Open government...
Oct 25, 2012 | 1093 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 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


Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.