Open government...
Oct 25, 2012 | 561 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The intent of the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act (Title 52, chapter 4, Utah Code), commonly known as the Sunshine Law, is that government bodies “take their actions openly; and conduct their deliberations openly.” It also legislates that “all meetings be open to the public,” that they “provide 24 hours’ notice,” and that “detailed minutes [are] to be taken of all meetings.”

The Act applies to a government body of “two or more persons.” The Act seems to require that government decisions not be made without the opportunity for citizen input – that they take place “in the sunshine.”

A notable exception is “chance meetings or social gatherings.” With a county council of three members it takes a vote of only two to set county policy and direction. Are two members traveling in the same car a “social gathering,” or using the restroom at the same time a “chance meeting?” If so, decisions can be made without the opportunity for open discussion or citizen input.

A seven-member council of non-partisan citizen representatives requires a majority of four to pass legislation. It would seem this is a pretty good way to put representative, fair, and transparent power of the government in the hands of the people. A “No” vote on Proposition 1 would continue to support our open and fair form of county government.

—Tom Haraden

Moab

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