POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

No deal on bill to eliminate signature gathering, bill yanked from committee

Feb 28, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: Mar 1, 2023, 9:24 am

utah diverse...

A bill that would eliminate signature gathering candidates from Utah's primary election ballots was pulled off the agenda before being heard by a Senate committee Tuesday morning. (PHOTO: KSL Newsradio, file.)

(PHOTO: KSL Newsradio, file.)

Here’s 👇 what House Speaker Brad Wilson told Utah’s Morning News on Wednesday about the remainder of Utah’s 2023 Legislative Session.


 

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would eliminate signature-gathering candidates from Utah’s primary election ballots was pulled off the agenda at the request of its sponsor before being heard by a Senate committee Tuesday morning.

Despite this, the sponsor says the bill is not dead. Tuesday was the last day for committee hearings. 

Sponsor Rep. Jordan Teuscher’s bill would eliminate signature-gathering candidates from a primary election, and the election itself, if a candidate who goes through the party’s convention earns 70% delegate support. If passed, this would mark the first major shift to the compromise of 2014 that created the initial dual path to the ballot. 

H.B. 393 has passed the House and was on the agenda for the Senate Government and Operations committee until mid-morning Tuesday.

Teuscher (R-South Jordan) has been working on a deal with Count My Vote, the group behind the successful 2014 compromise creating the signature path. They have threatened to protect that path with a new initiative if this bill passes.

Will the bill move forward?

“If we get to a compromise then I think it would come to the Senate floor,” Teuscher tells KSL NewsRadio.

Teuscher was asked what that deal would look like for him.

“I think it’s finding what the right threshold is,” he said. “And by doing that will help strengthen the caucus convention system while preserving the path to the ballot through signatures.”

Count My Vote Executive Director, Taylor Morgan said anything below an 80% threshold is a “non-starter” for them. Morgan also serves as a host for KSL at Night. 

“[That would be] starting points for an agreement,” he said. 

He was asked whether their demands included changing the signature thresholds at all.

“The real threshold that we’re concerned about is the statewide threshold, the 28,000,” he said.

But he added “even more problematic” is the current rule that voters can only sign the signature gathering packet of one candidate per race.

“That has really made it more difficult than just the thresholds,” Morgan said. “That also ultimately forces candidates to hire paid consultants and paid gatherers to collect signatures for them.  So, we need to do something with the signatures,” he said.

Teuscher said there “a lot of different groups” working on this issue. And he’s trying to find a solution that works for everyone. Utah’s Republican and Democratic party’s certainly have a stake, and several senators are still in the legislature who were involved in the initial compromise of 2014.

“I think the bill in it’s current form is going to have a cool reaction from the Senate. And that’s part of the reason we’re taking more time to compromise and figure out what the right solution is,” Teuscher said. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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No deal on bill to eliminate signature gathering, bill yanked from committee