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Utahns ‘grade' state legislators for performance in 2009 session


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah voters give the Legislature high marks for liquor law reform, but low marks for limited ethics reform. That's according to the "grade" Utahns gave lawmakers in the latest Dan Jones poll for KSL and the Deseret News.

Utah legislators passed ethics reform that addresses gifts, campaign contributions and lobbying, but they did not address the issue of an ethics commission and did not outright ban gifts as many hoped they would. That outcome is producing mixed results in our latest Dan Jones poll.

Using a grading system from "A," passing, to "F," failing, we considered each issue.

When it comes to the idea of disclosing gifts to lawmakers, rather than outright banning them, most people give mediocre results: "Bs" or "Cs"

High marks, thought, for the bill that bans personal use of campaign funds after an official leaves office: 58 percent gave that an "A."

However, there were low marks, including 30 percent giving an "F," for not addressing contribution limits. That means candidates can get unlimited donations from any source for their campaign.

Most people seem to give high marks to the idea of keeping officeholders from becoming a lobbyist for a full year after they leave office: 65 percent gave that bill either an "A" or a "B."

But it was another round of low marks for not even considering a bill that would have set up an independent ethics commission to handle complaints: 29 percent gave that issue an "F."

Finally, mediocre marks, with 35 percent giving a "C," after not considering a bill that would have set up an independent commission to handle the notoriously partisan redistricting process.

Overall, however, most voters seem to be satisfied with the Legislature's work this year: 64 percent telling us they approve of lawmaker's job performance in the 2009 session.

There were also strong feelings about the president, the governor and the U.S. Congress's job performance. You can see those results by clicking HERE.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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Richard Piatt

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