Opinion: Legislature to be commended for seeking more improvements on state’s exemplary open-records laws

In the typical legislative session, a lot of important work is quietly undertaken outside the glare of attention granted to those high-profile and politically charged issues that grab the lion’s share of news coverage. Such is the case with some meaningful changes to Utah’s records laws that will encourage greater government transparency.

The state’s Government Records and Management Act (GRAMA) has been considered something of a model for open records laws across the country because of its disposition toward making the vast majority of records open and accessible. That posture will be further enhanced by passage of SB157, sponsored by Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo. Among other things, the measure would specifically make records of complaints against telemarketing businesses filed with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection open to the public.

Controversy over how those records are classified arose in the context of the scandal involving former Utah attorneys general Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow, who have been accused of personal entanglements with people tied to allegations of telemarketing fraud. Sen. Bramble’s measure sets forth a mechanism for the public to screen records about such businesses while also respecting the privacy rights of individuals who are the target of consumer complaints. Continue>>>