Press Release: Virtual public comment during special session not actually public

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2020

Salt Lake City, UT – In response to the announcement of the first Special Session for the Utah Legislature to be carried out entirely online, Lauren Simpson, policy director for Alliance for a Better Utah, made the following statement:

“While we appreciate how many moving pieces there are to make a digital legislative session work, we are concerned that public comments on bills will not actually be public. The current proposal allows for individuals and organizations to submit comments on individual bills, which will not be visible to the general public. This is a violation of the spirit of transparency in government, and possibly a violation of Utah’s Open Meetings Act. Utahns deserve full insight on how these bills are being shaped and influenced–especially in the absence of committee hearings. We hope legislative leadership will consider remedying this transparency issue by making all submitted comments visible to the public.

“The historic nature of this special session is not lost on us. We are very proud that Utah is among the states leading out by holding a legislative session online.” 

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Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.

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