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Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Brave Legislative Act in Utah: Admitting Error

Don't vote for my bill.

It's a phrase rarely heard at the Utah Legislature, but that didn't stop Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, during a committee meeting Friday.

At the tail end of a long debate on SB260, Buttars asked his colleagues to vote against his bill that would make private all formal charges and disciplinary actions against a peace officer. Committee members listened and killed the bill in the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee on Friday.

"This isn't what I thought it was," Buttars said. "I really think this is not a good bill, and if you're going to vote on it, I would vote 'no' at this time."

Buttars said he wanted the bill to conceal disciplinary actions if the officer were exonerated. But the bill didn't do that at all. It provided blanket protections for records detailing the misdeeds of police officers.

The majority of Utahns are against such blanket protections, according to a new Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV poll. In fact, 62 percent of those polled said disciplinary records should be in the public eye.

Just 31 percent said the records should be private. The Dan Jones & Associates poll was conducted Feb. 19-21 and has a margin of error, plus or minus, of 5 percent.

More here.

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