More than a year after a request by the Utah Democratic Party, the Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel have released more than 14,000 documents relating to the 2011 redistricting process. Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis says the party feels vindicated after paying thousands of dollars in legal fees in an attempt to get the documents released.
“They fought us tooth and nail and I’m proud of Utah democrats that were there to do the battle. Not just for democrats but also for independents, republicans and everybody in the state so they could see how the sausage was made. It’s just fair, it’s just American,” he says.
The Utah Democratic Party filed a lawsuit against the General Counsel in September. This came after the Legislative Records Committee and Appeals Board for Legislative GRAMA requests denied its appeal for the documents to be made free to the public on the grounds that the release of the documents did not benefit the public.
Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart says in lieu of the Democratic Party’s lawsuit, putting the documents online will ultimately save taxpayer’s money.
“We believe that it was in the best interest of the taxpayer to just put them online and make them public, not deliver them specifically to organization that wanted them but to make them public so that anyone could have access to them. Hopefully avoid the extra litigation costs the taxpayers would have to foot the bill for,” she says.
Dabakis says the Democratic Party will drop its lawsuit against the Counsel. A link to the redistricting documents.