FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2018
Salt Lake City, UT – Following the 2017 General Session of the Utah State Legislature, Governor Gary Herbert only vetoed one bill. H.B. 11, “State Boards and Commissions Amendments,” from Rep. Norm Thurston. This bill would have removed partisan balance requirements from over twenty state boards and commissions that advise the Governor on policy in a number of different areas. Following a large public outcry, the Governor vetoed the bill.
Rep. Thurston has brought the issue back from the dead, making it a topic of discussion during the June Session of the Government Operations Interim Committee. Using data supplied from the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, Thurston would apply criteria to all boards and commissions, with the goal of reducing the number of boards and commissions to which partisan affiliation is taken into consideration.
Better Utah’s Policy and Advocacy Counsel, Chase Thomas, issued the following statement:
“Diversity of opinion is important in making policy. For these boards and commissions that are making policy recommendations to the Governor, it is important that differing views are taken into consideration. Although GOP members hold a supermajority in the Legislature, they continue in their attempts to make it possible to strip partisan balance from every entity in our state government, despite the large public opposition it met during the 2017 session. Rest assured, if this issue moves forward next session, the public will still be opposed.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.