There is no check on the power of the Republican-dominated Utah legislature.

There is no check on the power of the Republican-dominated Utah legislature.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The House Pledge of Allegiance as the Utah Legislature holds a special session in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.

I have to take issue with the comment that Senator Todd Weiler and Rep. Jordan Tuescher submitted to the Salt Lake Tribune explaining the Utah Constitution to us.

They subject the audience to this long rant, ending it with a quote about being wary of people who offer their interpretation of the constitution. Apparently, irony isn’t taught in law school. I also assumed that as lawyers they would be able to articulate their own point without filling the editorial with pithy quotes from other parties.

These braggarts reassure us that there is no problem with the separation of powers with the way the Legislature has conducted itself. On this point, we agree, for a violation to occur, there would have to be a functioning system of checks and balances in our state legislature.

The Republican-dominated legislature has used the past decade to consolidate power within its chambers and insulated itself from real accountability. The dominance of one party overseeing our state laws has resulted in less of a marketplace of ideas and more of a cohesive legislative body.

Republican representatives have, in recent years, taken steps to limit the influence of both the state’s other branches of government and its own citizens. They are giving themselves new powers by amending the state constitution by referendum, while making the process of putting a voter-proposed referendum on the ballot so onerous and difficult that it silences the voice of the masses. plebeians.

These legal maneuvers, along with the absence of any meaningful diversity of thought within the Republican ranks, allowed the Legislature to scoff at any threat of a veto from the executive branch.

All of this hoarding of power and the removal of checks on that power had the intended effect. The process of creating the laws we all have to follow is in the hands of a small group of representatives who seem to think they know more than we do.

Often, the solution proposed to citizens dissatisfied with the quality of their representatives is to exclude them. Still, sitting Republican lawmakers are given a major role in shaping the districts in which they campaign. This ensures that if they keep that R next to their name and bend the knee to party delegates, they can continue to inflict their smugness on everyone in the state.

Now, the idea of ​​a powerful state legislature is not inherently bad, but in the hands of individuals who have no coherent principle by which they govern, that power is a threat. The way the Republican Party governs our state can be summed up as, “We believe in ________, unless we don’t.”

For example, the Utah Republican Legislature believes that citizens have the right to change the Utah Constitution by referendum, unless we prefer to ignore the will of the citizens.

Utah’s Republican Legislature believes in the free market, unless you want to sell booze or open a car dealership on Sundays.

The Utah Republican Legislature believes in local control of government, until Salt Lake County decides to impose something we disagree with.

The Utah Republican Legislature believes in being good stewards of taxpayers’ money, unless someone wants the land under a jail or we want to sue the feds to make a point.

Utah’s Republican Legislature believes in representative democracy, until allowing it would mean Salt Lake County voters would have the chance to choose a representative to send to DC

The only thing compatible with the Republican legislature is that they will abandon their principles when it suits them. I guess the only thing consistent with this Republican Party is its hypocrisy.

David Vala is a first-generation American who calls Utah home. He is a mild-mannered science professor but, during the legislative session, he is a perpetually disgruntled citizen of Utah who fights against the windmills.

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