The Utah Senate confirmed former state legislator and prominent blogger and Republican activist Holly Richardson to a position on the State Records Committee, which rules on challenges to open records requests from the public and press.
The unanimous confirmation came on a voice vote Wednesday.
Richardson’s nomination drew some opposition from the Alliance for a Better Utah, a liberal-leaning group that called for a public hearing on Richardson’s selection.
As a member of the state House, Richardson was an outspoken supporter of HB477, a bill passed late in the 2010 session which rewrote portions of the state open records law, restricting access to things like text messages and some other records.
She later voted to repeal the bill, acknowledging flaws in the process, and served on a task force appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert to study Utah’s records laws.
Due to an oversight, Richardson voted on records appeals in September, before she had been confirmed, but her votes did not decide any of the appeals the committee heard and were later nullified.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis blasted Herbert’s selection of Richardson.
“In an ultimate act of cynicism, the governor appoints the fairy godmother of HB477 to be the judge of what GRAMA requests are approved or denied, and the Senate rams the confirmation through without public hearing?” Dabakis said.
The Alliance issued a statement expressing disappointment in the Senate’s decision to confirm the appointment without a hearing but expressing hope that Richardson “ will be a faithful defender of the public’s right to information.”