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Utah's Right to Know
Donald Meyers
Donald W. Meyers writes about open-government issues for The Salt Lake Tribune. He is also the site manager of utahsright.com, the Tribune's online database of public records. He is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists' National Freedom of Information Committee and sits on the board of directors of the Utah Foundation for Open Government.
Updated on Sep 12, 2013 04:53PM

Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee found themselves on opposite sides of whether to grant journalists a qualified right to refuse to testify or hand over notes.

Updated on Sep 11, 2013 03:12PM

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is following the State Records Committee’s recommendation and nominating Marie Cornwall as the committee’s second public member.

Updated on Sep 5, 2013 07:44PM

Sen. Mike Lee, who is threatening to shut down the federal government in order to kill Obamacare, might not be adverse to signing off on a Democrat’s idea.

Updated on Sep 5, 2013 08:01AM

Linda Petersen, president of the Utah Foundation for Open Government, recently participated in a debate over censorship by government public information officers.

Updated on Aug 22, 2013 11:02AM

The Utah Transparency Advisory Board added two new members Monday.

The board unanimously voted to add Phillip Windley and Jason Williams as public...

Updated on Aug 16, 2013 01:09PM

Worried about that guy who’s dating your daughter?

I”ve updated the criminal charges and divorces databases on Utah’s Right, with data from Jan. 1...

Updated on Aug 16, 2013 01:11PM

I received an email the other day from someone who wanted to let me know the Orem salary database needed updating.

“Please update the City of Orem...

Updated on Aug 22, 2013 10:48AM

Members of the Utah State Transparency Advisory Board are sifting through five applications for the two newly created public seats on the board.


Updated on Jul 31, 2013 10:25PM

The Senate Judiciary Committee will decide Thursday whether reporters should be able to keep sources confidential without having to go to jail.


Updated on Jul 23, 2013 02:17PM

Filling a vacancy on the State Records Committee wasn’t on the Utah State Legislature’s agenda this past week.

While Gov. Gary Herbert sent recomm...

Updated on Jul 23, 2013 02:38PM

While pledging transparency, the Utah Legislature voted to place parts of its investigation into Attorney General John Swallow behind a cloak of secrecy.

Updated on Jul 11, 2013 03:14PM

The Society of Professional Journalists and its Utah chapter are not the only groups using “awards” to spotlight agencies that withhold information from the public.

Updated on Jul 10, 2013 02:41PM

Wednesday was supposed to be Sen. Deidre Henderson’s first meeting with the Utah Transparency Advisory Board.

But Henderson, a Spanish Fork Republ...

Updated on Jun 26, 2013 06:59PM

Louisiana recently made Utah’s restriction on access to concealed-carry permit information look benign by comparison.

The Reporters ...

Updated on Jun 25, 2013 06:24PM

Gov. Gary Herbert expects to nominate someone to fill the newly created public-member’s seat on the State Records Committee by next week.

Nate McD...

Updated on Jun 21, 2013 03:13PM

Betsy Ross, former chairwoman of the State Records Committee was honored for her 18 years of advocating for open government.

The Utah Headliners C...

Updated on Jun 15, 2013 10:07AM

Durango, Colo., officials are trying to close what they see as a public-records loophole that is costing them money.

The Durango Herald reports th...

Updated on Jun 12, 2013 02:22PM

A Sandy man wants the State Records Committee to help him find out who accused him of illegal burning.

Larry Hartlerode had filed a request under ...

Updated on Jun 7, 2013 07:10PM

This may sound familiar to Utahns: A bill drastically changing government-records laws is secretly drafted and rushed through with little time for public comment.

Updated on May 28, 2013 03:44PM

If you find pictures purporting to be those of Osama bin Laden’s body after he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs, they’re most likely frauds.

The gove...

Updated on May 23, 2013 03:25PM

The owner of a mug-shot website wants a judge to decide on whether Salt Lake County can invoke copyright to withhold booking photos.

As Mike Gorre...

Updated on May 15, 2013 02:22PM

The Associated Press reports that lawyers for the teen accused of killing a soccer referee want the case closed.

The lawyers requested the order a...

Updated on May 13, 2013 08:57PM

Do you have an interest in open government? The Utah State Records Committee is looking for you.

The committee is seeking applications from people...

Updated on May 9, 2013 03:40PM

Just as Utah officials are looking for ways to restrict access to mug shots, New Jersey is going in the opposite direction.

The Daily Record of Pa...

