Utah Legislature opens with prayers, music and speeches
Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, is carrying a bill to redraw the Cedar Hills boundaries to include what was a newly annexed area when the maps were drawn a decade ago. House leaders said they will wait until the bill arrives from the Senate before discussing the issue.
The Senate sent the bill to its Rules Committee where it could be held until lawmakers decide if it should get an immediate hearing on the floor or be sent to a committee hearing, which would slow the process.
"I am pushing to have the vote now," said Valentine, who was also affected by the boundary mix-up. "I'm trying to say the voters should have a say to replace Rep. Frank. They should have the voice, not the Legislature through its inaction."
Waddoups isn't keen on the legislation originating in the Senate and would prefer discussing the issue with the House before moving forward.
"Personally, I think it should come from the House. It shouldn't be a Senate bill. It's their issue," he said.
"This is the first step in correcting an egregious error," said Karen Herd, chair of one of the Cedar Hills precincts left off the official state map of the district. "The right to vote is fundamental and is the basis for our representative form of government."
The difference between the state and Utah County maps has meant some 2,500 residents have been in the wrong House, Senate and congressional district since the boundaries were last redrawn after the 2000 census.
Until Frank discovered the problem, residents thought he'd been their representative since 2003, along with Valentine and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. Instead, they're represented by Rep. John Dougall, R-American Fork, who has joined Valentine in pushing for the boundary change; Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper; and Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah.
The House GOP caucus overwhelmingly voted last week against seating Frank and fell short of enough votes to support redrawing the district boundaries. House Democrats were advised Monday to stay out of the fight by an attorney hired by the state Democratic Party to examine the issue.
With lawmakers set to begin redrawing all of the state's legislative and congressional boundaries again later this year based on the 2010 Census results, there is reluctance to make a change that could benefit one of Lockhart's political allies.
The boundary change, which would required a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate and the signature of the governor to take effect immediately, has the backing of the Utah Eagle Forum.
Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka said not allowing the affected Cedar Hills residents to be represented by the elected officials they voted for amounts to taxation without representation.
"This is our kind of issue," Ruzicka said. "We just want the Legislature to do the right thing."
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