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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Humane Society of Utah v. Utah Wildlife Board (2000)

09 July 2000 Published in Resolved Cases

Open and Public Meetings, Participatory Democracy - In September 1998, the Utah Wildlife Board issued a press release and held a press conference to announce its unanimous support for Proposition 5, the successful ballot proposition that amended the Utah Constitution to require any initiative relating to the taking of wildlife to pass by a two-thirds super majority vote. As a state agency, the Wildlife Board must abide by Utah’s Open and Public Meetings Act. The board’s endorsement, therefore, came as a surprise to groups opposing the proposition, as well as to the media, since it had never decided to endorse Proposition 5 in any public meeting.

The ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney Craig Cook filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Humane Society of Utah, the Predator Education Fund, the High Uintahs Preservation Council, and the Utah Society of Professional Journalists. The case was resolved in 2000, and our hope is that it will encourage public officials to act in accordance with the open meetings law when they issue statements on topics of significant public concern.