State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2020-53
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
BRADY EAMES, Petitioner, v.
UTAH LEAGUE OF CITIES AND TOWNS. Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 20-53
By this appeal, Petitioners, Brady Eames, seeks access to records allegedly held by Respondent, the Utah League of Cities and Towns.
Mr. Eames submitted on May 29, 2020 a request for records pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”). Mr. Eames requested, “[a]ny and all documentation of any rules of order and procedure with respect to the open and public meetings convened by the [Respondent’s] Board of Directors or any other public body of [Respondent].”
Respondent denied the appeal pursuant to Utah Code §§ 63G-2-201(1)(b)(i) and -201(8)(d) based on a previous request from December 12, 2019. Mr. Eames appealed the denial to Executive Director Cameron Diehl specifying that he wanted a copy of “Robert’s Rules of Order” which is mentioned in Respondent’s Constitution as governing all meetings held by Respondent unless otherwise specified. Respondent denied the appeal and thereafter Mr. Onysko filed his appeal with the State Records Committee (“Committee”).
On October 8, 2020, the Committee held a hearing during which the parties were allowed to participate electronically and present their arguments. After carefully considering the requested relief of the parties, the Committee issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. A person has the right to inspect a public record free of charge, and a right to take a copy of a public record during normal working hours except as provided in §§ 63G-2-201(1)(b), -203, & -204. Utah Code § 63G-2-201(1)(a). A right under -201(1)(a) does not apply with respect to a record a copy of which the governmental entity has already provided to the person. Utah Code § 63G-2-201(1)(b)(i).
2. A right to inspect and/or take a copy of a record does not apply to a record that is publicly accessible online and the governmental entity specifies to the person requesting the record where the record is accessible online. Utah Code § 63G-2-201(1)(b)(ii) & (8)(e). Additionally, a “record” does not mean a book that is cataloged, indexed, or inventoried and contained in the collections of a library open to the public. Utah Code § 63G-2-103(22)(b)(vii).
3. Based upon the evidence presented, the Committee finds that Respondent has provided all records responsive to Mr. Eames’ records request as required by Utah Code § 63G-2-201(1). Further, Respondent was not required to provide access to or a copy of “Robert’s Rules of Order” because it is a book that is contained and readily accessible in collections of public libraries, and is therefore, not considered a “record” pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-103(22)(b)(vii).
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Brady Eames is hereby DENIED.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
A party to a proceeding before the Committee may seek judicial review in District Court of a Committee's Order by filing a petition for review of the Committee Order as provided in Utah Code § 63G-2-404. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(14). A petition for judicial review of a Committee Order "shall be filed no later than 30 days" after the date of the Committee Order. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1)(a). The petition for judicial review must be a complaint which is governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and include the Committee as a necessary party and contain the required information listed in Subsection -404(2). Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1) & (2). The court shall make its decision de novo but shall allow introduction of evidence presented to the Committee, determine all questions of fact and law without a jury, and decide the issue at the earliest practical opportunity. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(6). In order to protect a party’s rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(c), if the Committee orders the governmental entity to produce a record and no appeal is filed, the government entity herein shall comply with the order of the Committee and shall: (1) Produce the record; and (2) File a notice of compliance with the Committee. If the governmental entity ordered to produce a record fails to file a notice of compliance or a notice of intent to appeal, the Committee may do either or both of the following: (1) Impose a civil penalty of up to $500 for each day of continuing noncompliance; or (2) Send written notice of the entity's noncompliance to the Governor. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(i)(B). In imposing a civil penalty, the Committee shall consider the gravity and circumstances of the violation, including whether the failure to comply was due to neglect or was willful or intentional. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(ii).
Entered this 20 day of October 2020
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
Chair, State Records Committee
Page Last Updated October 21, 2020 .