Published: Monday, March 21 2011 11:00 a.m. MDT
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HB477 should be repealed.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.
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