Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signs bills promoting government transparency
Gov. Gary Herbert signed two of Sen. Deidre Henderson's bills that aim to make more public information accessible.
SB77 requires public bodies to post draft meeting minutes on the state's Public Meeting Notice website within 30 days of a meeting, and an audio recording of a meeting within three days of the meeting. Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal, tried to amend the bill to exempt smaller communities, whom he claimed would view the posting requirement as a hardship, but that change was rejected.
SB283 moves the Utah Transparency Advisory Board from the Department of Finance to the Department of Administrative Services, and directs it to look at ways to make more public records accessible through the Internet. The board already has made financial information, such as salaries, available through the state's Transparency website.
The Utah Media Coalition, which includes The Salt Lake Tribune, gave the bill a "pale light" rating due to the requirement that its recommendations be approved by the Legislature. That provision, the coalition noted, could have a chilling effect on the recommendations.