The conflict between state lawmakers and Gov. Gary Herbert over how to handle a potential special election to fill a congressional vacancy has sparked a proposal to limit the governor’s power to call special sessions of the Legislature. “In certain circumstances, it looks like we need to be able to call ourselves in special session,” House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, told the Deseret News on Friday. “The time has come for us to debate this issue.” Wilson said he plans to propose an amendment to the Utah Constitution that would take away at least some of the governor’s control over special sessions. If passed by at least two-thirds of the Legislature, it would go before voters in November 2018.
Now, it’s the governor who decides whether special sessions are needed between the annual 45-day general session that begins in January, and then sets not only the date lawmakers will reconvene but also their agenda.
Lawmakers have been pushing for Herbert to call them into special session to set up a process for holding a special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House now that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has said he may step down before his term ends.