The definition of public information must be
narrowed to ensure that personal speech is not infringed upon.Most
posters here and consistently in Utah have a view that as soon as a citizen is
elected, they are the enemy, they are corrupt and should be placed under
suspicion, as if that somehow advances our system of government. Many citizens
(from my readings on these posts) believe that condemning public servants is
their job and is somehow helpful. How often do you hear gratitude or praise for
the predominantly volunteer efforts of our fellow citizen-leaders?If
we create an environment where good people will not run for office, we pay the
price. This is a good bill and will keep good people in office. If you run
them out, only corrupt will run.
What transparency?If my tax dollars are paying their salaries, then what they
say and do on the job should be of axcess to me. There shouldn't be anything to
hide if they are doing what's right and legal. They are just doing this because
of the situation that came to light with paying off a company that didn't win
the freeway bid. That's the kind of things we as taxpayers should be able to see
and hear! Maybe this will send a red flag to every voter about what kind of
people we are voting into office. . .doesn't matter if they are
democrat/republican/ independent/ tea party. Look and see how your
representative voted and do something about it. Let them know how you feel about
their decision. If they get one letter no big deal, if they get thousands they
will take notice!!!!!
FDR fan. . . I don't know where you get your information on how people vote
(expecially regarding mormons)this is not a article about religion!I use my
brain and I try to research and vote for the person I believe will do their best
for my State and Country. I believe the rest of your comment pertain not only
to republicans but all parties that are in control. I feel like anyone who runs
for office no matter their party always seems corrupt. It is unbelievable that
politics gives so much power to people that they forget who they are and who
they represent. Thank goodness the media reported this so we the people could
know what they are doing on Capital Hill here in Utah.
"I don't give a .... what you think you are entitled to"[If?] the same standards of "transparency" and "integrity"
apply, as a taxpaying citizen, I am entitled to the 'secret' communications of
the media who are filibustering the truth from being broadcast over "We The
People[s]" airwaves and prohibit the balanced and fair sides of the issues
out of the editorial board meeting's and the media committee rooms. I [will not and cannot] continue to sit by and allow [my] elected
representatives to be smeared and ridiculed by this same abusive, quasi
progressive, quasi unifying media and abusive, quasi concerned citizens groups
whose hypocritical "BLEATING" is deafening, until it comes to their
'secret' media communication's being ignorantly kept from the public's eye. Al Gore (one of just thousands) comes to mind.
When will the public finally wake up and vote all of our legislators out? They
are not interested in serving us. They would rather serve their own self
This feels wrong. Very wrong.But there is probably merit to the
argument that overly large GRAMMA requests are take a lot of staff time. When
budgets are tight, it makes sense to cut them. But at what cost? Is our
freedom to be sold so cheaply?It is also true that many forms of
communication common today were not available when GRAMMA was crafted. Text and
email messages have increased the public's ability to reach out to elected
officials. And that IS a good thing. Should those texts and emails be treated
like a whispered conversation? Or, should we simply make it clear that any text
or email is in the public domain... so you may want to avoid saying things you
could be embarrassed about?Pushing all GRAMMA requests to have high
fees associated with them feels like liberty is being quashed. It will almost
inevitably be reversed on appeal to the courts. Shouldn't we look for a more
reasonable middle ground before passing this charade into law?