(KUTV) A special election timeline is now in place to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz in Congress, but Utah’s legislative leaders are not happy about it.
“I’m frustrated,” said House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper. “The governor opted to freelance and put a process in place that does not comport with what we have on the books right now.”
Hughes acknowledges lawmakers can’t do anything right now about Gov. Gary Herbert’s move, which seems to give voters more say while limiting the role of political parties.
But come next session, the Legislature could get even.
“We’re going to look at that role — that separate but equal power — and see if it’s being respected and honored all the way around,” Hughes said. “I would argue right now it is not, and we need to fix that.”
Hughes said Herbert ignored the Legislature in setting up the deadlines and benchmarks for the special election. The House speaker believes it’s part of a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
What that means specifically, Hughes said, will become clearer as January approaches.
“But we’ll be looking because this,” he promised. “This is not the way that this is supposed to happen.”
Hughes said lawmakers will look at a constitutional amendment, allowing them to call themselves into special session. He’s also eyeing changing elections for the executive branch. The governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general were all originally appointed — not elected — to their jobs in the middle of someone else’s term.
“Maybe those offices should have the same kind of vote of the people as we’re saying that the U.S. Congress should have,” Hughes said. “It’s food for thought, isn’t it?”
Hughes said lawmakers have until January to decide what to do. But it’s clear their tiff with the governor isn’t over.
“This is going to sting,” Hughes said.
One thing not on the table is a lawsuit. Both House and Senate leaders told 2News…