Leaders of the movement behind Save GRAMA, a citizen referendum drive to defeat HB477, are very pleased with today's repeal of HB477 by the Utah legislature.
"We declare this a victory, the first, we hope, of many victories, " said Steve Maxfield, Save GRAMA coalition chair. "The legislature has recognized the will of the people."
Never before in this state's history, has an issue so galvanized the people of Utah. From the March 10 co-signing of the petition by Tea Party leader David Kirkham and former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson to yesterday's call for repeal of HB477 by the Alliance for Unity, Common Cause and the Salt Lake Tribune, people from all across the political spectrum have joined together for the cause of open government.
"The legislature grossly underestimated the electorate's disillusionment with them," board member Linda Petersen said. "They thought this was a media issue. They thought the only people who would object to HB477 were a 'few Liberals.' The people of Utah have shown them they were wrong."
Although the citizens and groups behind this repeal effort will go back to their lives and their causes, they will be watching closely the proceedings of the working group and future interim committees that will study GRAMA.
Utah is forever changed by the events of the last three weeks. From the thousands of Utahns who got behind this effort to the revitalization of Common Cause in Utah, a seismic shift has occurred in the state.
"The legislature assumed most Utahns either thought they were doing a good job or didn't care enough to get involved. That simply isn't so," said petition sponsor Nancy Lord. "Instead, there's a widespread disillusionment. Before this movement, people thought there was no way to make their voices heard. This referendum movement has shown them that, even with the almost impossible odds imposed by SB165, their voices can echo throughout the halls of the Capitol.
This morning's filing by the ACLU on behalf of petition sponsors Janalee Tobias and Nancy Lord challenging the constitutionality of SB165 is the second volley of the battle for the people's right to be heard. ! It seeks to return to the people of Utah the right to challenge their government, to redress the wrongs done to them, in a reasonable and balanced process as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.