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HB116 showdown will reveal who controls Utah GOP

Published: Sunday, June 12 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Thus, the state of Utah, which contains the world headquarters of the LDS Church, cannot be a source of inflammatory rhetoric that disparages Latinos. Various church leaders, with implied authorization of the highest levels, have expressed public support for HB 116. Should the resolution pass, the Church will need to send a stronger message that Utah must not adopt Arizona-style legislation.

Will this controversy spill over into the 2012 Legislature and even the 2012 elections?

Pignanelli: Regardless of what happens on Saturday, activists will push for repeal in the next legislative session. They will also take their cause to the precinct caucus delegate elections in March 2012. This issue will color local politics for the next 18 months.

Webb: The repeal crowd will target for defeat in 2012 solid, mainstream conservatives who support HB116. That's why it's time for mainstream conservatives to engage in the political process and not allow the far right to control Utah politics. If the repeal resolution passes in Saturday's convention, it will be a clear demonstration of how out-of-touch right-wing delegates are with the majority of mainstream Utahns, in addition to top business, political and religious leaders.

Most Utahns — business leaders, political leaders, religious leaders and think tanks and non-profits — are mainstream, conservative, practical, problem-solving people. If we allow a small minority of vocal arch-conservatives to control Utah politics, then shame on us.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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