Opinionated @ CFE

Masterful Maneuvering on HB477

Mar
08

Hearing the absolute uproar over the proposed changes to GRAMA in HB477, the Legislature decided to recall the bill. Unfortunately, the only thing changed was the implementation date to July 1, 2011 with a promise to rework it in a special session before the implementation deadline. This may sound like some kind of victory, but it’s really a piece of masterful work to create leverage.

See, anyone wanting to totally kill HB477 is pretty much SOL. If the Legislature decides to not pass any replacement legislation in a special session, the bill stands. That’s leverage against any changes they don’t like including killing the bill entirely. With that kind of threat dangling over their heads, why wouldn’t opponents agree to many more compromises than before to avoid that outcome? They simply wouldn’t.

I don’t like it at all. That kind of maneuvering is terrible policy-making and a far inferior solution to pulling back and working with the public to come up with something better. So what if media bosses are trying to game the process to eliminate the concept of off-the-record communication? Now that the public is focused on the process like a laser, could they really get away with any kind of shenanigans? I’m betting not.

Legislators, please show a bit more faith in the process, no matter how flawed it can sometimes be. I think you owe us that much.

Some Perspective on HB477

Mar
05

If the Utah Legislature was looking for a way to unite people across the political spectrum, HB477 was a great way to do it. Unfortunately for them, it united everyone against the Legislature in a rather loud cacophony, present company included. The bill went from introduced to passed by both houses in just three days with the stipulation that it take effect as soon as it’s signed instead of after the normal sixty days. This alone prompted a strong negative reaction, never mind what the bill actually does: classifying many types of communication as “conversations” rather than “records” and thus not subject to the state’s GRAMA laws, Utah’s version of the Freedom of Information Act. This really doesn’t sound like a whole lot of good.

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