Monday, March 07, 2011

New Article: Big Anti-HB477 Rally Tomorrow at the Capitol!

We sincerely hope you'll all mark your calenders and plan to attend

Here's an irgent missive we received late this afternoon from our friends at Utahns For Ethical Government. Various anti-HB477 groups will be gathering tomorrow for a noon rally at the State Capitol:

Friends and Supporters,

We urge all of you to attend a RALLY at the CAPITOL tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8th at NOON to oppose the government secrecy embedded in HB 477 (amendments to GRAMA, the Government Records Access and Management Act). A big turnout is needed. (The Tribune announced the rally on p. 1 of today's paper.)

We urge you to send an email message (in your own words) urging the Governor to veto the bill. Go to his comment website at

Here is the message we sent:

Dear Governor Herbert:

UEG urges you to veto HB 477, a bill that severely restricts public access to legislative information. For a Legislature that keeps saying that disclosure and transparency are enough to ensure good ethics, HB 477 is the height of hypocrisy.
1) The bill was rushed through in the final days of the Legislature, and it is unlikely that even all legislators know all that's in the bill.
2) The bill reverses the evidence standards and requires members of the public to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the information should be disclosed. Instead, the government should still be required to demonstrate why the information should not be made public.
3) The bill increases the costs of obtaining documents by allowing indirect and administrative costs to be charged to those seeking the documents, further burdening the right to access public information.
4) The bill provides excessive protection to texting and instant messaging even when they contain important legislative information that the public has a right to access.
In short, this bill is a severe restriction on the public's right to know and reduces the concept of freedom of information to a mere shell of its former self. It deserves a quick veto. Utahns for Ethical Government is a nonpartisan coalition of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and unaffiliated voters who are are committed to meaningful legislative ethics reform.
We sincerely hope you'll all mark your calenders and plan to attend:

Be There!!!


Curmudgeon said...

This is a case, guys, where I think the organizers might have talked to an experienced campaign advance man about timing. Weather forecast for tonight is snow, perhaps significant snow, and warnings about a bad morning commute. Might affect turnout adversely .

RudiZink said...

LOL, Curm. With the excessively short timeline, it's a mite hard to plan around the weather, dontcha think?

Just put the old jalopy in 4wd and BE THERE, OKAY???

And please don't say you've been living in Utah for nine years and still don't have a 4WD.

Curmudgeon said...

Don't have a 4wd.
But I do have Frontrunner.
What bus goes from SL Central Station to the Capital?

Curmudgeon said...

Damnit, Rudi, tomorrow is Mardi Gras day! I'd planned to spend it watching the live parade cam on St. Charles Ave as Rex and then the truck parades rolled by, eating King Cake and jambalaya sluiced down with appropriate libations, with a little Beau Soleil on the CD cranked up almost to neighbor disturbing levels.

And now I'm supposed to slog around instead in the snow and cold outside the capital? On Mardi Gras day?

The things I do for my adopted state....

Curmudgeon said...

PS For anyone not braving the elements in defense of open government and against corruption tomorrow, or for those who make it back in time, here's the link to the parade cam on St. Charles Ave in New Orleans.

I will suspend for tomorrow my continuing campaign to have Utah declare Fat Tuesday a state and public school holiday, as is done in more sensible and tropical climes. Don't want to dilute the message of the rally.

Wednesday AM though, I start again.

Dan S. said...

I emailed my representative, Gage Froerer, regarding HB 477 last Thursday morning. He voted for it anyway, of course. But this evening he emailed me back, and invited me to call him. So I did, left a voicemail, and to his credit, he called back within 15 minutes.

What he said, however, was pretty disturbing. The plan, apparently, is for the governor to go ahead and sign HB 477 but with the amendment that it wouldn't take effect until July 1. Then the legislature would promise to try to work out a compromise with other stakeholders and further GRAMA amendments that might undo some of what HB 477 does. Of course, if this compromise doesn't work out, the full force of HB 477 would take effect mid-year.

I completely failed to get Rep. Froerer to understand how bad that would be. He even said that if the governor vetoes HB 477, he would probably vote to override the veto. Whenever I tried to steer the conversation to one of the specific provisions of HB 477, he went back to talking points on how text messages need to be private and we need to stop all these journalists' "fishing expeditions".

I do think it would help if Rep. Froerer heard from more of his constituents. His contact information is here.

Ray said...

Dan: I too emailed Gage Froerer expressing my disappointment with he and his fellow representatives vote on HB 477 last week. I got no reply from Mr. Froerer. I spent time on Capital Hill last session with the Powder Mtn. issue. I'm not surprised with Froerers attitude...

Ray said...

Two on-line resources to register ones opinion regarding HB 477.

Repeal Utah House Bill 466 on Facebook.

oaboy said...

Froerer's reaction certainly is no surprise. After all, he is no more than a pompous little marionette, a stooge for the real estate interests that control Utah. That became pretty obvious the first time I heard him speak during his first campaign.

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