UPDATE: On Friday, March 3, House Bill 422 failed to advance out of a Senate committee. The Utah Legislature adjourned its session without passing the bill.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Feb. 17, the Utah House passed House Bill 422, a bill that would raise the threshold to enact a ballot measure from 50% to 60% if the measure increases taxes. The bill passed 52 to 19 and heads to the Republican-controlled state Senate, where it is likely to advance to Gov. Spencer Cox’s (R) desk for his signature. Utah joins states like Florida, Missouri and Ohio in proposing legislation to curtail the ballot initiative process, which allows citizens to directly affect state policy by voting on proposals to change state laws and state constitutions.
In 2018, Utah voters created an independent redistricting commission via ballot initiative, but the commission’s power was later diluted by the Legislature (and this redistricting cycle, the GOP-controlled Legislature fully ignored the commission and split Salt Lake City into four different districts). H.B. 422 would only impact ballot measures that raise taxes, but would nonetheless be a way for lawmakers to undercut citizens’ power at the ballot box.