Utah legislative ethics reformers sue state over initiative petitions

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  • twoartistic Draper, UT
    March 23, 2011 12:02 a.m.

    We already have ethics remedies, they are called elections, prosecution, recall elections, reprimand and impeachment. This so called "ethics reform" is nothing of the sort. It is a way for the minority party to avoid winning in the arena of ideas, and to instead, leverage influence by a committee.

    Any intellectually honest person who takes even a quick read of this grossly misnamed proposal can only come to one conclusion. This will be misused. A small committee could hold a threat of sanction against a legislator, in a guilty till you prove your innocence boot to the throat. This is the wrong way to govern.

    We all want high ethics in our representation, and when those ethics are broken, the media and our existing checks and balances have always proven sufficient.

  • Draper Kearns, UT
    March 22, 2011 10:45 p.m.

    The citizens of Utah need to have a petition to clarify how the petitions should be done. We need to take back our rights

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    The Governor and his Lieutenant Governor definitely didn't want ethics reform, that is why they signed the controversial HB477 into law to help keep ethics or lack thereof quiet in their efforts. I took the ethics tests that both the lobbyists and the legislators are supposed to take and it is so straight forward and simple to accomplish without a problem. It does remind one about the procedures and techniques required by the law. I still find it hard to believe that legislators would jeopardize or have people question why they wouldn't complete such a simple task prior to the deadline. The lobbyists make money by their job and if you don't have the test taken, that is basically the same as driving without a license or being in the country illegally. They make the laws and should be held "accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society." If these legislators and governor would not violate the principles, we could probably have more peace in the governmental process and freedoms of the Constitution of Utah and the United States. Agency.

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:36 p.m.

    I find it interesting that electronic signatures are not allowed... The State of Utah acknowledges an electronic signature as good enough to get my tax number and collect money from my efforts to make a living, but not good enough for a petition. How ironic...

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    March 22, 2011 6:00 p.m.

    The only ethics reform our legislators want is what they choose for themselves. See what's wrong with that. On this issue the legislature is at odds with the majority of Utah's voters. The initiative is the only remedy for legislators who refuse to respond to voter wishes.

    Utah usually prefers Republicans because of other issues, not one. Ethics reform were the only issue we would have elected Utah Democrats. This petition will let Utahns remind the legislators that being elected on the strength of some issues does not give them the right to ignore our wishes on all the other issues. If this lawsuit succeeds, the people will be able to vote on it without having to decide if its a Democratic or Republican issue.

    And the majority of the voters is not a "mob."

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 22, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    13 million to losing bidder?
    Money to defend Message laws?
    Secret closed door meetings?

    Instereo is correct.
    This is more limiting of Utah's Citizens voices. (see caucus shenanigans) Of course there's no history of electronic petitions because Utah refuses to grow-up and enter this century.

    If banks and retailers can conduct business online (with huge amounts of info and money) why can't the local gov figure out how to make it easier on voters? Oh that's right our legislators don't want to hear from their citizens they know what's best and the only thing they want easier is to be able to hide their wicked ways.

  • Freedom Huntsville, UT
    March 22, 2011 11:24 a.m.

    @ Instereo - I'm not interested in fighting. I'll assume your position is sincere. Kim Burningham is on the State Board of Education and has been involved in Education for quite some time. If you go to the Gov. site and their site, you can verify board members. Most if not all are public education past and present affiliates and UEA members and a past UEA lobbyist. Surely, they (he) are painfully aware of our States shortage on revenue resulting in restricted education funding over the past two years. (This year being the first to fund growth in two years) Well, who is going to pay for this law suit? Revenue that otherwise could be used to fund education and other needs as well.

    In addition, there was a joint (almost 100% agreement) agreement that was voted on and passed in the last election that makes UEG's petition obsolete.

    This is nothing more than a smear campaign. It's a sham and a shame.

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    March 22, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    Utah law has NEVER allowed electronic "signatures" to be used on petition drives. If we want to allow electronic signing of petitions, it should be the legislature that sets standards for what constitutes a valid, accepted, verified "signature" NOT some petition group.

    I personally went to the web page that was gathering so-called "signatures" for this petition. To get a "signature" they were only asking for the user to input data that is readily available from multiple public sources including voting rolls. There was NOTHING to prevent fraud.

    Furthermore Utah law has always required that petition signatures be public information. In the case of someone trying to use electronic, on-line "signatures" this becomes even more crucial than it normally is so that I can verify my name has not been signed fraudulently. But the petition people have sued to keep their "signature" names secret; so I can't even make sure my name isn't being used fraudulently.

    At the end of the day, this "ethics" petition has nothing to do with ethics. It is all about a power grab by a political minority. It is about the educrats punishing the legislature.

    Real ethics. Not this.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    March 22, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    The problem is not in counting. They know the results but don't like them. Now to hatch a plan to get around it, that is the problem.

  • Hunt Spanish Fork, UT
    March 22, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    Once again Bramble finds himself on the side of self interest instead of public interest.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    I'm amazed by "Freedom |Huntsville, UT" tying ethics reform with an insult to public education. I guess because people stood up to the legislature and used the law to overturn vouchers "Freedom" feels that it's OK to change the law to diminish the voice of the people. I believe it's in the best interest of all the people, not just suporters of public education, to have ethics reform in our state government. Just look at the uproar over HB477. Just because the Lt. Governor keeps changing the rules of how he wants to listen to the people doesn't mean the voices of the people will be silenced. It's sad to me that in a state that should be known for having the highest moral standards has in place in the legislature a system of rules for itself that allow for corruption. Other states have seen the light and reformed themselves. It's time for Utah to catch up and again set an example of ethical government.

  • Freedom Huntsville, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:07 a.m.

    'Wouldn't' take them..... we all make mistakes. Maybe UEG will be big enough to immediately come out and admit theirs as well.

  • Freedom Huntsville, UT
    March 22, 2011 8:05 a.m.

    I'm floored that a pro public education staffed and ran UEG can waste state money with a frivolous lawsuit. It's all show folks and especially on the wake of such a controversial session which was in large part due to some media hype. The fact is if your life depended on signatures being accurate, you would take electronic signatures either! And the money it would take to verify those signatures? Please.

    We need to get rational here not so easily spurred on by mob mentality.

    We were lucky to fund growth in the schools this year. With frivolous lawsuits like this, we may not be so lucky next year.