Press Release – SPECIAL SESSION OF LEGISLATURE NEEDED FOR SPECIAL ELECTION

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 20, 2017

CONTACT: Chase Thomas | Alliance for a Better Utah | chase@betterutah.org

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SPECIAL SESSION OF LEGISLATURE NEEDED FOR SPECIAL ELECTION

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Salt Lake City, UT – Following the news that Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-3) will not run for reelection in 2018 and may consider resigning from office earlier than the end of his current term, Alliance for a Better Utah called on Governor Herbert to call the Legislature into special session to determine the procedures for any future special election.

Under current Utah law, the only applicable provision to fill a Congressional vacancy directs the Governor to issue a proclamation calling for a special election, but does not direct the timing or manner in which the election should be held.

“It would be foolish for the state to rush into a special election that isn’t governed by clear timelines and procedures set in law” said Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel for Alliance for a Better Utah. “Right now, applicable law does nothing but call for a special election with no further guidance about how and when any special election should be conducted. The Legislature is the proper body to answer these questions. Otherwise, any election procedures or results could end up in the courts and could leave voters feeling disenfranchised from their rights. For this reason, it’s essential that the Governor calls a special session to address this issue as soon as possible.”

This is not the first time that Utah has faced this issue. Earlier this year, it was rumored that Chris Stewart would be selected by the Trump Administration to become Secretary of the Air Force. At that time, legislation was introduced by Utah State Senator Curt Bramble to fill in this gap. However, the bill (SB 252) did not pass before the end of the legislative session.

“The Governor’s insistence that a special election can be guided by the Attorney General and other legal minds is a completely inadequate solution,” stated David Irvine, former Republican state legislator and board member with Alliance for a Better Utah. “We have a process for when holes exist in our laws — our representatives and senators propose legislation, they debate it, and then they pass a solution into law. The Governor should not be bypassing this process in this instance.”

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About the Alliance for a Better Utah:

Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization. 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.

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