As Utah lawmakers argued why they needed the now-repealed HB477 to shield more records from public release, leaders repeatedly said their staffers had been swamped by records requests in 2010 and spent more than 400 hours filling them.
But an open-records request from The Salt Lake Tribune shows the Legislature can produce no records to substantiate that claim, and attorneys now say it was an estimate. Related records that do exist suggest that the estimate may have been high.
Now we see why Utah legislators are so quick to want to change Utah's open records laws. The Salt Lake Tribune did an excellent job of using open records requests to show that legislators were using wildly inflated numbers to justify their claims that the Government Records Access and Management Act needed to be changed.
It should be clear by now, politicians have never met privacy legislation they didn't like.They are more than willing to cloud transparency through diluting disclosure laws or banning access to information outright, even if it means fudging the numbers a bit.