Did you know Utahns who vote in this year’s off-year General Election will be faced with three Constitutional Amendments on November 4? Constitutional Amendments alter the State’s law on a fairly permanent basis, and while the Utah Legislature may consider these changes necessary, the voters ultimately decide. That should be a decision based on knowledge – and if you don’t know about the amendments, you could make changes you don’t want or need.
Here’s a short look at each amendment. Be sure to watch for more detailed information and arguments for and against in future articles.
Constitutional Amendment A is a joint resolution that asks if the qualifications for members of the Utah State Tax Commission should be modified. Currently, the four members of this commission which supervises and administers Utah’s tax statutes are appointed by the governor and then approved by the Utah Senate. Current law states no more than two of the four members can belong to the same political party. The change in the Amendment would allow more than half or all of the members to be from one political party.
Constitutional Amendment B asks: Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to modify the term of office of a person appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor? This amendment was written to avoid having the term of the lieutenant governor end at the same time as the governor. The question really is does the amendment do enough or will it require further adjustment in the future?
The third proposed amendment, Constitutional Amendment C asks if the Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor, and State Treasurer should each appoint legal counsel. This would go beyond the scope of current law which has the Governor rely on the Utah Attorney General. The question is, do Utah’s three other top offices require legal counsel?
The first amendment and the most controversial will be addressed in the first upcoming article. Know what decisions you are being asked to make BEFORE you get into the voting both on November 4. You can review election materials by clicking here.
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Source: Utah Lt. Governor’s Office, vote.Utah.gov, Utah State Legislature
Utah Tax Commission
The Utah Tax Commission and the Utah Legislature determine the amount of tax we pay as individuals and the taxes paid by businesses. Currently the commission must be made up of two democrats and two republicans. The proposed amendment would allow that to change. Are your interests represented by this change?
In Utah the Governor and Lt. Governor are elected together. When one leaves office, as Jon Huntsman did to become Ambassador to China, the terms of the two may not be aligned. One correction in the law has been made and the legislature is proposing yet another. Is this enough or should be reconsider the language of the amendment during the January session?
Currently the State’s legal counsel is the Utah Attorney General, an office held by Sean Reyes. Governor Herbert refers to him on legal matters. Amendment C would appoint legal counsel for Utah’s Lt. Governor, State Auditor, and State Treasurer. Is this necessary?