A survey conducted for the Utah Press Association showed public support for notices by a third party and the public is willing to expend public money to continue third-party notice. UPA publishers should make it a point to discuss the talking points with their legislators. A presentation was distributed to UPA members. If you need a copy contact Joel Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-362-4298. You can find contact information for House members here http://www.utah.gov/house/representatives.html and senators here http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/roster.aspx.
UPA has also been dealing with an issue regarding delinquent tax notices. The change in the legal notice statute also implies that counties must post some kind of notice on the utahlegals.com. Because of the ambiguity in the law including that no charge can be made until 2012, UPA has done this without charge, however, UPA should seek to require some paid posting in future years.
At this point, there is no prefiled bills that deal with public notice, legal notice and newspaper sales tax issues. However, records and meetings are in the sights of legislators. If legislators have their way, information about commuters who sign up to use the High Occupancy Vehicle lane will be off limits to the public, penalties for misusing drivers license date would be beefed up, and an obscure board that governs labor activities will be able to conduct much of its business in secret. That’s just what’s in a few of the pre-filed bills that would impact open government in the state of Utah. Here’s a quick rundown:
- SB11, sponsored by Sen. Karen Mayne, would give Worker Classification Coordinated Enforcement Council ability to close meetings dealing with investigations, information that would “deprive people of a fair trial,” disclose sources, disclose audit techniques or discuss any record that is off-limits under GRAMA could also be discussed in closed session.
- HB26, sponsored by Rep. Julie Fisher, would protect information of anyone signing up to use the HOV lanes on I-15.
- HB34, also sponsored by Rep. Julie Fisher, spells out how and when settlement agreements by UDOT would be public information. This comes on the heels of the now famous UDOT settlement.
- HB28, sponsored by Rep. Richard Greenwood, would make it a Class B misdemeanor for misusing drivers license data. This comes on the heels of release of “the list” of so-called illegal immigrants.
- HJR10, sponsored by Rep. Ronda Menlove, would allow committees of the legislature to meet electronically as long as there is an anchor location where the public can view actions. Rep. Brad Daw is also sponsoring a bill related to electronic meetings. This matches a law that has been on the books for several years.
- Rep. Kraig Powell is sponsoring a bill that would address “communications in public meetings” as well as how to fill vacancies on public bodies between elections.
- Other bills to watch: Fatality Review Amendments and Sex Offender Registry Amendments. In the 2010 session, a bill passed that allows the child fatality review to be held in a closed session of the legislature.