Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's a Mess

As suspected, the voucher issue continues to get more interesting. After the Utah Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, ordered the State School Board to implement HB174, the school board dug their heels in and refused to take orders from the Attorney General, and in the process raised questions about whether he was unbiased enough to represent them in court, no matter which direction they went.

And it will end up in court...unless....

After meeting with top state education officials, the Attorney General has asked Governor Hunstman to call a special session to "clear up the mess" between the two voucher bills. Well put.

Republican lawmakers are resisting however (you could spot that a mile away). They created the mess and now are backing away, essentially claiming it's not their mess now. The Deseret News quotes House Speaker Greg Curtis as saying that he... "doesn't see the need for a special session. It's a simple process. If you gather enough signatures, you call an election. That election is five-and-a-half months away. We are all comfortable with that. The law doesn't say if you have a referendum you call a special (legislative) session. It says you have a (citizen) vote. It cannot be any more straightforward." Of course, it doesn't say you can't call a special session either.

It still rankles me when I remember how Rep. Steve Urquhart chastized Democratic lawmakers for voting against HB174 when it contained all those things they wanted, but couldn't get into HB148. If more of them had been on top of things, we might not have had the mess we are currently in, since a less than 2/3 vote on HB174 would have made it eligible to be considered for referendum also.

But then maybe not, because the referendum law says the request to initiate the referendum process must be submitted no later than 5 days after the end of the session, but Governor Huntsman waited until after that period to sign HB174.

I still find it interesting that the Governor signed HB148 almost immediately after passage, but failed to do that with HB174.

Hang on for the ride...

Friday, May 4, 2007

What is going on in the state GOP?

A couple of thoughts about the recent Utah GOP problems regarding the firing of Jeff Hartley by Enid Greene:

  • Why was the billing of $50,000 in commissions by Jeff Hartley a surprise to Enid Greene? According to Mr. Hartley, this was the result of an agreement he had with Joe Cannon, the former GOP chair. Assuming it is true, it would seem that agreement would be written down and Enid should have been able to read it. Or, if it wasn't written down, why didn't Joe Cannon communicate that information to her? If it wasn't written down and he didn't communicate it, then it seems like it was kind of under the table. And that's no good.
  • Enid's reasons about doing it now rather than letting it go until the new party chair was elected this summer ring hollow. She said that she wanted to give them a clean slate to begin with. Right. It seems more about Enid wielding some power. She could have communicated any and all concerns to the new chair. The new chair, who ever they end up being, will hopefully be a mature responsible person and be able to handle things just fine and probably doesn't need Enid cleaning house for them.
  • If Enid was so concerned about leaving a clean slate for the next chair why didn't she fire everyone on staff? That would really have left a clean slate!
  • This doesn't do much for Enid's image (and she may not care). She comes across being mean and vindicative. As one Rep. Greg Hughes said, "Enid threw a grenade into the party headquarters as she walked out the door."
  • Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.