As we are about to begin voting in Utah, I’m thinking many Utah incumbents are hoping that voters have forgotten how they gutted the voter referendums that were passed in 2018. To refresh your memory, Utah voters passed Proposition 2 (Medical Marijuana), and then the Legislature denied the will of the people by limiting the scope of the proposal. Among the limitations, significantly reducing the number of private medical marijuana outlets and limiting the list of illnesses that could be treated with cannabis.
Proposition 3 (Medicaid Expansion) was approved by voters in 2018, and the Legislature quickly replaced it with SB96. The new law required the Trump administration’s approval on several of its changes. On January 1, 2020, Medicaid was finally fully-expanded in Utah, but why didn’t the Legislature listen to the voters in 2018?
Proposition 4 (Redistricting Commission). The most egregious abuse of power came with the Legislature’s failure to embrace the anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative. Frankly, I was surprised that this proposition didn’t pass more overwhelmingly in Utah. Who would not support a nonpartisan commission on deciding voting districts? It simply seems like the right thing to do. Concerning Prop 4, Chad Thomas, executive director of Alliance for Better Utah, said “The Legislature has repeatedly shown it is not interested in upholding the will of Utah voters. Here, once again, the explanations ring hollow and voters should recognize this for the power grab it is.” (Salt Lake Tribune, February 27, 2020). I hope voters will find out how their representatives voted on these voter initiatives before they cast their ballots in coming weeks.