Tuesday, August 19, 2008

GOP to Make Referendums in Utah Even Harder

Basically, the Utah Constitution has a provision to allow for the citizens to reverse the decisions of their Legislature. Current Utah Code makes this process near impossible.

It is a process that should be difficult, so as to save the process for when the legislature really oversteps the will of the people.

However, the current process is even more difficult than it should be. First, only bills that were passed by under 2/3 vote are eligible. Then the petitioners need to get signatures from 10% of the people who voted in the last Governors election. And they need to meet that 10% threshold in a majority of the counties (the number escapes me this morning). Oh, and you have a very limited time after the end of the legislative session to get it done. Then opponents of the referendum can go back and get people who signed the original petition to sign a new petition saying they had changed their minds about the first petition.

That's what makes last year's referendum 1 movement significant -- the effort it took to get it on the ballot (and that's before we get into the whole Supreme Court thing).

And, given the smackdown the legislature ended up getting, it's no surprise that they want to change the referendum law:

Monday, Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo, told the Deseret News editorial board that government doesn't work best when elected representatives are constantly, and frivolously, overruled by the citizens they are elected to make decisions for. In other words, the pure democracy of initiatives and referendums doesn't work well compared to the republican form of government of elected representatives.

Interesting word choice, Senator. "Frivolously?"

And, I wonder what would happen if they passed this law, and we ran a referendum against it. What rules would we have to play by?


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