Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Strong Standard Examiner Editorial; and Another Citizens' Ethics Reform Initiative Roadblock

The state government just declared war on the people... Sign the electronic petitions, folks

The Standard-Examiner again comes forth with another strong editorial this morning, condemning the half-hearted (and tooth-less) "ethics reform" measures being rammed through the legislature this year by legislative fat cats like Senator John Valentine, and further urging Std-Ex readers to sign the Utahns For Ethical Government (UEG) online petition. We link this morning's full Std-Ex editorial below:
OUR VIEW: Ethics = open government
And in conjunction with our reference to the above editorial, we'll also direct our readers' attention to a related story which appears in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, which has added some confusion (unnecessarily, we think) to the ongoing citizens' initiative signature gathering process. The headline sums it all up in a nutshell:
Lieutenant governor rejects online petition signatures
In short, it seems that Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff issued an Attorney General's opinion letter yesterday, which takes the (politically predictable) position that electronic signatures are invalid for purposes of the Utah citizens' initiative process, although they're entirely lawful for most other transactions in Utah under general statutory law. As reported in the article, the UEG lawyers were already prepared for this; and they'll soon be seeking declaratory relief in the courts. For the time being however, citizens' initiative sponsors are still urging Utah voters to continue to go online to affix their electronic signatures to the various petitions, pending a judicial resolution of this matter. In the event that these online petitions are ultimately ruled invalid (a low-probability outcome, in our opinion,) petition sponsors will still have your full contact information available, so they will be able to easily contact you to obtain a hard-copy signature.

Notably the UEG citizens's initiative group has posted this informative language on their petition signature web page, (which is pretty much a restatement of what we've said above):
February 10, 2010. The Utah Attorney General has issued an opinion that electronic signatures for initiative petitions will not be accepted as legal. We will challenge this opinion in court. Our lawyers are convinced that under Utah law such signatures are legal. In the meantime, please keep signing electronically. If we need to, we’ll locate you to obtain your manual signature on the printed petition. So be sure to enter your complete residence address and email for our possible future use.
As one particularly savvy reader remarked in a comment below this morning's above-linked Salt Lake Tribune story, "The state government just declared war on the people; " and we do believe that's an entirely accurate (although discomforting) statement.

And remember, people: an Attorney General's opinion letter does not have the force of law, and is in fact by its own nature no more authoritative than any other opinion letter which might be issued by any other licensed Utah lawyer.

Sign the electronic petitions, folks!
Pending Utah Citizens' Initiative Petitions
Let's keep the fire to the feet of our perk-laden and power-driven State Legislature.


Grizelda said...

What a shock!!!!!! If anyone is surprised that the good old boys in Salt Lake would do anything to slow down or stop a public initiative on ethics, must not be paying attention to the way this state is run.

We expect our legislature to do what is the best for the people, but the trouble is, they already know what is best for the people they think-------more of the same partisan, culture driven garbage.

We need to toss these bums out, if we want true representative government in Utah.

ozboy said...

It is amazing that the Standard is so diligent in pointing out the great ethical lapses in the state legislature, yet continues to turn their head and ignore the down right corrupt Godfrey regime and their multiple rapes of the tax paying citizens of Ogden.

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