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Bills altering the initiative process pass through Utah Legislature

By Emily Ashcraft, KSL | Posted - Mar. 14, 2019 at 7:24 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature passed bills to modify the signature gathering process for initiatives and delay their effective date until after a legislative session.

HB145 gives a timeline for when signatures on a petition are turned in and made public, and when signatures can be removed. It requires the names and voter ID number be placed online.

Sen. Kathleen Riebe, D-Cottonwood Heights, spoke against the bill, saying employers or neighbors could find names online but requiring a records request under the state's Government Records Access and Management Act protects constituents.

"I think it creates a little bit of a conduit for harassment in a process that shouldn’t really be one that can be a harassment," Riebe said.

HB145 passed in the Senate with a vote of 19-6 along party lines Wednesday. The House also agreed with the changes in the bill with a 50-21 vote.

HB133, which would delay the effective date of a voter initiative to the same day as bills from a legislative session, passed the Senate with a 22-5 vote, also along party lines.

Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, the Senate sponsor of the bill, said the intervening legislative session would give time in case the initiative needs to be changed.

HB195, another initiative bill — which would alter the required number of signatures on an initiative associated with the number of active voters rather than the number of voters in the presidential election — also passed in the Senate with a vote of 26-1.

The Senate sponsor, Sen. Daniel McCay, R-Riverton, said this will make the required number more predictable because the number of voters on a presidential election can fluctuate.

HB195 bill was amended in the Senate to coordinate with other bills and will go back to the House.

Emily Ashcraft

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