State employees and public education teachers should be allowed to serve in the Legislature, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
Two years ago, then-Attorney General David Wilkinson, a Republican, filed suit against two House members - Democrat Janet Rose and Republican Mont Evans - who are also state workers. Wilkinson said that serving in the Legislature while employed by the state violates the separation of powers article of the Utah Constitution.Wilkinson lost his re-election bid to Democrat Paul Van Dam. The two lawmakers won their re-elections, and Van Dam says he'll continue the lawsuit because, he believes, important issues should be decided by the Utah Supreme Court.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found that Utahns have decided the question in their minds - they think state employees and teachers should be allowed to serve in the Legislature.
Sixty-eight percent believe they should serve, 27 percent said they shouldn't and 5 percent didn't know.
Jones also asked those who said state employees and teachers should be able to serve in the Legislature if such lawmakers should be able to vote on raising their salaries.
State-employee legislators directly vote on their salaries through the budget-setting process. Teacher-legislators indirectly vote on their salaries through the setting of the Weighted Pupil Unit, the state-mandated funding for basic education.
Fifty-seven percent told Jones that state employee- and teacher-lawmakers should be able to vote on their salaries, 40 percent said they shouldn't vote on their salaries and 3 percent didn't know.
Deseret News and KSL Poll
Do you think state employees and public educators should be allowed to serve in the Utah Legislature?
Definitely should 41 percent
Probably should 27 percent
Probably should not 9 percent
Definitely should not 18 percent
Don't know 5 percent
If you think they should be able to serve, should they be able to vote on their raising their salaries?
Definitely should 31%
Probably should 26%
Probably should not 17%
Definitely should not 23%
Don't know 3%
Sample size: 601; margin of error plus or minus 4%