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Press Release: Better Utah statement on Congressional vacancy bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 11, 2020

Salt Lake City, UT – Today, HB 17 and HJR 1, passed the Utah House. The bills address how Utah would handle the vacancy of a U.S. Senator. Currently, the law requires that the political party of the leaving senator would nominate three candidates to replace them, one of which would be appointed by the Governor. These bills would allow the state legislature to nominate three candidates for replacement instead.

Lauren Simpson, policy director for Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement:

“While this bill would have little impact at present, it could have a tremendous impact down the road. If Utah were to elect a Democrat U.S. senator but maintain its Republican-controlled legislature, it would allow Republican lawmakers to control the pool of who would be allowed to be appointed as that senator’s replacement. There would be nothing preventing those politicians from only nominating candidates from their own political party.

“GOP politicians are afraid that as Utah grows, it will grow into a purple state. That future is all but certain. This bill is a brazen attempt to allow a Republican-controlled legislature to gatekeep future federal appointments. Instead of embracing Utah’s future, they’re trying to rig it in their favor from the outset. It is an undemocratic use of the power with which they were entrusted.”


Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at

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