Saturday, March 5, 2011

HB 477: Tastes Like Tyranny

Posted By on March 5, 2011, 5:31 PM

Remember this well as an example of 21st-century tyranny: House Bill 477. It happened right before our eyes at the Utah Legislature. All while many good people sat by and did nothing or simply said, "No comment." ---

The bill was introduced on March 2 in the Utah House and two days later, it passed the Utah Senate. After that, it was lobbed to the governor’s desk with the expectation he will rubber-stamp it over the weekend.

For a bill to move with this much momentum, it must be about motherhood or apple pie, or perhaps an approaching apocalyptic danger-- a no-brainer. Nothing of complexity should move this quickly without debate or input from the people.

And yet, the bill is of tremendous substance. It actually will begin to starve a vital public right, the right to know what government employees and elected officials are up to. It’s a bill that restricts public access to government records, one that will blind citizens to the deals made by public officials via smart phone and electronic messages. This is, of course, where all the deal-making will go once there is a “protected” space to do so.

For detailed analysis as to why this bill is so wrong-headed, read Jesse Fruhwirth’s blog here.

Those who work on the public’s dime and who spend the public’s dime should not get a hall pass, ever. So remember these folks come election time (or, hell, even before--recall petitions would not be out of order). Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, pictured to the right, sponsored this bill. Those voting "yes" in the House are here. Those voting "yes" in the Senate are here.

Thanks to them, we can all know the taste of tyranny, too bitter to swallow.

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Jerre Wroble

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