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Bill on 'vexatious' public records requests passes House

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Posted at 11:45 AM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 13:59:57-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill aimed at cracking down on so-called "vexatious" public records requests has passed the House of Representatives.

The House voted 60-13 in favor of House Bill 96, with some Republicans joining Democrats in opposing it. Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, is proposing to begin charging fees for the first 15 minutes of work whenever multiple public records requests are filed within a 10-day period.

The intent of the bill is to go after what are termed "vexatious" requesters. Rep. Johnson told the House floor of one person who single-handedly accounted for 39% of public records requests, filing Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA) requests in rapid fashion.

Some lawmakers have previously criticized news media for filing numerous requests, but Rep. Johnson said news media accounted for roughly 1% of all GRAMA requests. The bill is opposed by the Utah Media Coalition, made up of news media outlets in the state, of which FOX 13 News is a member.

FOX 13 News is told the bill may get tweaked when it gets to the Utah State Senate.