2024 Legislative Updates to GRAMA

Lauren Katz GRAMA, Open Government

In the 2024 session, the Utah Legislature made several updates to the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). Here are the highlights. 

Representative Loubet sponsored HB 266 which updates the Government Records Ombudsman statute and the GRAMA appeals process to include the Ombudsman. This bill also removed the State Records Committee from being a necessary party to a petitioner for judicial review. 

The updates to the GRAMA appeals process start when an appeal is denied by the Chief Administrative Officer. The denial needs to include a statement that the requester has the right to mediate the dispute with the Government Records Ombudsman. 

The time limit to appeal to the State Records Committee or the district court may be suspended once a requester seeks mediation with the Government Records Ombudsman. That suspension ends when the Ombudsman certifies in writing that mediation is concluded or did not take place due to lack of consent, and both parties will get a copy. 

Don’t forget that either the requester or the respondent may ask for mediation with the Government Records Ombudsman. The State Records Committee expects both requesters and respondents to work with the Ombudsman while they wait for their hearing date. 

Senator Bramble sponsored SB 240 which clarifies calendars are not records under GRAMA and allows courts to award attorney fees and costs to a requester who substantially prevails in court in an access denial appeal under Utah Code 63G-2-802

A few updates are made to the list of protected records under Utah Code 63G-2-305 every year. This year we noticed three.:

  • HB 40 added consumer complaints described in Utah Code 13-2-11 to the list with the ability for it to be reclassified as public under Utah Code 13-2-11(4).
  • SB 211 added some records of the Utah water agent concerning a claim to the use of water.
  • HB 376 clarifies Utah Code 63G-2-305(81) regarding when booking photos can be viewed by victims or their representatives. 

If you ever wonder how to respond to a record request and what classification under GRAMA applies to your records, please contact the Government Records Ombudsman or the State Records Committee’s Executive Secretary