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Powerful legislator asks for repeal of HB 477

In a release on Wednesday evening, Rep. Carl Wimmer (R) West Jordan asked in a written statement that the leadership of his party and the governor call a special session to repeal HB 477.

The bill was passed two weeks ago in a period of 72 hours over the opposition of everyone who spoke against it. Since that time a number of legislators have said either publicly or privately that they thought the bill was a mistake.

Here is the entire press release from Wimmer.

Transparency and accountability are the fundamentals of good government and should never be sacrificed, even for the reasons of efficiency. Unfortunately, as state officials we lost sight of these principles in the last legislative session.

I commend legislative leadership- especially Speaker Becky Lockhart - on the way they conducted themselves in regards to the Legislative body as a whole. At no time was anyone coerced, intimidated or forced to vote against their principles; recent comments made to the contrary are simply disingenuous and wrong.

With that being said, it was a mistake for the legislature, including me, to pass HB 477. It was a mistake for the Governor to sign the bill into law. I am grateful I had the opportunity to express my opposition and was able to vote against the bill after it was brought back before final passage. As we all know, Gov. Herbert sent back HB 477 in order to extend the effective date to July 1, 2011. Yet, HB 477 remains a flawed piece of legislation, and should not be the impetus for a conversation in revising GRAMA.

GRAMA has enhanced the relationship between the citizens and the state government. In addition to elections, GRAMA provides an important check and balance. HB 477 is the wholesale slaughter of this important benefit to the public.

Therefore, I hereby request of Legislative Leadership, my legislative colleagues, and Gov. Herbert to join with me to request a special session to repeal HB 477.

I reaffirm that HB 477 was a mistake. I truly believe what is public should remain public, and what is private should remain private. We must find a careful balance between the 1st amendment freedom of the press, and the 4th amendment right to privacy. Anything that is conducted in public, or for the public, or that impacts the public-whether on phones, computers or through any technology- should be made available to the public.

Rumors that he was going to release such a request surfaced last night and was brought to light during text and email conversations through the early morning hours.

What the result will be of this request remains to be seen. The new law that was passed is scheduled to take affect on July 1, 2011.

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