Friday, June 25, 2010

Two New Developments in the UEG Citizens Inititiative Ethics Reform Matter

As far as we're concerned, the importance of the signator privacy issue pales in comparison to the electronic signature validity issue

To kick off the morning discussion, we'll highlight a couple of new developments in the Utahns for Ethical Government (UEG) citizens initiative ethics reform matter:

1) Yesterday, June 24, 2010, UEG lawyers transmitted a "demand letter" to Lt. Governor Bell's office, requesting clarification of the Lt. Governor's position with regard to UEG electronic signatures in the wake of Tuesday's favorable Utah Supreme Court decision, wherein the court ruled that electronic signatures are valid in the case of candidate petitions. Essentially the UEG has drawn a line in the sand, providing four days to either confirm acquiescence to the ruling in the Anderson matter, or in the alternative to get ready to go back to court. Yesterday's UEG press release fleshes out the details of this UEG tactic:
UEG 6/24/10 Press Release
Read the UEG demand letter here:
Copy of UEG Letter Sent To Lt. Govenor Bell
It thus appears that one way or another, we'll have a resolution of the electronic signature validity issue fairly quickly.

2) The Standard-Examiner reports this morning that the U.S. Supreme Court issued an 8-1 opinion yesterday holding in a State of Washington case that that people who sign citizens initiative petitions don't have an automatic right to keep their signatures confidential:
Names on ethics initiative petition might be revealed
As our readers will recall, on 4/15/10, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups granted the UEG's request for a temporary restraining order to keep petition signers' names secret, and he's kept the UEG case under advisement, pending a decision in the above U.S. Supreme Court case. Insmuch as the U.S. High Court has now ruled that citizens initiative petition signators do not enjoy blanket privacy, and since SCOTUS has now sent the case back to the lower Washington trial court for a determination of whether State of Washington signators are otherwise entitled to privacy under any special facts in the Washington case, it's likely that Judge Waddoups will follow the same course, and issue his own findings on the issue of whether Utah petition signators deserve special privacy protection on the basis of threats or harrassment from opponents of the UEG petition in Utah.

Whether the latter development presents a genuine setback or merely a minor annoyance with respect to the UEG case we don't know, but as far as we're concerned, the importance of the signator privacy issue pales in comparison to the electronic signature validity issue. And as to that issue, keep your eyes on Weber County Forum, folks. When it becomes clear which course of action the Lieutenant Governor's office has adopted, you can be sure that our gentle and ethics reform-minded WCF readers will be the first to know.

Who will be the first to comment? Who wants to predict whether the Lt. Governor will amiably "roll over," or whether UEG lawyers will wind up dragging a kicking and screaming Lt. Governor Bell back into court?


Ernie the Attorney said...

With a short time line between now and the August 12 UEG Petition drop dead date, Rudi, you can bet the farm that Lt. Gov. Bell will "play the clock," and resort to any possible dilatory tactics possible, including getting dragged back to court.

ozboy said...

The Tribune article mentions that two State Legislators have already started work on legislation to clarify the e-signature thing. Any one want to place a bet that said legislation will completely neuter the ability of the citizens to do petitions with e-signatures in the future?

These sleazy bastards who are the so called "leaders" of the Legislature will do every thing in their power to prevent the citizens of Utah from enjoying the full wonders of democracy afforded by the petition rights given under the State Constitution. They have already thrown up many obstacles that are nearly impossible to overcome, yet when a petition drive nears success, in spite of their controlling arrogance, they only regroup and create more barriers to citizen participation. They will do everything in their considerable power to prevent true ethics reform from settling into the legislative process. To do so would subtract from their self perception of divinity and infallibility. They are really no different than the criminal gangs that so zealously guard their turf from free lancers.

The only way true ethics reform will ever happen in Utah is if by some miraculous intervention a State Constitutional amendment is passed. It is the wording of the constitution that allows these criminal power brokers to thwart any efforts to clean up the ugly ethical mud pit they wallow in.

Of course the real magic bullet would be if the majority of the voting citizens of Utah awoke from their long slumber and started voting for candidates based on their positions and ethics instead of the "R" behind their names.

Curmudgeon said...

Off topic, but not entirely. Went out to Zucca's for lunch with Mrs. C. today. Noticed Zucca's now has an Italian deli open. Checked it out, hoping it would obviate or at least reduce Caputo runs to SLC for good stuff to cook with. Picked up their take out menu, which has a list of sandwiches on one side. One sandwich named "The Politician." Here's the write up: "Imported motadella & mozzarella , lettuce, tomato... full of bologna."

See? Told you it wasn't entirely off topic.

Hindman said...

If anyone on the WCF still hasn't signed the hard copy petition they will have a table setup at Lee's Market in North Ogden tomorrow (Saturday, June 26th) from 10 a.m. until about 4 p.m.

AWM said...

Along Curm's comment. Rovalis Italien Restaurant in Layton off the 193 (Bernard Fisher Hwy)is going to be carrying a line of products from Caputo's...not sure what the range will include. I saw the Caputos rep in there showing samples of their wares. Until Caputos decides to open something in Ogden or Layton proper this will have to suffice.

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