Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Utah Democrats Win Redistricting GRAMA Lawsuit

Judge rules Legislature cannot charge exorbitant fees for records, and it must pay Democratic Party’s $15,000 attorneys fees

Good news for Utahns who favor open and transparent government as the Salt Lake Tribune reports that "after an 18-month standoff with the Utah Legislature over the cost and public release of redistricting documents, the Democratic Party prevailed in state court Tuesday...;" and incidentally clipped the recalcitrant Utah government GOP defendants for an "estimated $15,000" in attorney's fees:
Fox 13 News is all over this story too, with an added video story which we'll embed below:

More from the Salt Lake Tribune:
"The decision fortifies the contention by Democrats and Utah media outlets also party to the lawsuit that the 16,000 pages of redistricting documents — posted online in November after a yearlong fight — should be accessible without exorbitant fees as a matter of public interest."

"His decision spoke loudly," said Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis, a state senator, adding the Legislature cannot dismiss people from the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) process by charging them prohibitive fees.

"If they were playing the kind of tricks they were playing on us, it would put a dagger through the heart of GRAMA," Dabakis said. "The Democratic Party thought it was a priority to put an end to the shenanigans and that’s what happened today."
While we'll join the prevailing Utah Democratic Party plaintiffs in chalking this up as a "victory for Utahns and their right to scrutinize the government," we can't help but note that sadly, as per usual, it's the unwitting Utah taxpayers who'll ultimately pick up the $15,000 tab for our Utah Republican legislative leadership's inexcusable delaying tactics in this matter:

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