SALT LAKE CITY — Cities and school districts would be prohibited from holding meetings on political caucus nights under a bill the House narrowly approved Thursday.
Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, said HB90 would help Utahns do their civic duty. Political parties hold neighborhood caucuses every two years to select delegates to county and state conventions. At convention the delegates choose candidates to represent their party for election.
"Utah has a very unique political nominating system. Yes, it has advantages and disadvantages. But no one disagrees the more people who show up at their caucuses the better," he said.
House Majority Leader Brad Dee, R-Ogden, opposed the bill, saying the state should not compel cities to shut down on those nights.
"I love the goal," he said. "Let's encourage people to go. Let's beg people to go."
Powell's bill passed 38-34 and now goes to the Senate.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this month expressed concern about declining attendance at caucus meetings and urged its members to participate. It asked its local leaders not to schedule meeting on those nights.
Neighborhood caucuses this year are scheduled for March 13 for Democrats and March 15 for Republicans.