SOURCE: Utah Term Limits NOW!

August 18, 2015 17:08 ET

Utah Term Limits NOW! Files Suit

Utah Term Limits NOW! Will File Suit Against the State of Utah Based on the Lieutenant Governor's Refusal to Allow a Voter Initiative Petition

SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwired - August 18, 2015) - Utah Term Limits NOW! (UTLN) filed suit today against the State of Utah, asking the Utah Supreme Court to overrule the Lieutenant Governor's attempt to block the Voter Initiative Petition. UTLN's Voter Initiative Petition seeks to put term limits on certain appointees made by the Governor, to state boards and commissions.

On June 3, 2015, UTLN properly submitted application with the Lt. Governor seeking approval to place its Voter Initiative Petition on the 2016 ballot. On June 29, 2015, UTLN received a favorable letter from the Governor's Office of Management and Budget with respect to the limited fiscal impact of the Initiative Petition. However, on July 2, 2015, the Lt. Governor's Office denied the Initiative stating that, "the pending Initiative application is patently unconstitutional" (italics added). The Lt. Governor's Office claims that the petition violates the separation of powers, viewing reasonable term limits as an undue limit on the Governor's power of appointment. On August 10, The Lt. Governor's Office rejected UTLN's revised application (attached) without providing any legal basis to support the rejection.

According to Rick Larsen, UTLN Chairman, "The decision is unprecedented and frankly confusing. The Lt. Governor's Office is denying citizens their constitutional right to put an initiative on the ballot. This initiative is designed to address cronyism, entrenched power and political patronage in government -- the exercise of which appear to be blocking it." He further adds, "It is ironic that the Lt. Governor's position is based on the 'separation of powers' since the Lt. Governor's rejection itself violates the separation of powers, usurping the judiciary's right to determine the constitutionality of statutes."

According to UTLN's attorney Stephen Clark, "This leaves the Sponsors with no choice but to ask the Utah Supreme Court to order the Lt. Governor to approve the initiative application. The Sponsors were prepared to bear all the costs of getting this important term limits issue on the ballot. Now, unfortunately, Utah taxpayers will have to pay for the Lt. Governor's decision to try to pre-empt the initiative process."

Larsen adds, "The very process of having to file suit is denying us the needed time to gather signatures and place this question on the ballot for voters to decide. The actions of the Lt. Governor's Office are an unsubstantiated procedural method of blocking our efforts."

UTLN continues its parallel legislative effort to place on the ballot, a constitutional amendment limiting the terms of the state's five constitutional offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor and State Treasurer; also to no more than two consecutive terms.

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