A petition circulating throughout Orem carries legal responsibilities that those signing it may not fully understand.

Just this year, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, and Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, sponsored an addendum to state code concerning petitions and the people who sign them. Gov. Gary Herbert signed it into law in April.

The bill added the inclusion of a statement to a statewide or local initiative petition signature sheet stating that a signer has read and understands the law proposed by the petition. It also adds a statement to a statewide or local referendum petition signature sheet stating that a signer has read and understands the law the petition seeks to overturn. The bill also made some technical corrections.

While it may be a small change, the Utah Legislature has a bill before it, introduced Monday, that could make it more difficult for citizen initiative petition or referendum supporters to gather the number of voter signatures required to get their measures on the ballot.

HB192 by Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, would require that each petition package – have in 8-pt type where signees make their signature – a warning that the signee read and understand not only what the petition says, but what it would do.

In the case of a citizen initiative petition, the signee would also have to agree that they supported the citizen law, and want it to be adopted.

Critics launched attacks Friday on two separate fronts against the Count My Vote ballot initiative, which seeks to dump political-party caucuses and conventions for a direct primary.

First, the Senate voted 22-4 to approve and send to the House SB54 that would nullify the initiative as long as parties tweak their caucus and convention system.

Second, an opposition group filed a complaint with the lieutenant governor seeking to disqualify most of the 100,000 signatures collected so far by Count My Vote. It alleged numerous violations, including lying to voters about what they are signing.

Read More: here

Besides the “whodunnit” suspense surrounding the alleged forgery of Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham’s name on a ballot initiative petition for an ethics reform law, unanswered questions include “who knew what” and “when did they know it.”

Just a few days before a Supreme Court hearing on issues to determine whether signatures should be allowed to count to get the initiative on the ballot, the Utah Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to have Durham recused because she had signed the petition.

After facing referendums that froze two property taxes last year, the Summit County Council is keeping a close eye on a bill that revises the referendum law.

First substitute S.B. 66, Referendum Revisions, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Reid, has moved through the Utah Senate and House Government Operations Committee and is now before the Utah House of Representatives.

To gain favor in the Senate, Reid reverted to the current signature requirements needed for a referendum.

“One of the issues with this legislation was the percentage of those who had to be involved in a referendum from the latest presidential election,” Reid said. “That seemed to be the major concern of some of the body. This substitution reverts back to the original percentages in code today.”

An effort in Utah lead by Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, to establish a process for recall elections must wait until another time.  After meeting with legal council, Perry felt it was a better option to put the issue before the voters in 2014 than try to attempt to use the Legislature to make a change.

With only a few days remaining in the 2013 Legislative session, Perry’s efforts to push a bill through would most likely have fallen short.

There is currently no recall process in the Beehive State. The motivation to establish the process was inspired by an effort to remove Brigham City Mayor Dennis Fife, who admitted to an extramarital affair in December of 2012.

Legislation to create a process for recall elections in Utah, inspired by efforts in Brigham City to remove embattled Mayor Dennis Fife, will not be considered by the Legislature this session.

Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, created a bill to address state recall elections but said Tuesday he will pull back from that effort this session.

Instead, he plans to work during the interim later this year to craft legislation that would potentially put a resolution before statewide voters in fall 2014.

Read More at the Standard Examiner

Will legislators never learn? The people want to take part in government too. Members of the legislature in the Beehive State want to sting the people once again with changes to make the initiative process more difficult.  This time, to correct a “mistake” that was made two years prior.

A group of Republican Party notables has filed an initiative seeking to change the way Utah political parties nominate their candidates. The initiative would allow candidates to put their names on primary election ballots by either winning a vote at a party convention or by petitioning their way onto the ballot, but would mandate that a party’s nominee be chosen at the primary election.

Not happy with the way their petition drive ended, members of Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government addressed the city council Tuesday, asking council members to put the initiatives on the ballot anyway. “I’m not here to appeal to you,” said Walt Parrish, “frankly, I feel it would be futile.” He said the residents’ rights to freedom of speech and to petition the government were denied for “frivolous reasons” in the process, which he called “highly unusual if not criminal.” Parrish said citizens were competent to make their own decisions, “and as elected officials, you must let them,” he said.

Local illegal immigration opponents joined a statewide effort Tuesday to toughen Utah’s illegal immigration laws through a 2012 ballot initiative. If passed by voters, the initiative would require Utah businesses to perform an E-Verify check of immigration status on all applicants and increase the penalties for those that hire illegal immigrants.

Read the story from The Spectrum

Former Utah congressman and frequent candidate Merrill Cook said Wednesday he’s starting yet another initiative petition drive, this time a county-by-county effort to stop Utah’s recently passed guest worker program. Cook, who headed up various unsuccessful initiative petition drives over the years that were mostly aimed at lowering taxes, said a new group expects to present its proposal to Salt Lake County next week.

Read the story from Deseret News

Proponents of changes in Kaysville government were struck with another blow Monday, but apparently aren’t giving up their fight. The Davis County Clerk’s office, after consulting with the offices of the state Attorney General and the Lieutenant Governor, determined that insufficient signatures could be verified to put three initiative petitions on the ballot in November. “We very thoroughly examined these petitions,” said Pat Beckstead, election director for the county. “We double checked (election law) and we had a second person look at them and make sure that we were accurate.”

Two proposed citizens initiatives may be going before the Utah State Supreme Court for judgement on questions of initiative legality. Lehi City Council members moved to instruct the city recorder to find two citizens initiative petitions legally insufficient Tuesday night at City Hall.

Read the story from the Daily Herald

The decision as to whether two citizen initiatives will be on the November ballot are on hold until Lehi City has had the opportunity to seek independent legal counsel. The petitions were not delivered to the Lehi recorder’s office Thursday. Instead, the Utah County deputy chief clerk/auditor gave the city assistant attorney and recorder the staff synopsis of their findings.

Read the story from the Daily Herald