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...

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