Comments about ‘Utah Rep. Powell to champion open government legislation’

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Published: Tuesday, March 15 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

Powell is seeing the backlash and is now trying to save his skin for the next election. He's pretty transparent, too bad he doesn't seem to understand the need for transparency in government.

Milo P Otis
West Jordan, UT

Spin this anyway you want. You still voted for it. Right is right, wrong is wrong. Know the difference and act accordingly. You had your chance.

On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

HB477 isn't a done deal yet. I think Powell's willingness to dialogue honestly with the public about it will have a positive impact on the final state of the bill. The folks whose feet really need to be held to the fire are the bill's sponsors, John Dougall and Lyle Hillyard, the house and senate leaders, Becky Lockhart and Michael Waddoups, and of course our brilliant governor, Gary Herbert.

Midway, UT

Powell is as reasonable as they come. If you understand his history in the legislature this makes sense. His first move when he started in the legislature was to run several campaign finance reform and government ethics bills. By doing this, he angered other members of his party. Powell since then has been told again and again - go along to get along. In that context it is understandable why he voted for a bill that he opposed so strongly, it also explains why he is so annoyed now. I don't think it excuses the vote, but I think the man is trying to make things right, do you see any others who voted for this bill stepping to take heat on it like this?

Salt Lake City, UT

HB477 is a dirty bill.

Under the Patriot Act, our private property can be searched, without warrent.

But under HB477, the public has no access to records from public officials that take such action (email, text messages) on the tax payers dime.

Both, the patriot act and HB477, has had the full support of the Republican party.

brookings, SD

to Pagan: you nailed it. But no one is listening.

St. George, UT

Although non-access to emails, text messages, etc., is extremely important, the most important issue is the change in the intent language of GRAMA. Under GRAMA, it was the government who had to prove why the information should not be made public. Under HB477, it is the public who has to prove why the information should be public. . .how do you prove something should be made public when you are unable to see it? The Republican leadership was merely trying to remove the power of Chief Justice Christine Durham, a justice they feel is too liberal (although she was appointed to the court by Mike Leavitt), simply because the court seems to side with the public in virtually every instance when it comes to releasing documents and cite the intent language. Without that language, the public will be seriously damaged. How does it feel Utah to have a more secretive government than Mexico and to have our legislature and government pass the most anti-Democratic secrecy legislation in the country?

DR Hall
Clearfield, UT

I am glad that at least one Republican is not a simple rubber stamp. That closed records law was wrong from the beginning and needs to be repealed on a permanent basis. This indicates just how corrupt our elected officials are. They should be removed and thrown under a fast moving bus.

Sandy, UT

What if:

1. The media has a huge interest in this being overturned and is controlling the information that we are getting as the public?

2. The legislature had tried for 3 years to get some clarification and development of these laws so that they could more effectively address the new communication tools (texting, email, other e-forms) but the opponents (mainly the media) stalemated each discussion and never would allow this to have a reasonable dialogue (like they are still doing now)?

I am not a politician of any type - just a citizen - but i did ask how this happened and what I heard made me realize there really are always two sides and things we don't know about. We are easily deceived because we have a pre-conceived bias. And the media controls what we find out. In this case, it is easy to see the media's bias.

I am looking forward to the discussion that will hopefully now happen. This was the only way the legislature could get a discussion going - in a special session - where the changes needed can be made. The media still doesn't want that discussion to happen.

On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

@freedomforthepeople, there's no excuse for the rushed, anti-transparent way this bill was pushed through the legislature and onto the governor's desk. Maybe the legislature has some valid reasons for supporting this, but one wonders why they didn't see fit to take the time to inform Utah voters, since ultimately we're the ones who will suffer from the increased restrictions. I think the media would have been happy to discuss its merits, but the proper time for such a discussion was well before the legislature voted on the bill. I too am hopeful that the discussion will be productive and that the final bill will not create a gigantic loophole for our already ethics-challenged legislature to hide in, but the law IS already signed and I really have no faith in our state legislature. Any group who can make as many stupid decisions as these folks did in this year's legislative session doesn't deserve to be trusted. These people don't represent most Utahns' views and they have no intention of doing so.

I'm looking forward to a referendum on this atrocious bill come November.

Nicky Gee
Farmington, Utah

Theres more to HB477 than emails and texting. The data used leading to an anticipated fiscal cost is also exempted. ---Legislators shouldnt but do, get involved with which data gets used. Eg., the school voucher bill. The number of students that might use it was greeeaaatly exaggerated (100%) Thus, the anticipated benefit.

Currently, we can see which data is used in the calculations of anticipated fiscal cost. Under HP 477 we wouldnt be able to until it passes. Imagine, diminishing the benefits of bills you dont want passed and greatly exaggerating bills you do want. If you can control the money, (if only on paper) you control everything. What is the justification of having that exemption in that bill? Power!!!!

Kaysville, UT

The new Speaker of the House and President of the Senate and Governor need to remember the words of the Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863: "and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Beverly Hills, CA

This bill and all that it now hides should serve as notice to those who blindly vote for the All Mighty, All Knowing, All Seeing Utah Republican Party. This bill should wake some of you up but sadly it won't for many of you.

Kearns, UT

The Republicans, in this case, are no better than the Democrats in Congress who rammed through the Obama Care Bill without debate or scrutiny.

Provo, UT

Several commentators on this issue take Utahns to task for voting for these individuals who don't seem to understand basic principles of good government. It's all about the caucuses. Utah voters don't decide who runs, the very motivated special interests who become the caucus delegates in the Republican Party, such as the Eagle Forum decide. This is a very small group that have the motivation and time (for some reason, nothing else to do with their lives) to control the caucuses. As a result, our "representatives" are not the least representative of normal Utahns. Legislative leadership's votes, and public opinion polls are almost never close to each other. The solution is a referendum to change to open primaries. It has to be a referendum because the party leadership will never allow any change themselves.

It's all about the caucuses. Until the Democratic party is viable, the Republicans must take back their Party.

Sugar City, ID

There is an interesting development in Miami on governmental policies. The Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida was recalled because he raised taxes on wealthy property owners and redistributed the money to teachers and other public employments. I want to watch for the longer term effects to see what lessons can be gleaned.

Salt Lake City, UT

Rep.Powell's proposal of a 72 hour time frame is way too short. If the purpose of a Representative is to represent the people,the people need time to read,discuss,and provide input. I would suggest a minimum of 2 weeks at least. What's the rush? Especially something of this magnitude.

Hey It's Me
Salt Lake City, UT

at John Jacob etc. @10:17 Was itonly repubublicans who voted for this? Was there no Democrats? I want people who represent what we want no matter what their affliation is. I wish everyone complaining was willing to vote the way they complain!

The Jimmer
Salt Lake City, UT

Wow, this is a lot of high drama for a very low-key issue. At least it should be low key. The legislature is going to fix the bill. Give them a chance. If Powell felt pressure to vote for the bill it sounds like the pressure was perceived, not necessarily real. This bill needs some work; I don't like it as is, but it's not the worst bill I've ever seen, not even the worst one this year.

Nicky Gee
Farmington, Utah

Fix the bill???? Why? The gov gave them a 'blank check'. They don't have to do anything at all. In fact, they keep saying they're doing this to give us extra time for input. That being said and done, the bill stays the same.

I think two things that will make them change it is: If we gather those 100,000 signatures to put it on the ballot. (If that fails, then why might they change it?) And, if we each contact our legislator and tell them to repeal it. Then, bring it up next election year that they didn't if they don't. Follow through.

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