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S.B. 289





Chief Sponsor: Peter C. Knudson

House Sponsor: Stephen G. Handy

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill amends provisions of the Election Code relating to election offenses.
             10      Highlighted Provisions:
             11          This bill:
             12          .    clarifies and amends the procedure for bringing a proceeding authorized under Title
             13      20A, Chapter 1, Part 7, Prosecuting and Adjudicating Election Offenses;
             14          .    provides that, if a registered voter files a petition alleging that the attorney general
             15      violated a provision of the Election Code, and the lieutenant governor determines
             16      that the attorney general has a conflict of interest in relation to the petition, the
             17      lieutenant governor shall appoint special counsel to investigate and determine
             18      whether a violation occurred, and to bring a proceeding if a proceeding is
             19      warranted; and
             20          .    provides a transition clause.
             21      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             22          None
             23      Other Special Clauses:
             24          This bill provides an immediate effective date.
             25          This bill provides retrospective operation.
             26          This bill coordinates with S.B. 190, Procurement Revisions, by making technical
             27      changes.

             28      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             29      AMENDS:
             30          20A-1-703, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2011, Chapter 297
             31          20A-1-706, as enacted by Laws of Utah 1993, Chapter 1
             32      ENACTS:
             33          20A-1-707, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             34      Utah Code Sections Affected by Coordination Clause:
             35          20A-1-703, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2011, Chapter 297
             37      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             38          Section 1. Section 20A-1-703 is amended to read:
             39           20A-1-703. Proceedings by registered voter.
             40          (1) Any registered voter who has information that any provisions of this title have been
             41      violated by any candidate for whom the registered voter had the right to vote, by any personal
             42      campaign committee of that candidate, by any member of that committee, or by any election
             43      official, may file a verified petition with the lieutenant governor.
             44          (2) (a) The lieutenant governor shall gather information and determine if a special
             45      investigation is necessary.
             46          (b) If the lieutenant governor determines that a special investigation is necessary, the
             47      lieutenant governor shall:
             48          (i) except as provided in Subsection (2)(b)(ii), refer the information to the attorney
             49      general, who shall:
             50          [(i)] (A) bring a special proceeding to investigate and determine whether [or not] there
             51      has been a violation; and
             52          [(ii)] (B) appoint special counsel to conduct that proceeding on behalf of the state[.]; or
             53          (ii) if the verified petition alleges that the attorney general violated a provision of this
             54      title, or if the lieutenant governor determines that the Office of the Attorney General has a
             55      conflict of interest in relation to the verified petition, in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 6,
             56      Utah Procurement Code, appoint a person who is not an employee of the Office of the Attorney
             57      General as special counsel to:
             58          (A) bring a special proceeding to investigate and determine whether there has been a

             59      violation; and
             60          (B) conduct that proceeding on behalf of the state.
             61          (3) If it appears from the petition or otherwise that sufficient evidence is obtainable to
             62      show that there is probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred[,]:
             63          (a) except as provided in Subsection (3)(b), the attorney general shall:
             64          [(a)] (i) grant leave to bring the proceeding; and
             65          [(b)] (ii) appoint special counsel to conduct the proceeding[.]; or
             66          (b) if the lieutenant governor has appointed special counsel under Subsection (2)(b)(ii),
             67      the lieutenant governor shall:
             68          (i) grant leave to bring the proceeding; and
             69          (ii) direct the special counsel to conduct the proceeding.
             70          (4) (a) If leave is granted, the registered voter may, by a special proceeding brought in
             71      the district court in the name of the state upon the relation of the registered voter, investigate
             72      and determine whether or not the candidate, candidate's personal campaign committee, any
             73      member of the candidate's personal campaign committee, or any election officer has violated
             74      any provision of this title.
             75          (b) (i) In the proceeding, the complaint shall:
             76          (A) be served with the summons; and
             77          (B) set forth the name of the person or persons who have allegedly violated this title
             78      and the grounds of those violations in detail.
             79          (ii) The complaint may not be amended except by leave of the court.
             80          (iii) The summons and complaint in the proceeding shall be filed with the court no
             81      later than five days after they are served.
             82          (c) (i) The answer to the complaint shall be served and filed within 10 days after the
             83      service of the summons and complaint.
             84          (ii) Any allegation of new matters in the answer shall be considered controverted by the
             85      adverse party without reply, and the proceeding shall be considered at issue and stand ready for
             86      trial upon five days' notice of trial.
             87          (d) (i) All proceedings initiated under this section have precedence over any other civil
             88      actions.
             89          (ii) The court shall always be considered open for the trial of the issues raised in this

