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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: Open records.

Above: "There's a Light"

- Light a candle: Make public records accessible - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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Thomas Jefferson, arguing that ideas should be free to roam about the Earth, noted that he could easily ignite another person’s candle with his own, and lose none of his own light in the process.

This should be the model for the storage and dissemination of public records in Utah. It should not cost the state or any individual a significant amount of money for access to all public records, at any time, for any reason.

The fact that it still makes sense to some in positions of power in Utah that it would cost some $14,000 just to pull and reproduce records associated with the last reapportionment of the state’s congressional districts shows that too many state documents are seen as privileged information that can only be divulged at some absurdly high cost. [Read the rest ...]

Related:

- Lawyer presses West Valley City for Susan Powell police file - Salt Lake Tribune

Legislative attorneys are playing games when it comes to waiving fees for the release of redistricting records in a case that has wide public interest. Their actions show that within the halls of the state Capitol the spirit of HB477, discredited two years ago, lives on. ...

- Thanks for the tantrum - Provo Daily Herald Editorial

... In the end, however, this ridiculous charade by the Democrats may lead to more efficient ways to handle public records requests, save taxpayer dollars and improve openness.

A germ of what appears to be a good idea is being developed by Sen. Curt Bramble of Provo. He is considering whether a great many emails -- documents that obviously deal with the public's business and which contain no private or protected information -- could not be automatically forwarded to a searchable online state database. Any member of the public could search at will without a GRAMA request. ...

Elsewhere:

- Baca should release jail records - Los Angeles Times Editorial

Sheriff Lee Baca has an obligation to tell L.A. County residents whether undocumented immigrants are kept in custody far longer than required and at what cost to taxpayers.

- Idaho Supreme Court is in session and in full public view - Idaho Statesman Editorial

... This week, the state’s highest court began streaming oral arguments on the Internet.

Good for the Idaho Supreme Court — a group that has never been an ivory tower bunch. ...

Barely related. But too good to ignore:

- Skinny-dipping not the fact we wanted to find - Prescott (Ariz.) Daily Courier Editorial



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