By Curt Bramble
Utah State Senator, District 16
There is a fine line to balance between the necessary transparency of doing the people’s business and protecting the personal private lives of those who work for and serve the people. Last year, HB 477 attempted to address those challenges and concerns. This year, after spending the summer working with the GRAMA working group, their recommendations have been incorporated into SB 177 and offer solid solutions to these problems.
Here is what the bill does:
* In an effort to avoid as many appeals and litigation issues as possible, SB 177 establishes the position of a government records Ombudsman to assist in navigating and resolving issues with GRAMA requests.
* SB 177 establishes online training and requires that records offices be required to complete annual online training.
* SB 177 resolves the ambiguity between the statute and the intent language of the Supreme Court “Deseret News” decision.
* SB 177 clarifies protected records provisions relating to attorney client privilege, work product and records prepared for or in anticipation of litigation so that GRAMA cannot be used to circumvent judicial rules of discovery and establish evidentiary standards of release of certain enforcement and litigation records.
* SB 177 removes the ambiguity regarding private communications relating to an individual’s capacity other than that of a government official or that are unrelated to the conduct of the public’s business.
Here are some news articles on the bill:
Victory for GRAMA – The Deseret News
Legislators Learning to Love the Sunshine – The Salt Lake Tribune
Here is an explanation video: