View From The Gallery: Week 4 | KUER 90.1

View From The Gallery: Week 4

Feb 19, 2016

Week four marks the half way point of the Utah Legislative session, but lawmakers seem to be stuck on repeat.

SB54 Survives...

Starting with another attempt at debating Count My Vote and SB54. The notorious bill passed two years ago creating an alternative path to a party’s primary ballot, has been nothing but trouble. It’s currently being contested for the second time in federal court. But rather than wait for the courts opinion and the 2016 election, Republican Rep. Justin Fawson says the simple solution is to legislate the problem away. Fortunately for Count My Vote, and unfortunately for the Utah GOP, the majority of the House disagreed with Fawson and killed his bill.

...So Does Zion Curtain

Continuing the trend of old topics going nowhere, Democratic Senator Jim Dabakis had a bill calling for the removal of Utah’s so-called “Zion Curtain”.  Channeling the ghost of Ronald Regan, Dabakis pleaded with the business and labor committee to tear down this wall. But the ruse didn’t work and the committee sent the bill to be studied in interim, which is a polite way of saying, we’re not even remotely interested.               

Sen. Orrin Hatch

Which just so happens to be the same sentiment expressed by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch when, during his annual visit to the Capitol, he was asked if he’s being considered as an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. But he also joked that if he were appointed he’d make sure to live at least twenty more years, just to spite the Democrats. But Hatch doesn’t have to be the new nominee to spite Democrats, because he also says the Senate should wait to confirm any new justice until after the election.

Medical Marijuana

And finally the topic on everyone’s mind, medical marijuana. The whole Senate won’t debate the two competing bills until late Friday morning, so lawmakers and advocates spent the week trying to convince each other that legalizing medical marijuana will either be the best thing to ever happen or the worst. A group even decided that they don’t need the legislature at all, and announced they will be trying to get the issue before voters through a ballot initiative. But gathering more than 100 thousand signatures is easier said than done, just ask Count My Vote.

And that’s this week’s View From the Gallery.