Comments about ‘Gov. Gary Herbert: A good process can reshape HB477’

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Published: Monday, March 21 2011 11:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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 text messaging.

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

I am not getting good feelings after reading this article......
We must stay informed. Let's not get hoodwinked again, Utah!

Somewhere in Utah, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

The Guv has lost all credibility with me. This is not the first thing that he has done that smells badly.

Eureka, UT

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HB477 should be repealed.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.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

"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.

Speaking Up
Draper, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Anti Bush-Obama
Washington DC, MD

Just kill the bill.

Stockton, UT

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 defense.

Provo, UT

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???


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.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

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 the government.


The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

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 public office.

Charles History
Tooele, UT

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 themselves.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Charles History | 11:04 a.m. March 22, 2011


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.

Bountiful, UT

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.

Nate Daniels
Woods Cross, UT

@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?

Nate Daniels
Woods Cross, UT

@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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