The group includes three Republicans and one Democrat from both the House and Senate; officials from the governor's office, attorney general's office and the Utah League of Cities and Towns; five members of the "traditional media"; three representatives of "new media"; and six members of the public, including former Utah Supreme Court Justice Michael Wilkins.
Lane Beattie, president of the Salt Lake Chamber and a former Senate president, will chair the panel. Former Deseret News reporter Geoff Liesik, now editor of the Uintah Basin Standard and the Vernal Express, has been invited to participate, along with Deseret News editorial writer Paul Edwards and LaVarr Webb, former managing editor of the Deseret News.
Waddoups said that group should have more time to work before a special session is called. He favors holding off on repealing HB477 until a replacement bill is ready.
Meanwhile, the ACLU of Utah said that unless it receives assurances of a quick repeal, it would file a lawsuit later this week over the ban — under a bill, SB165, passed this year — on electronic signatures in a referendum drive like the one underway on HB477.
The House and Senate first passed HB477 with two-thirds majorities. The Senate then passed the amended version postponing the effective date 23-6, and the House followed suit by a 42-29 vote, with four members not voting. That House vote fell short of the number that would be needed to override a veto, but Herbert said he had given legislators his word he would sign the amended bill if they changed the effective date, giving more time for discussion.
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