Citizen privacy is protected in Utah

April 13, 2020

On March 30, Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law that protects the First Amendment right of Utah citizens to associate freely with the people and groups of their choosing, making this the fourth state to enact critical citizen privacy legislation after Arizona, Mississippi and West Virginia.

Support for S.B. 171 was strong in the Utah legislature. The Senate voted 26-0 in favor of the bill and the House of Representatives approved it 68-0.

What does the Act do?

  • Protects an individual’s right to privately support nonprofit organizations that represent their beliefs.
  • Ensures that private association is not discouraged or suppressed by any actions of the public servants of the state.
  • Protects the rights of individuals who support 501(c) organizations and prevents them from being forced to release private, personal information either directly to a state agency or through a 501(c) organization that is compelled to release its lists.
  • If an agency gains access to donor information, they will be prevented from releasing that information to the public.
  • If a state actor or entity violates this protection by making an individual’s name, address, and support for nonprofit groups public, either by publication on a public website or other type of broadcast, this bill gives the citizen a right to bring suit for relief.

As with other states, the law does not preclude existing campaign finance laws in Utah.

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