Gov. Gary Herbert urged legislators to proceed with caution on a bill that would alter the way candidates are chosen in the state's caucus/convention system, and possibly thwart a citizen-led initiative that aims to route the old-guard neighborhood caucuses.
The bill, put forth by Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, would increase the threshold of delegate votes candidates must receive in order to avoid a primary run-off. Currently, a primary can be avoided if a candidate receives 60 percent of the delegate votes. Bramble's bill would hike this total to 65 percent.
In his monthly KUED news conference Wednesday, Herbert, a product of the caucus/convention system, said though he's in favor of the system that put him in power, he would consider vetoing Bramble's bill if it poses a legitimate threat to a citizen-led initiative.
Saying the bill could be perceived as an effort to “thwart the will of the people,” Herbert urged his fellow politicians to move forward carefully.
“So my counsel to the legislature is to be very careful and to be cautious when it comes to this issue because it could backfire in many ways on the legislature,” he said.
The governor said he's confident Bramble will work out some type of deal with organizers of Count My Vote, which is backed by former Gov. Mike Leavitt, to avoid a standoff.
Bramble's bill received a favorable vote on Feb. 14 from a committee, which passed the bill along to the full senate for debate.
“I think we need to be very sensitive to the people's voice,” Herbert said. “That initiative petition process, which is a pretty tall mountain to climb in Utah, needs to be respected.”
On the possibility of a veto if the bill lands on his desk, Herbert said: “It certainly would be something that would be on the table. But I have no anticipation of that happening.”
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