Radio commentary on Utah initiatives

Tue, Sep 15 2009 — Source: KCPW

Utah currently has no campaign contribution limits for those running for elected office on the state level, but two efforts are underway to change this.  One is an ethics initiative that will need 95,000 signatures statewide to get on the ballot this November.  The other is a non-binding recommendation that was approved last week by the Governor’s Commission on Strengthening Utah’s Democracy in a split vote.  Meanwhile, a handful of state lawmakers have been vocally criticizing both the ethics initiative and a separate redistricting initiative.  KCPW’s Jeff Robinson discussed thes

Advocates for an independent redistricting commission spent Labor Day gathering signatures to put the issue on the ballot next fall. The initiative would create an 11-member commission to redraw the state’s legislative districts. That job is currently the sole responsibility of the Republican-controlled Legislature, although under the initiative lawmakers would still get the final say.

Read the story from The Salt Lake Tribune

Two citizens’ groups who want voters to decide if independent commissions should be involved with legislative ethics and redrawing legislative districts identified a common enemy Tuesday ”” the Legislature. The Fair Boundaries coalition and Utahns For Ethical Government are both working to put initiatives before voters in 2010 to change how the Legislature does business, and officials from both camps said push-back from lawmakers could drive up the cost of their efforts.

Ethics in the Legislature seems to be the dragon no one can slay. But a citizens’ group called Utahns for Ethical Government (UEG) is going to try. Gathered with other representatives of the group on the front steps of the Utah State Capitol, Kim Burningham, a former Republican legislator and member of the Utah State Board of Education, explained why the UEG was formed and the points of its ethics initiative.

Some were thankful, others resigned to the inevitable. But few of the 500 patrons at Tuesday’s Jordan Board of Education meeting were surprised by the board’s unanimous decision to raise property taxes 20 percent. That’s half of the increase originally proposed, a concession to protesting property owners. To plug a $33 million budget shortfall, board members also will carve $21 million from the district’s reserves and called for another $1 million in layoffs of nonteaching staff.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday the Logan Municipal Council expressed support for a statewide independent redistricting commission to direct a fair redistricting process following the next census. The council’s resolution concluded: “The redistricting plan must respect existing political subdivisions and local communities and eliminate manipulation of election district lines for political advantage.” The council’s decision pleased Kathy Snyder, Cache County Democratic Party Vice Chair, who has long supported what is known as the Fair Boundaries Initiative.

Nothing to Brag About

Mon, Jul 13 2009 by Staff

A recent editorial in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News takes a shot at California’s much-maligned initiative process, claiming Utah’s highly restricted ballot initiative process to be superior. Much of the blame for California’s current financial woes has been misdirected at the state’s ballot initiative process, and the historic Proposition 13 property tax limitation in particular.

The latest effort to reform the way medical care works in Utah and around the country is as doomed as the half-dozen attempts since Harry Truman was president, according to Salt Lake physician and longtime health-care critic Dr. Joseph Jarvis. He believes true reform won’t happen short of putting it on the ballot, which he is trying to do through the Web with his Utah Health Care Initiative.

Read the story from Deseret News

A coalition that seeks to take control of drawing legislative districts out of the hands of the legislature filed an initiative petition with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office Wednesday that would put the establishment of an independent redistricting commission to a public vote in November 2010. The group is using volunteers to collect the 95,000 signatures it needs to qualify the measure for the 2010 ballot.

Read the story from the Salt Lake Tribune

Nothing is creating more heat in the nation’s capitol than the battle over “The Employee Free Choice Act,” (EFCA) popularly known as “card check.”

This proposal has mass support from union leaders as it makes it easier to unionize workers. EFCA replaces the current system of a federally supervised secret ballot election with a card given to workers to opt-in for unionization. Critics are calling  foul, as the proposal does away with a workers right to a secret ballot.

You have a statutory Initiative & Referendum process. Citizens can pass laws they write or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature by collecting enough petition signatures to place the statute on the statewide ballot for a decision by the voters. Unfortunately, voters do not yet enjoy any process for passing a constitutional amendment by Initiative.


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.


Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

Utah was the second state to win statewide initiative and referendum,
passing its amendment through the legislature in 1899 and ratifying it by
popular vote in 1900. The man most responsible for this early victory was
State Representative Sherman S. Smith of Ogden, the legislature’s “lone
Populist.” But another I&R advocate, Henry W. Lawrence of Salt Lake City,
wondered whether the legislature would pass reasonable implementing
legislation: “The great trouble now will be to get the Legislature to adopt


Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

State Balloting Process

Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

Persons wishing to circulate a statewide initiative
petition must file an application and a copy of the proposed law with the
Lieutenant Governor. The application requires five sponsors who are
registered voters and have voted in regular general election in Utah in the
last three years. The Lieutenant Governor then forwards it to the Attorney
General who reviews it (which usually takes about 5 business days.) After
the Attorney General reviews it, he sends it back to the Lieutenant
Governor who notifies the proponents that they can begin circulating.