Updated on May 8, 2013 02:37PM

While Amy Meyer nearly became the first Utahn to be prosecuted for taking pictures of an “agricultural operation”, her case is a reminder that other state have — or are consid...

Updated on May 6, 2013 07:13PM

A 3rd District Court judge’s ruling in an open-records case does more than force the Utah Legislature pay $15,000 in attorney’s fees.

Judge L.A. D...

Updated on May 3, 2013 05:08PM

Since 2009, Utahns have been able to log on to a state website and see how much public employees are paid, as well as what agencies and governments were spending.

Updated on Apr 29, 2013 05:57PM

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision announced Monday, stated that there is no constitutional right for people to obtain public records from states they don’t live ...

Updated on Apr 26, 2013 06:08PM

Rosemary Cundiff, the state’s records ombudsman, recently posted an explanation of what fees can be charged under the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA)...

Updated on Apr 26, 2013 04:54PM

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund ranked Utah ninth in the nation for transparency on financial matters.

The group gave Utah ...

Updated on Apr 24, 2013 08:48PM

A Farmington group is giving the Utah Department of Transportation bad grades when it comes to transparency.

As Lee Davidson reported, a UDOT proj...

Updated on Apr 17, 2013 08:47PM

Two years after a gunman shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head, documents about his case remain under government seal.

The Associated Press rep...

Updated on Apr 16, 2013 08:55PM

While Utah’s liquor laws sometimes leave people shaking their heads, it was neighboring Idaho that won recognition for attempting to ban a vodka made in Ogden.

Updated on Apr 23, 2013 09:39PM

In the latest round in the fight against mug-shot websites, Salt Lake County has copied an idea from the recording industry.

As The Salt Lake Trib...

Updated on Apr 10, 2013 08:37PM

If the 2011 Utah State Legislature, which railroaded HB477 through, was regarded as the worst for access to public records, 2013 was a significant improvement.

Updated on Apr 5, 2013 07:09PM

Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the University of Maryland’s journalism school, recently called for more incentives for government employees to hand over public documents.

Updated on Apr 2, 2013 07:05PM

Yesterday, Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill that forces people who want copies of mugshots to swear that they won’t post it on websites that charge to remove them.


Updated on Apr 1, 2013 03:43PM

As of Monday, more Utahns will be able to get a look at what happens in Utah’s trial courts.

That is when new rules went into effect...

Updated on Apr 1, 2013 01:59PM

Frequently, I get requests from people who want information deleted from the Utah’s Right to Know website.

Sometimes, it’s someone w...

Updated on Mar 28, 2013 05:23PM

One would expect an agency created to ensure police officers are accountable would be the model of transparency.

But, as The Salt La...

Updated on Mar 26, 2013 02:29PM

Gov. Gary Herbert signed two of Sen. Deidre Henderson’s bills that aim to make more public information accessible.

SB77 requires pub...

Updated on Mar 25, 2013 04:53PM

Oklahoma State University’s decision to not tell police or students about a serial sex offender on campus earned it the national Society of Professional Journalists’ (S...

Updated on Mar 21, 2013 04:59PM

Know someone who had done exemplary work promoting the cause of open government? Or how about a government agency or official who’s gone well out of their way at keepin...

Updated on Mar 19, 2013 03:04PM

For Alfonso Moya-Breton, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) may be his ticket to getting out of prison sooner.

As The Sal...

Updated on Mar 14, 2013 01:46PM

Since October 2008, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing has disciplined 1,976 contractors, pharmacists, nurses, physicians and other licensed p...

Updated on Mar 12, 2013 02:50PM

When President Barack Obama took office, open-government advocates were hopeful his administration would be more transparent than his predecessor’s.

Updated on Apr 2, 2013 07:14PM

Rep. Paul Ray doesn’t see HB408 as restricting access to jail booking photos, but how people use the mug shots.

But others see it as a dangerous f...

Updated on Mar 7, 2013 03:17PM

Rep. Brian King attempted to address one of the issues that the GRAMA Working Group failed to in the wake of the HB477 debacle of 2011.

The Salt L...

Updated on Mar 19, 2013 02:24PM

In Utah, when both the state Republican and Democratic parties line up against a bill, it’s a bad omen.

That’s what happened with Rep. Brian Green...

Updated on Mar 4, 2013 02:24PM

Orem’s decision to pump $24 million into the troubled UTOPIA fiber-optic network is gaining attention, but not because of the amount of money.


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