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This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

There is something about sunshine that simply feels good. It’s why most people prefer the light, brightness and soothing warmth that come with sunshine as opposed to clouds, fog and darkness.

Sunshine, too, plays an essential role in the democratic process. For a society to be truly free, government cannot be allowed to do the people’s business in the dark, away from public scrutiny. It is why members of a newly designated legislative task force should not tinker too much with Utah’s GRAMA law – that’s the Government Records Access and Management Act.

When passed in 1991, Utah’s GRAMA set a national standard for sunshine in government. It was based on the presumption that all government records were open and it established procedures for accessing public information. Mostly GRAMA has worked well, yet there are those in public service who seem to prefer the misguided convenience of secrecy.

So as task force members revisit GRAMA in coming months, KSL urges caution when it comes to recommending changes. A few wise updates may, indeed, be in order to deal with a proliferation of electronic records and to address national security concerns. But the basic presumption of openness must be preserved. Freedom loving people are not served properly when sunshine in government becomes clouded by the debilitating darkness of secrecy.

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