Conservative blogger and former Republican State Representative Holly Richardson has been appointed by Governor Gary Herbert to serve on the State Records Committee, which hears appeals when open records requests have been denied. Richardson originally supported House Bill 477, a bill restricting Utah’s GRAMA law, but later voted for its repeal. She says she’s a proponent of open government.
“I think I bring that outside perspective, plus I’ve been in the legislature, and I’m replacing someone who was not only a judge but a former legislator as well. So, I don’t have that background of being a judge, but have been a legislator and have come from somebody who’s been promoting openness and transparency in government from a journalistic blogger point of view,” she says.
The Utah Democratic Party released a statement by Chairman Jim Dabakis calling Richardson’s appointment to the committee “stupefying,” noting that she took part in votes at a September 13th committee meeting before being confirmed to the position by the Utah Senate. Richardson says her participation in the records appeal was a clerical error and will be corrected.
“Until I’m actually officially confirmed by the Utah Senate then I will no longer vote. But this was a clerical oversight; I was told that the confirmation had gone through; the Governor’s Office expected it had gone through, the records committee thought it had gone through, and it just had not gone through, so we will fix that,” she says.
Richardson is expected to be confirmed during an interim session meeting in mid-October.