It’s a fair question. Because while the media is stirring a tempest, without public support, it will never get outside of the teapot.
When the bill changing Utah’s decades old GRAMA law was proposed in the closing days of the Utah Legislative session, the press went crazy. Bloggers went crazy (not all…some were just extensive). Radio hosts (cough–Doug Wright-cough) went crazy. We saw public protests, editorials written to and by the newspapers, and a referendum petition. (And yes, the law did fly through the Legislature at far higher than normal speed.)
The Utah Legislature listened, and the Governor listened. Governor Herbert reversed himself (he had signed HB477, and now he wants it repealed), several legislators admitted it was a bad choice and that they will support repeal, and an official working group was formed to reevaluate the law. Finally, tomorrow, at the call of Governor Herbert, the Legislature will meet to consider the law.
But does the public care that much?
I ran into a buddy of mine who was up on the Hill for the official Working Group, in a staffing capacity. When I asked him how it went, the most notable thing to him was the lack of the public’s presence. Sure, there were all sorts of media types, reporters, and camera crews, but the public was noticeably absent. Further, he noted, out of a state of over 2 million, the live stream only had, at max, 70 people logged on to watch and listen to the proceedings.
Does the public care?
I believe they do, even if they couldn’t all drop what they were doing to watch or drive up Capitol Hill. However, we, the public, could do a better job of making our voice heard.
Do you care?
You should. The transparency of government is important for our democracy (or republic, as it were). The Working Group has identified 36 issues/questions about HB477 that need to be addressed in the law, posted them online here, and asked for your input. You can listen to the audio of the discussion at the first meeting here.
So do something. Speak up.
- Utah Legislature Watch: “Lawyers should be good lobbyists…” (lawafterthebar.wordpress.com)
- GRAMA’s first working group (hollyonthehill.wordpress.com)
- HB477 Working Group Announced (kvnuforthepeople.com)
- Good Sign? HB477 Working Group Formed in Utah… (theartofaccess.com)
- Earth Moves, Dog Bites Man…Utah Guv Says HB477 Will Be Repealed! (theartofaccess.com)