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Senate president says Friday special session is too soon

By | Posted - Mar. 22, 2011 at 8:53 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups says Friday is too soon to hold a special session of the Utah Legislature.

After a wave of public outcry, Gov. Gary Herbert Monday called the special session to repeal the controversial HB477 which would restrict access to government records.

Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, told the Deseret News, "(The governor) talks about process. This is not process. There's no reason to rush this like that."

He also says meeting Friday would be too expensive. He says it will cost $30,000 to convene the Legislature on Friday because all lawmakers would not already be in town.

Monday Herbert said HB477 needs to be "repealed and replaced" after the measure led to what he termed "a loss of public confidence." House Republicans met behind closed doors Monday and then said they planned to repeal the bill in the special session.

Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, said, "The consensus of the body was that we definitely needed to make some changes. And that we wouldn't accept anything that didn't have some changes that needed to be made."

House Speaker Becky Lockhart said, "We wanted to give the public an opportunity to be more involved in the process. We understood their frustrations."

Late Monday, Waddoups said Friday is too soon to meet. He said the 25-person working group that's supposed to come up with recommended changes for the Government Records Access and Management Act meets for the first time Wednesday. Waddoups contends that body needs more time to figure things out.

Waddoups says a replacement bill should surface before a special session is called. He prefers a special session on an interim day in April or May, which he says would also cut back on the cost.

Written with contributions from Andrew Adams.

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