Connect with us

Local News

Utah officials want to hide their calendars from the public



Salt Lake City, Utah – A bill to make all elected officials’ calendars secret by exempting them from Utah’s public records law is making its way through the Legislature, days before media attorneys and the Utah attorney general’s office are scheduled to argue before a judge about whether Attorney General Sean Reyes’ official calendar should be made public.

Under Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act, Sen. Curt Bramble’s measure, SB240, would specifically declare any daily calendar—whether it that of a state, county, or local government employee, or any elected figure, ranging from the governor to a city recorder—to be off-limits. The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved the bill during a hearing on Tuesday night, after it was made public last week. As a result, the bill will now be considered by the whole Senate.

“The longstanding practice is that daily calendars are not a record that has to be disclosed,” the Provo Republican told the committee. “For those who believe we’re somehow changing the law, I would proffer to the committee this is clarifying what the longstanding practice and interpretation of the law has been.”

Since the debacle involving former Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow more than ten years ago, official calendars have been ruled vulnerable to GRAMA regularly.

“Public officials do the public’s business, and their daily calendars are the most basic record of how and whether they are doing their jobs,” said Dave Reymann, an attorney for the Utah Media Coalition. “Making all daily calendars secret, as this bill would do, means the government would be less transparent and less accountable to the people these officials are supposed to serve.”

The records committee read the statute’s present wording, which states that a “daily calendar or other personal note” is exempt from the records law, to suggest that private entries on calendars may be withheld. Bramble’s plan would exempt all daily calendars, whether they reflect official or personal meetings, by separating the relevant part before the word “or.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *