Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, believes Amendment D and the "independent commission" it creates, "will do very little to stop the truly ambitious and evil among us." He said the public's vote should be what regulates who serves in a public office.
"Ever-tightening ethics regulations will set up a convoluted system in which groups who fail at the ballot box can promote their political agendas under the guise of ethics complaints," he wrote in an argument against the amendment. "Your elected representatives could have their reputations destroyed on technicalities that are not morally wrong."
But proponents of D say that voters should be able to have a reasonable expectation that legislators will act honorably, ethical breaches dealt with appropriately and citizens be fully informed of credible accusations of wrongdoing.
Bob Rees, associate general counsel for the state's Constitutional Revision Commission, said that before an amendment to the constitution ends up on the ballot, it is vetted by the group to ensure it is written in the proper language and avoids any unforeseen consequences. By the time voters make their choice, each item has been pushed through committee hearings, received legislative input and been passed out of the House and the Senate with a two-thirds majority vote.
Also up to voters is the decision in many communities to change the form of government or add or upgrade existing public facilities, such as completing construction of the new Utah Museum of Natural History, located in the Research Park area of Salt Lake City; a new police station in Kaysville; new aquatic centers in Eagle Mountain and Duchesne; a recreation center in Provo; school facilities in Beaver and Daggett counties; and parks, trails and open space in West Valley City and Summit County. Cache County asks voters whether a new library system is either necessary or wanted, while Hooper, in Weber County, looks to voters on whether to move to a six-member council form of government; and residents in a portion of Salt Lake County will vote on whether to create the Granite Township.
"While they don't all mean day-to-day changes, they're all important things to consider," Thomas said.
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