Indepth: Utah lawmakers look to tweak referendum processes

Jan 25, 2019, 7:15 AM

Eye on the Hill

After a year of several citizens initiatives making it on the ballot, Utah lawmakers are looking to tweak the process.

Perhaps you signed one or more of the packets. Stacy Stanford was out signature gathering last winter and spring: “I sat outside the grocery store for hours trying to get people to sign my packet. I had a table in front of the library; we sent volunteers around the state,” she said.

Stanford is a health policy analyst at the Utah health policy project, and she’s mad that Utah lawmakers are considering changing the Medicaid expansion referendum that passed last November.

“Proposition 3 is a superior law. The question isn’t whether they can repeal it, it’s whether they should,” she said.

But state representative Norm Thurston says they should.

“We need to be smart about it. It’s a dangerous thing to commit to something you cannot afford,” he said.

Orem representative Brad Daw says he polled his constituents and says they want him to clarify or clean up what passed while keeping the intent.

Thurston has introduced HB145, which he says will remove gamesmanship from signature gathering process.

“I do wish that people would only sign petitions where they believe in what they are signing for, and not to just put a bunch of stuff on ballots and legislate by initiative, that’s not a great process,” Thurston said.

He’d like to see a running tally of the signatures and that those names made public,  “we need to protect the rights of individuals to be informed and sign, and to be informed and un-sign.”

Two other bills also look at the initiative or citizens referendum processes. Daw was concerned about what happened in Holladay, with the Cottonwood Mall project,  “It ended up that the referendum counted, but had everybody known, it might have changed the way people campaign for or against it.” He’s got some tweaks he’d like to make to the code with HB 119.

And another bill from Daw looks statewide to change the effective date from the day of the canvass to the day any other legislation would take effect. That has a lot to do with what happened to Proposition 2 on medical marijuana, where for a few days the referendum was law, until the special session changed it.

Stanford says it’s time to examine the motives behind any changes to the referendum processes.

“Is it really about fairness, or is it about not liking the fact that the people of Utah took lawmaking into their hands?” responded Stanford.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

arches reservfation...
Mark Jones

Body discovered at Arches National Park is identified

Ekaterinà Yaroslavna Ksenjek, 33, of Arlington, Virginia, has been identified as the deceased person found last weekend at Arches National Park.
22 hours ago
Bishop L. Todd Budge, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of ...
Mark Jones

Church leader speaks of caring for the earth at Why It Matters conference

Bishop L. Todd Budge, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks on caring for the earth Wednesday at the Why it Matters conference in Orem.
22 hours ago
Two Murray police cruisers are shown...
Mark Jones

Explosion inside motorhome being investigated

One person was taken to the hospital with minor burns after an explosion inside a motorhome Wednesday evening in Murray.
22 hours ago
Photo of Roy Police cruiser...
Mark Jones

Breaking: 5-year-old child in critical condition after being hit by truck

A 5-year-old child was transported in critical condition to Primary Children's Hospital Wednesday evening after being hit by a truck, according to police in Roy.
22 hours ago
Doctoral student Suzi Creveling talks about her work on the Utah Bionic Leg in the new University o...
Mark Jones

University of Utah researchers unveil Utah Bionic Leg

The Utah Bionic Leg, unveiled Wednesday, was developed by researchers at the University of Utah,
22 hours ago
Rounds missing Box Elder County...
Mark Jones

Deputies say evidence pointing to homicide likely in case of Dylan Rounds

Deputies with the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office say evidence in the case of missing 19-year-old Dylan Rounds supports that a homicide likely took place.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Indepth: Utah lawmakers look to tweak referendum processes