HB477 – How Will New GRAMA Laws Affect Redistricting?

The Deseret News posted an interesting article yesterday about HB477 Government Records Amendments, which is a bill that will restrict Uthan’s access to some government records (see Legislature Attacks Utah’s Open Records Law).

The Deseret News article brings up the point that with the governor’s signature, the law will go into effect

“…just in time to mask much of the Legislature’s deliberations on redistricting, the drawing of electoral boundaries that takes place every 10 years.”

Could this be the reason the Legislature rammed this bill through near the end of the session, and in less than 48 hours? Redistricting is serious business for legislators, since they are the ones endowed by the Utah Constitution with the rights to draw the lines for the various legislative districts. Redrawing legislative districts involves a lot of political wrangling (some call it gerrymandering), and where the lines fall can make all the difference between reelection or rejection for a politician. It is interesting to contemplate how the process will be affected by a new law which limits public access to legislators’ correspondence. We should not jump to conclusions, but it is an interesting idea to consider and it will be something to keep an eye on as the Legislature wades into the redistricting process.

The article also mentioned the creation of a Repeal Utah House Bill 477 Facebook page, which is worth a visit.

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