SB 171: Protecting Personal Privacy
This bill passed the entire legislature unanimously.
Several years ago, the Legislature enacted a law that compelled organizations such as ours to disclose our donors if we engaged in a minimal amount of constitutionally protected political speech. Together with the Utah Taxpayers Association, we sued—and the state settled, recognizing that compelling non-profits to disclose donors would be unconstitutional.
The following year, legislators repealed the law that triggered the lawsuit.
Specifically, the bill prohibits government agencies from requesting, requiring, releasing, or otherwise publicly disclosing any information that identifies a person as a member, supporter, volunteer, or donor of a non-profit organization.
Across the country, some groups have weaponized donor lists to attack those with whom they politically disagree—on both the so-called “left” and “right.” This sensitive information is an extension of a person’s beliefs, and the constitutional right to free association protects a person’s ability to affiliate with — and support, financially or otherwise — a group that shares and advocates for their views. This information should remain private from government’s public records so that there is no chilling effect from its public release and use by dissenting groups.