Monday, March 03, 2014

UEG: Our Take on CMV Compromise, and 2 More Bad Bills to Kill

Three bills to comment on, all of which are initiative killers in one form or another

Via: Utahns for Ethical Government

Dear friends and supporters of legislative ethics:

We have 3 bills to comment on, all of which are initiative killers in one form or another. So please read our whole message.

You have probably been hearing about the intense negotiations over the past few days between the Count My Vote leaders and legislative leaders. Sunday evening, they jointly announced a compromise that seems to please both groups. Monday morning, Substitute 2 of Senator Bramble's Senate Bill 54 will have a hearing. As we understand it, the compromise bill (in which we played no role) will preserve the caucus/convention system but will also allow someone to get on a party's primary election ballot by gathering 2% of the signatures of registered voters (regardless of party) in the district in which the candidate wishes to run. (We think 2% is the correct figure, but we haven't been able to access the amended bill yet.) The compromise will also allow unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in a party's primary, something not allowed currently in the Republican Party primary.

Count My Vote leaders stated that they would keep gathering signatures until the compromise legislation is passed and the Governor signs it. They will also maintain their "brand" (Count My Vote label) and follow subsequent legislative actions. So, if you haven't signed the initiative, please still do so. Go to their website ( for sign-up locations.

We urge you to go Utah Legislature's web page to find and read the amended version of SB54, which should be posted on Monday for all to see. As the saying goes, "the devil is in the details." We would have preferred to see the initiative proceed, but we are not privy to all that went on. At this point, we too are interested in reading the whole bill. There will be remaining issues to be resolved in a subsequent legislative session, but CMV and legislative leadership seem pleased with the compromise and assert that it represents a win-win situation to achieve wider voter participation in state elections.

REGARDLESS, there are 2 other bills regarding initiatives that are of grave concern to UEG. One is Senator Scott Jenkins' Senate Joint Resolution 15, which if passed by 2/3 of both Houses, would put a constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot. The amendment would establish that the political parties alone control the process for nominating their candidates to public office-without interference from the Legislature or a public initiative petition. We hope you will want to tell your legislator not to support this resolution.

The other bill, HB 192, is also attempting to severely curtail initiatives by requiring that signers state that they have "read, understood, and support" the initiative. This is tremendously unworkable. Some petition signers sign before deciding their actual vote on an issue; they sign because they want the initiative placed on the ballot and want to hear the full debate during the election campaign. Furthermore, ballot initiatives can be long and are written in legalese (just like other legislation) and cannot be read in full in a timely manner. Moreover, legislators themselves seldom are able to read and understand legislation they vote for and must rely on their basic understanding of the legislative intention and on the word of bill sponsors whom they trust. Again, please help to defeat this bill by contacting your legislators.

Continual oversight (watchdogging) of legislative shenanigans remains a priority with UEG.

Thank you for your interest in ethics reform.

UEG Executive Committee

Update 3/3/14 7:31 p.m.:  Looks like Senator Bramble's 2d Substitute SB54 is moving right along like clockwork; just what you'd expect from an old political pro like Bramble.  


blackrulon said...

It appears that the Utah Democratic party holds hard and fast to the goal of supporting only what the Eagle Forum./Tea Party gives them permission to support.

blackrulon said...

In a few years the GOP will quietly pass legislation removing any of the so called gains in this comprimise bill. Many Utahns already know the wackos control the caucus process. But a bad comprimise, which is what was agrred to, will buy time to subvert and hijack the process. The comprimise is a sellout to everyone who signed the petition.

rudizink said...

I respectfully disagree, BR. The alternative direct primary option provides a direct path toward nomination for Utah candidates who don't suck. By entering into this agreement, brokeass crackpot morons who now dominate Utah's crackpot Caucus/Convention nomination system will ultimately cut out of the loop.

blackrulon said...

There is absolutely no reason to trust or believe these guys. At some point someone will quietly slip a bill into place to roll back any of the so called gains in the compromise bill. Or did i miss all of the legislators who left elected office because they had reached the end of service due to imposed term liminits..

Bill C. said...

Just watch! The Direct Primary system will become Utah's main political nomination system, and the lingering caucus/convention system will become the default, failing system which will be well-known for nominating unelectable Eagle Forum Crackpots.

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