HB477 passed in about as much time as it took Charlie Sheen to break the Guinness Book of World Records for most followers on Twitter in the least amount of time — and before the public knew what hit them, they just got a heaping load of Sheen-style nuttiness in the Utah legislature.
HB477 is a borderline crazy bill — if you believe in open democracy, anyway. I cannot figure out why people in both mainstream parties or anybody of any political ideology for that matter is not completely outraged by this bill. I think we can all agree that transparency in government is an essential part of democracy, maybe a few national security issues aside.
The bill can be summed up like this: it restricts public access to government records. It paves the way for corruption and conflict of interest. In other words, it gives Utah legislators a way to communicate with each other and with rogue power players in secret. It vaguely allows the Utah government to charge an unrestricted amount of money for access to their records, putting the burden on the public and on the media (rather than on the government) to disclose information about the Utah legislature as they see fit.