             90      proceeding.
             91          (iii) The proceeding shall be tried and determined as a civil action without a jury, with
             92      the court determining all issues of fact and issues of law.
             93          (iv) If more than one proceeding is pending or the election of more than one person is
             94      investigated and contested, the court may:
             95          (A) order the proceedings consolidated and heard together; and
             96          (B) equitably apportion costs and disbursements.
             97          (e) (i) Either party may request a change of venue as provided by law in civil actions,
             98      but application for a change of venue shall be made within five days after service of summons
             99      and complaint.
             100          (ii) The judge shall decide the request for a change of venue and issue any necessary
             101      orders within three days after the application is made.
             102          (iii) If a party fails to request a change of venue within five days of service, that party
             103      has waived that party's right to a change of venue.
             104          (f) (i) If judgment is in favor of the plaintiff, the relator may petition the judge to
             105      recover his taxable costs and disbursements against the person whose right to the office is
             106      contested.
             107          (ii) The judge may not award costs to the defendant unless it appears that the
             108      proceeding was brought in bad faith.
             109          (iii) Subject to the limitations contained in Subsection (4)(f), the judge may decide
             110      whether or not to award costs and disbursements.
             111          (5) Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit any other civil or criminal
             112      actions or remedies against alleged violators.
             113          (6) In the event a witness asserts a privilege against self-incrimination, testimony and
             114      evidence from the witness may be compelled pursuant to Title 77, Chapter 22b, Grants of
             115      Immunity.
             116          Section 2. Section 20A-1-706 is amended to read:
             117           20A-1-706. Special counsel on appeal.
             118          (1) If either party appeals the judgment of the trial court, the district judge, the attorney
             119      general, or the lieutenant governor who appointed special counsel for the trial court shall
             120      authorize that counsel, or some other person, to appear as special counsel in the appellate court

             121      in the matter.
             122          (2) (a) The special counsel authorized by this chapter shall receive a reasonable
             123      compensation for his services.
             124          (b) The compensation shall be audited by the lieutenant governor and paid out of the
             125      state treasury upon a voucher and upon the written statement of the officer appointing the
             126      counsel that:
             127          (i) the appointment has been made;
             128          (ii) the person appointed has faithfully performed the duties imposed upon him; and
             129          (iii) that the special counsel's bill is accurate and correct.
             130          (c) Compensation for special counsel shall be audited and paid in the same manner as
             131      other claims against the state are audited and paid.
             132          Section 3. Section 20A-1-707 is enacted to read:
             133          20A-1-707. Transition clause.
             134          Any petition that is filed or pending under this part on or after March 1, 2013, shall be
             135      subject to the provisions of this part, including any amendments to this part made by Senate
             136      Bill 289, passed in the 2013 General Session.
             137          Section 4. Effective date -- Retrospective operation.
             138          (1) Subject to Subsection (2), if approved by two-thirds of all the members elected to
             139      each house, this bill takes effect upon approval by the governor, or the day following the
             140      constitutional time limit of Utah Constitution Article VII, Section 8, without the governor's
             141      signature, or in the case of a veto, the date of veto override.
             142          (2) This bill has retrospective operation to a petition that is filed on or after March 1,
             143      2013, under Title 20A, Chapter 1, Part 7, Prosecuting and Adjudicating Election Offenses.
             144          Section 5. Coordinating S.B. 289 with S.B. 90 -- Technical changes.
             145          If this S.B. 289 and S.B. 190, Procurement Revisions, both pass and become law, it is
             146      the intent of the Legislature that the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, in
             147      preparing the Utah Code database for publication, on May 1, 2013, change the language in
             148      Subsection 20A-1-703 (2)(b)(ii) in this S.B. 289 from "Title 63G, Chapter 6, Utah Procurement
             149      Code" to "Title 63G, Chapter 6a, Utah Procurement Code".

Legislative Review Note
    as of 3-13-13 6:58 PM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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