Discussion on the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and the Government

6 pages

Chapter 4 discussed some of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and the Government in the Sunshine Act.  These federal laws are applicable to federal agencies.  Next, we will consider how the State of Utah addresses these issues.  Every state will have differences.  However, it is helpful to understand the ways in which state law may differ from federal law.  The assigned book for this course does not provide any helpful information for this module.  We will return to the book next week.

Please let me know if you have any questions or have difficulty finding the answers.

GRAMA

The Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA) is found in Title 63G, Chapter 2 of the Utah Code.  Read GRAMA, answer the following questions, and cite the applicable provisions.  I do not expect long responses to these questions.  Provide enough information to adequately answer the question.  (Here are some helpful links: https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title63G/Chapter2/63G-2.html (Links to an external site.) / https://archives.utah.gov/rim/CSS/grama-essentials.html (Links to an external site.)  )

1) GRAMA classifies records as public, private, protected and controlled.  How does one know how to classify a specific record?

2) What is the significance of U.C.A . § 63G-2-201(2)?

3) GRAMA is applicable to a “governmental entity”.  Find the definition of this phrase and summarize it.

4) Can a GRAMA request be made verbally? (Hint – U.C.A. § 63G-2-204(1)(a))

5) What must a GRAMA request include?

6) How long does a “governmental entity” have to respond to a request for a record?  What happens if the government entity fails to respond within the allotted time period?

7) May a government entity require payment for providing a record?  If so, how is the amount to be determined?

8) What are the options to appeal the denial of a GRAMA request?

9) What are the penalties for an intentional violation of GRAMA?

10) Imagine, you are employed by a governmental entity in Utah.  One of your duties is to respond to GRAMA requests.  You have been assigned to respond to a particular request in which the requestor is seeking data and statistics which the governmental entity does not keep, but could easily put together.  What is the governmental entity required to do in response to this request?

11) Imagine, you are employed by a governmental entity in Utah.  One of your duties is to respond to GRAMA requests.  You have been assigned to respond to a particular request which seeks “any and all documents related to investigations of misconduct” for a specific employee.  You learn this employee has been the subject of three internal investigations.  Two have found the employee has done something wrong, for which the employee was subject to disciplinary action.  Releasing these records will likely be very embarrassing for a number of public employees.  One investigation found there was not enough evidence to support a finding of wrongdoing and the employee was not disciplined.  How would you handle this request?

Open Meetings

The Open and Public Meetings Act is found in Title 52, Chapter 4 of the Utah Code.  Read this chapter in the Utah Code, answer the following questions, and cite the applicable provisions.  I do not expect long answers.  (https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title52/Chapter4/52-4.html (Links to an external site.))

12) As is often the case when reading the law, specific words and phrases have specific meanings.  What is a “meeting” for purposes of the Open and Public Meetings Act?  What does the law specifically exclude from the definition of a “meeting”.

13) What are the purposes for which a public meeting may be closed?

14) Which entities are required to comply with the Open and Public Meeting Act?

15) Does the law require a closed meeting to be recorded?  Does the law require written minutes to be kept during a closed meeting?   Are the recordings and written minutes public records under GRAMA?

16) What is the penalty for a knowing and intentional violation of the Open and Public Meeting Act?

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