— Gov. Huntsman says he backs Equality Utah’s Common Ground Initiative, which would provide some rights to gay and transgender Utahns, and that he supports civil unions (Salt Lake Tribune).
— Possibility of re-instating the sales tax on food is being discussed on Capitol Hill (Deseret News).
Quote of the Day
“I am very, very protective of the legislative branch of government, as the governor was of the executive branch last year, and I hope he will respect that.”
— House Speaker David Clark, expressing concern that Gov. Huntsman is infringing on legislative prerogatives by impaneling a Commission on Strengthening Utah’s Democracy (Deseret News).
Written by LaVarr Webb & Associates
Utah Ready for 4th District
Utah is ready to accept a 4th House seat if Congress grants one. Further state legislative action will not be necessary unless something in federal legislation requires it. In 2006, the Legislature, in a 5th special session, approved SB5001, sponsored by Sen. Curt Bramble and Rep. David Clark, creating four Congressional districts. Read the legislation and view maps of the four districts at the end of the document here.
Federal legislation is pending giving the District of Columbia a voting member of the U.S. House, along with giving Utah a fourth congressional seat. It is assumed that if the legislation passes, the new districts would become effective for the 2010 election. However, if Congress mandated the additional seats become effective this year, a special election could be required. That’s not likely as it would create significant turmoil as all four seats would be up for election because current congressmen would be running in new districts. It would cost the state more than $3 million to hold a statewide special election, and incumbent congressmen would end up running three years in a row.