Utah Lawmakers Cold to Idea of Recall Elections

Utah Republican Representative Lee Perry
Utah Republican Representative Lee Perry

Today, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers gave the cold shoulder to Representative Lee Perry’s (R – Perry) idea to explore statewide recall election laws that would allow sitting statewide officials to be removed from office by way of the voting public, similar to the recent events in Wisconsin and their governor, Scott Walker.

“This idea came from one of my constituents,” Perry told the Government Operations Committee. “It is ironic that we are talking about this today,” referring to the then upcoming Republican caucus meeting regarding scandal-laden Attorney General John Swallow.

Senator Scott Jenkins (R -Plain City) was quick to rebuke Perry, stating that he was concerned that the recall process would devolve into a post-election popularity contest where elected officials could be booted simply for making an unpopular decision or, in an example he used, switching political parties or converting to a different religion.

Representative Brian King (D – Salt Lake City) voiced his own concerns. “I believe in the wisdom of the founding fathers…by setting [term] limits for two years in the House and six in the Senate…the voters have the ability to remove elected officials already.”

Utah uses a similar model to the federal, with House members serving two year terms while Senate and executive level offices serve for four years.

Ultimately, Perry retracted his proposed idea outright.

38 states have some form of recall laws, and some cities and counties inside the state have ordinances on the books that allow for removal if officers by voters.

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