Chump Change 

Also: Craig Frank, GRAMA Watch

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Chump Change
Nevermind if you’ve won awards and accolades—change for the sake of change must be good, huh? That’s what’s happened to the Utah Legislature’s Website. Apparently, the Legislature decided to outsource some part of the Website to a company called Granicus. We don’t know why except that outsourcing/privatizing seems to be a basic Republican tenet. Just last year, NPR opined about the worthiness of the Website and how citizens could use it with ease. Legislative trainings for various lobby groups always included the “award-winning” Website. It used to be there was a monthly calendar from which you could access meetings, agendas and streams. Now, you get to see one day at a time. No longer are there pending notices on streamed events, and all the House e-mail addresses have changed. Awards? The Website gets the same one as legislators, who make laws for the sake of making laws.

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Frankenstein’s Return
Hello again, Craig Frank. We now know that Holly (on the Hill) Richardson was just a placeholder who values Tweeting and Facebook over legislative responsibility. Well, maybe she does think former Sen. Dan Liljenquist is such a great guy that she should quit the Legislature to work on his campaign against Sen. Orrin Hatch. But, let’s face it, Rep. Frank, R-Cedar Hills, needs a real job. After he was ousted from the House because of a redistricting snafu, he toyed with a lawsuit, then with running for governor. Now, he’s talking about running for the state Senate since he’ll have to run for something when this interim term ends. He was returned to the House by delegates after Richardson resigned.

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Turn Up the Lights
GRAMA Watch could be just the ticket for a public interested in vital government transparency. The Utah Media Coalition says it’s creating GRAMA Watch for the 2012 legislative session. This is, of course, in response to the public outcry in 2011 over House Bill 477, which attempted to clamp down on records access. Theoretically, GRAMA Watch will rank legislation or legislative actions that could affect open government. Rankings will be marked by bright lights, pale lights or lights out. Unfortunately, GRAMA Watch isn’t up and running yet, and will ostensibly roll out on a case-by-case basis. After the HB477 fiasco, a GRAMA committee submitted recommendations to the governor and the Legislature, but nothing has materialized. In our book, that’s a bright light for GRAMA.

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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