Senate to debate bill to delay effective date of voter-approved ballot measures to give Legislature a chance to ‘fix’ them

This article originally appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune. Read it in its entirety here.

After legislators repealed and replaced two ballot initiatives passed by voters in November, a trio of bills designed to change the ballot initiative process is nearing the finish line.

The Senate Government Operations Committee approved three such House-passed bills on Friday, and sent them to the full Senate for final consideration. Two of them passed on close party-line votes.

The most controversial is HB133 — which passed 3-2, with Republicans favoring it and Democrats opposing. It would delay implementation of any initiative that includes a tax increase for more than a year so that a general session of the Legislature could review and tweak it if necessary.

“It gives us an opportunity to fix any funding issues, legal issues,” said Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, the bill’s sponsor. “It would be much better to fix those issues in the course of a general session than try to do it in a special session.”

He noted the Legislature met in a special session to rework an initiative that passed last year to allow use of medical marijuana. The Legislature also passed a bill during the general session to override and replace an initiative on Medicaid expansion.

Sen. Kathleen Riebe, D-Cottonwood Heights, opposed the bill saying, “Our public has this impression that we are changing the whole initiative process.”

Lauren Simpson with the progressive Alliance for a Better Utah said, “We know voters are already alarmed by some of the attitudes displayed by legislators towards the results of the ballot propositions in November. This bill will further erode voters’ trust.”

She added, “It’s an undemocratic bill, and it simply takes more power away from voters.”

This article originally appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune. Read it in its entirety here.

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