Handle Drafts With Care

Nova Dubovik GRAMA, Open Government, State Records Committee

The Salt Lake Tribune v. Kane County, SRC Decision, Case No. 17-44

The State Records Committee, on November 9, 2017, heard The Salt Lake Tribune v. Kane County, a case regarding Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument boundary maps prepared by Kane County and shown to the United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke during his listening tour to Utah in May 2017.  The visit involved Secretary Zinke meeting with community leaders to learn more about how the 1996 designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, by then President Bill Clinton, affected the community and surrounding areas economically.

It was reported that during the meeting community leaders presented Secretary Zinke a map that proposed new boundaries for the national monument.

The Salt Lake Tribune submitted a Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) request for the map disclosed to Secretary Zinke during the visit.

In response, Kane County classified the map protected under Subsection 63G-2-305(22), and restricted access.  After hearing testimony of both parties, the Committee used the weighing provision to release the map that had been presented to Secretary Zinke.  (See case no. 17-44).

In this particular case, it is possible the Committee could have arrived at a similar conclusion using the testimony of the Respondent that the map had been circulated outside the governmental entity.  Even though, the Committee determined that the map was properly classified protected, and used the weighing provision, the Committee also could have determined that the map was not properly classified protected and released it under Subsection 63G-2-301(3)(j), drafts that are circulated outside the governmental entity should be classified public.

More information can be read on Classifying Drafts on the government records ombudsman’s webpage located on the State Archives website.