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House committee OKs caucus system overhaul bill

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A House committee has unanimously approved a new compromise bill to overhaul Utah's system for nominating political candidates.

The House Government Operations Committee voted 9-0 Monday to advance the measure.

Several lawmakers say they're opposed to the deal but voted in favor to continue discussion.

They cited concerns that the deal tells political parties how to select their candidates which they say could violate First Amendment rights to associate.

The deal from state lawmakers and the group Count My Vote preserves Utah's caucus-convention system but allows primary elections as an alternative path to the ballot if a candidate gathers enough signatures.

Count My Vote vows to continue a ballot initiative to let voters dump the caucus system entirely in favor of primaries unless Gov. Gary Herbert signs the compromise legislation.

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