Closed Door: Water use rates at public golf courses should stay public

The Utah Transparency Project offers real-time assessments of legislation that could either increase or decrease public access to government records and meetings.

Utah Transparency Project "Locked Down" symbol for legislation that reduces public access to government.

Senate Bill 195 — Golf Course Amendments (Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton).

Sen. McCay’s bill creates a board to study the water use at Utah golf courses, which makes sense. But a provision of his proposed bill would exempt any water usage data provided to the researchers from release under Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act. As it is written, the data provided to the researchers could be considered protected, not just for private courses but for public courses, which are now required to provide that information.

This water use information is vital as state policymakers debate how to best address the state’s water crisis and can point to best conservation practices and influence more efficient water use — but only if the information is available to the public. As it is now written, this bill earns a “Closed Door” from The Utah Transparency Project.