Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, addresses the Utah House of Representatives on the first day of the Utah Legislature at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Jan. 25, 2016.
On Tuesday, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes and his colleagues in the House and Senate are convening meetings to discuss, among other issues, whether Gov. Gary Herbert potentially “overstepped” his legal authority by (1) putting in place special election deadlines for replacing Rep. Jason Chaffetz without formally consulting the Utah Legislature and (2) starting the special election process prior to Chaffetz officially stepping down (Chaffetz doesn’t technically resign until June 30). The discussion will apparently also focus on the Legislature’s recent attempts to get an opinion on these matters from the attorney general.
We believe elected officials need to follow rules, especially the governor. And, we believe that the Legislature should absolutely act as a check on executive overreach.
With regard to the special election, however, Gov. Herbert followed the rules and was conscientious about acting under statutory authority and under advice of his legal counsel.
We sympathize with members of the Utah Legislature who feel they should have had more say in determining the time, place and manner of the special election.
After all, the U.S. Constitution states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be…