Utah House Republicans support repeal of HB 477

A majority of Republicans in the Utah House of Representatives have told Governor Gary Herbert they will support a repeal of House Bill 477, while unanimously supporting a process to address what they feel continue to be serious issues with the law.

“Our form of government relies on the public having confidence in the process. Even with the delayed implementation that we put into the bill during the legislative session, we feel a repeal confirms that we are serious about listening to the citizens of Utah and restoring their faith in the process,” said Speaker Becky Lockhart.

But there must also be good faith participation from all the stakeholders including old and new media and the public. Lawmakers have heard from numerous constituents who have voiced concerns about aspects of HB 477. On Monday, House Republicans met to discuss the issue and agreed that a repeal is in the public’s best interest.

“We’re still concerned about how our open records law impacts the taxpayers both in their pocketbook and their privacy, but we think this is a better way to move forward to address those concerns,” said Majority Leader Brad Dee.

Repealing the bill will allow everyone involved to take a step back and re-examine the open records law more clearly. House Republicans will look to the working group being assembled to bring Utah’s open records law into the 21st century and address an increasing and concerning burden on taxpayers.

“Lawmakers, their constituents and the media have all agreed that there are aspects of our open records law that need to be given a long, hard look. The cost of putting together records requests have soared as digital communications have pervaded every aspect of our lives, the implications of the costs and impacts to the taxpayer must be examined,” Lockhart said.