By Lisa Brown. Posted: Feb 7 2019
HB119 - Initiatives, Referenda, and Other Political Activities - is also our on watch-list for the 2019 legislative session. This bill would change the way valid signature requirements are determined, moving away from numerical percentages based on the most recent Presidential election, to the status of "active voters" as of January 1st of that year. It also would allow municipalities or counties to spend taxpayer money to publish materials for or against an initiative or referendum, and to likewise make arguments for or against them in public meetings. HB119 also includes language that relates to whether or not a law or zoning change is legally referable.
Utah for Responsible Growth is concerned that this bill could impede the democratic process enshrined within our constitution by making it more difficult for citizens to reach the required number of signatures for initiatives or referenda and compete with the financing power of local governments. Currently the bill has been introduced to the House in a first reading, but more updates will be given as the bill's status changes.