Dear Voter and Constituent,
I continue to be amazed at how “out of touch” certain elected officials are with their constituents. Many promise transparency and accountability when seeking office or re-election to attract voters to their campaigns. Then, once elected, they discount, even demonize, those same voters who helped get them elected and who help pay their salaries.
HB96 is a great example. https://le.utah.gov/~2022/bills/static/HB0096.html
Utah allows ordinary citizens to place GRAMA (Government Records Access and Management Act) requests with government officials to get documents so they can review the inner workings of government and make sure that the public’s interests are respected and the laws are being followed.
The County Clerks in our state have recently seen an uptick in GRAMA requests from citizens and voters who are interested in how our Clerks are running our election systems. Certain Clerks have complained that citizens are making requests that are overly broad and unnecessarily burdensome. Some County Clerks have gone to the extreme, charging citizens thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars to obtain access to their own government’s documents.
HB96 Government Records Fee Amendments
Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to work with citizens, certain County Clerks approached the State Legislature and requested legislation to make it harder and more expensive for regular citizens to request information. The result is HB96.
Rather than reaching out to citizens who seek information, walking them through Utah's Open Records Portal (https://openrecords.utah.gov/), and showing these voters how to avoid large fees, certain County Clerks made it more difficult, more cumbersome, and more frustrating with this new legislation.
To add insult to injury, these new restrictions DO NOT apply to the establishment media, but they DO apply to bloggers, podcasters, and those independents who report news on social media and elsewhere.
What we can do
My campaign for Salt Lake County Clerk is about increasing the transparency and security of our election system, not throwing obstacles in the way of accountability. It is essential that we elect individuals who embrace questions, even the difficult ones.
During this election season, ask candidates how they will handle your GRAMA requests.
As your County Clerk, I will exercise maximum discretion to provide free or low cost GRAMA requests to the citizens of Utah. My office also will work with you to understand what you are seeking, so that through your requests, you get the information you need and avoid large fees.
Please send any questions or comments on this subject to me at email@example.com. I look forward to your input.
See "Who will Save Democracy"