Politics Up Close: HB 477 and Open Records

(KCPW News) The debate over HB 477 isn’t over, in fact, it has hardly begun. The controversial new law bars access to all text messages, voicemails, and instant messages sent by elected officials, raises fees, and puts the burden of proof on the public to argue why a record should be made available.

Today, we’ll hear from all sides. First, we start with the legislature, as Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins join us to explain why lawmakers feel the legislation is necessary in the first place, and how the process of amending the bill is going to work. Then, we get the citizen perspective. Media attorney Jeff Hunt and Sherilyn Bennion with the Utah League of Women Voters will tell us they feel it’s just a bad bill.

  1. Mike Ridgway

    Help subject HB 477 to a citizen referendum in November. Visit http://www.stop477.org to sign a petition and volunteer to help.

  2. Amy Taylor

    Majority Leader Jenkins does not appear to understand how the technologies he’s discussing function. His language conflates text messaging and Twitter (“do you get to share in my tweets with my wife and my childrens [sic]?”). How can one legislate something one doesn’t even understand? Mr. Jenkins – I’ve searched and can’t seem to find your Twitter feed. Where, pray, is this information you’re trying to protect? For your information, Twitter is public by default and all tweets are being saved in the Library of Congress (there are exceptions for those who lock their feeds but most people do not).

    It is disingenuous for the Representative to pretend that public officials have no right to privacy. The Representative is confusing his lack of understanding of the law with the non-existence thereof.