To: Jacob Anderegg, Johnny Anderson, Jerry Anderson, Patrice Arent, Stewart Barlow, Roger Barrus, Jim Bird, Joel Briscoe, 'Representative Brown', Melvin Brown, Rebecca Houck, LaVar Christensen, 'Representative Christopherson', Tim Cosgrove, Richard Cunningham, Brad Dee, Jack Draxler, Susan Duckworth, Jim Dunnigan, Becky Edwards, Steve Eliason, Janice Fisher, Gage Froerer, Francis Gibson, Brian Greene, Richard Greenwood, Keith Grover, Craig Hall, Lynn Hemingway, Greg Hughes, 'Representative Hutchings', Don Ipson, Ken Ivory, Mike Kennedy, Brian King, John Knotwell, Brad Last, Dana Layton, David Lifferth, Rebecca Lockhart, John G. Mathis, Daniel McCay, Kay Mciff, Michael Mckell, Carol Moss, Jim Nielson, 'Representative Noel', Curtis Oda, Lee Perry, Jeremy Peterson, Val Peterson, Dixon Pitcher, Marie Poulson, Kraig Powell, Paul Ray, Edward Redd, Marc Roberts, Angela Romero, Doug Sagers, Dean Sanpei, Jennifer M. Seelig, 'Representative Snow', 'Representative Standard', Keven John Stratton, 'Representative Tanner', Curt Webb, John Westwood, Mark A. Wheatley, Ryan Wilcox, Larry Wiley, Brad Wilson, Steve Handy, Ronda Menlove,
Subject: RE: SB 228
Date: Fri Mar 07 15:22:15 MST 2014
Utah House of Representative Members,
As a citizen who spent a great deal of time in the Referendum Process in 2013, I totally agree that the requirements and laws for referendum should be looked at. However the requirements in the new SB228 (Geographic Diversity Amendments) do not facilitate the average citizen's right of redress.
The requirement of gathering signatures from 10%-30% of voters, who voted in the last Presidential election, in a majority of the precincts is much more stringent than any other election process of which I am aware. This high expectation is not required for electing officials nor enacting laws. In our situation we gathered over 6,000 signatures. Regular, average citizens collected those signatures person to person all over the city which was a daunting task under the current law and will become even more challenging if SB228 passes.
Our county officials said we collected a higher than average amount of valid signatures. In my experience those signatures were not all politically naive, uninformed nor alarmist signatures, as some have suggested, but reflected a different opinion and vision for our community as well as discontent with an unresponsive legislative body.
The final count of our petitions in Layton had us winning in 30 precincts, narrowly losing in a few, and losing by a larger amount in a couple, out of 42 precincts. Was that not as representative as any other election in our country? Were you personally required to have a set percentage in every single precinct to run for office?
The government entity has other powers that the average working citizen, even with great expertise does not. Those powers "stack the deck." In our situation the wording of the ballots and public meetings didn't allow us an impartial moderator. A government entity frequently and naturally has much more press and regular coverage than a citizen's group, as well as other advantages. Passing SB228 will “stack the deck” even more against citizens.
I assure you that I and others who have disagreed with "city hall" have not done so lightly.
We elect officials in the first place and trust them to be representative. In many cases they are our friends.
It simply takes too much work, time, energy, emotion and money to undertake a referendum without a real commitment to a difference of opinion. I can honestly state, from experience, that the requirements of SB228 will unnecessarily complicate our right of repeal and will make such attempts harder. The process is already challenging enough. Our petitions in Layton City were the first land use issue referenda in the State of Utah in 38 years, hardly an overused or abused process. It would be a shame if the passing of SB228 make it the last…..that simply is not right!
As the second state in the Union to adopt this right of redress, I would doubt it was the intent of our State Founding Fathers to continually raise the bar for citizen requirements to exercise this right. We are getting dangerously close to the scenario when it will APPEAR that this right is available, when in reality it will simply be an ILLUSION (because the process will have become too difficult). Please, let’s maintain the integrity of this citizen’s right…..or why have it at all?
I urge you to defeat SB228!