He will be revealed as a political hack who is more concerned about preserving his own viability within the radical fringes that control the Republican nominating process in this state than he is about doing the people's business in the light of day.
In barely 48 hours, the GOP majority in the Utah Legislature announced, pretended to debate and passed a piece of legislation with the clear intent of gutting what was, for the past 20 years, a model law that assured the media and the people reasonable access to the public records that they own.
Legislative leaders bluntly admitted that their haste was intended to avoid public scrutiny and to dodge any rush of open-records requests that might come if people knew what they were up to.
HB477 would take Utah in exactly the wrong direction. No other state is even considering such action, which would only strengthen Utah's unwelcome reputation as a backwater state, governed by cronies and cliques.
Under the bogus cover of protecting the privacy of individuals who communicate with their representatives, HB477 would carve out exemptions in the Government Records Access and Management Act GRAMA. Most of those exemptions are designed to cloak the Legislature's own doings. It would also allow state and local government agencies to charge inflated fees and impose unreasonable delays, designed to frustrate all but the most determined and well-funded seekers of the truth.
Herbert is known to be uncomfortable with this bill, but fears that a veto could help trigger a challenge from the right when he seeks a new term in 2012.
We urge the governor to rise above politics, to act as the statesman voters elected him to be, and to veto this breathtakingly arrogant assault on the people's right to know.