Yes, states have their own impeachment process. Here’s how it works in Utah.

Jan 26, 2021, 4:25 PM | Updated: 4:39 pm
A one-year prison sentence for a Utah nurse whose foster child died in her care is being criticized...
A one-year prison sentence for a Utah nurse whose foster child died in her care is being criticized as too lenient. Attorney General Sean Reyes is calling the judge’s decision “beyond disappointing.” (PHOTO: Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)
(PHOTO: Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — While former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial gears up to start next month in the US Senate, a Utah Democratic lawmaker seeks to begin the impeachment of the state’s chief law enforcement officer.

Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy, opened a bill file on Tuesday to impeach Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes.

Reyes “has worked shamelessly over the past few months to undermine our country’s election results,” and “put  the aims of special interest groups above the voters who elected him,” a statement by Stoddard read. “As an attorney and a public officer, [Reyes] has violated his duty to the state. He has put the aims of special interest groups above the voters who elected him.”

Stoddard’s bill to impeach Reyes is unlikely to gain much traction in the Republican-controlled Utah Legislature.

Listen to Stoddard’s interview with Dave & Dujanovic below: 

“I’m afraid I would describe this in maybe one or two really short words, and they probably shouldn’t be in print,” said Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, the Utah Senate budget chairman, according to Deseret News.

Reyes’ office initially declined KSL NewsRadio’s request for comment, but he responded with a statement later in the day defending his involvement in the election lawsuits, and denying any participation in violence. 

How impeachment works in Utah

Just like the U.S. Constitution provides a method for removing someone from office, Utah code provides similar options to the state legislature regarding state officials. 

When the legislature is not already in session, it would take two-thirds of the Utah House to vote to convene an impeachment session. However, as the 2021 legislative session continues, Stoddard’s bill does not require calling a special session. 

Much like at the federal level, the House of Representatives holds the power of impeachment; the Senate would hold a trial, should one prove necessary. It takes a two-thirds vote in the House to impeach a public official; the Senate must reach a two-thirds vote to convict. 

Who can be impeached? What for? 

According to Utah law, “The governor and other state and judicial officers shall be liable to impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors or malfeasance in office.” 

The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” may sound familiar to anyone following federal impeachment proceedings — the U.S. Constitution holds that same phrase, along with treason and bribery, as grounds for impeachment of a president, vice president or other federal “civil officer.” 

But what are high crimes and misdemeanors? Scholars have disagreed over time about what the Framers of the Constitution meant by the phrase. They debated the grounds for impeachment of a president; an early version included the phrase “Treason, Bribery or Corruption,” before George Mason suggested adding “other high crimes and misdemeanors,” which made it into the final document. 

Utah’s Constitution, about 110 years younger than its federal cousin, was drafted and ratified in 1895, ahead of the admission of Utah to the states. While many parts of it are modeled after the U.S. Constitution, it included some — at the time — radical deviations, such as granting women the right to vote. 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi "had a direct and honest ...
Jennifer Hansler, CNN

Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister have ‘direct and honest exchange’ on Taiwan

Leaders from the United States and China have honest and direct exchange about Taiwan.
10 hours ago
Nancy Galarza looks at the damage that Hurricane Fiona inflicted on her community, which remained c...
Aya Elamroussi, Theresa Waldrop and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Hurricane Fiona likely to be ‘extreme weather event’ as it barrels toward eastern Canada, forecasters warn

Hurricane Fiona has weakened to Category 3 and will likely be extreme weather event as it approaches Canada.
10 hours ago
Utah Republicans are looking to ban transgender surgeries and other hormone-based care....
Mark Jones

Utah to receive additional $4.9 million from FEMA in response to COVID-19

FEMA has announced Utah will receive an additional $4.9 million to help with the housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 day ago
Bluff Street Pedestrian tunnel...
Mark Jones

New Bluff Street Pedestrian Tunnel opens in St. George

State and local readers took part in the opening of a new pedestrian tunnel Friday in St. George.
1 day ago
motorhome crash...
Mark Jones

Motorhome crash in Box Elder County claims the life of one person

A motorhome crash Friday afternoon in Box Elder County claimed the life of the driver.
1 day ago
police, lights, siren, emergency, law, officer, flashing, crime, cops, patrol, arrest, lock, speedi...
Mark Jones

New fire breaks out on Y Mountain in Provo

A fire on Y Mountain Fire has broken out Friday evening. Provo Fire says the U.S. Forest Service has been notified. Provo Fire also says it has received a lot of calls about the fire.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Yes, states have their own impeachment process. Here’s how it works in Utah.