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House Speaker Cautions Against Referendums In Opening Remarks

Matilyn Mortensen


Monday was the first day of 2020 Utah’s Legislative Session and House Speaker Brad Wilson set education spending, making higher education more accessible and addressing state transportation needs as some of his legislative priorities. 



During these remarks, Wilson also cautioned against governing by referendum. 


“In light of recent events, let me be clear," Wilson said. "Clear about the elephant, or to be bipartisan, the donkey in the room. Legislation by referendum, while part of the political process, can be divisive and many times can be short of facts."

This comment by Wilson alluded to the recent efforts to gather enough signatures for a referendum on the tax reform bill lawmakers passed in a special session last month. 

The public dissatisfaction with the legislation led to Governor Gary Herbert announcing last week that the bill would be repealed once the session began. 

When it comes to the referendum, Republican Representative Val Potter from Cache County said lawmakers should have done a better job communicating with their constituents about the bill. 

“The legislature did an unacceptable job in messaging tax reform," Potter said. "It's a very, very important thing and we didn't do it well.”

Potter said he is concerned that many of the people who supported the referendum may not have had all of the facts surrounding the bill. He also said the issue the bill was trying to resolve will still need to be addressed.