(KCPW News) A recent incident involving Utah County State Representative Becky Lockhart and a volunteer for a redistricting proposal is the latest example of Republican lawmakers railing against two citizen’s initiatives. Recent U of U political science graduate Mark Nelson, a member of the Fair Boundaries Coalition, says the interaction with Lockhart shows how much lawmakers fear attempts to make them play fair.
“I hope it brings the public’s attention to the fact that the state legislators are so upset about the initiative, because it’s not designed to do anything other than setting up an independent, non-partisan initiative to draw legislative boundaries in this state in a fair manner,” he told KCPW.
Nelson says North Salt Lake mayoral candidate Lisa Watts Baskin invited the Fair Boundaries Coalition to share her booth at the College Republicans’ “Conservative Day” at the University of Utah last Thursday. But soon after Representative Lockhart confronted him over the initiative’s $1 million fiscal note, he was asked to leave.
Speaker of the House of Representatives David Clark says he isn’t aware of what happened. And he believes lawmakers have actually become more civil under his watch.
“So I think the civility that we have tried to bring to the Legislature, I think has been a dramatic improvement. And I hope that we’ll be able to continue that improvement. Part of that civility, also, is how we treat the folks that elect us. And I’m not aware of any major problems,” he said.
In the state Senate, Republican lawmakers have been criticizing the redistricting initiative and a separate ethics initiative on their weekend radio talk show, Red Meat Radio.