(KCPW News) It appears for the time being that state lawmakers will still have to live in the districts they represent. On Wednesday, the House Government Operations Standing Committee debated, and essentially killed a bill from Representative John Dougall. The sponsor says House Joint Resolution 10 was all about giving the people of Utah a choice.
“I assume most of the time they will choose someone who lives in or near the district. What this would do though is allow them some other option if they so choose to exercise it,” says Dougall. “So I’m here to have that discussion, to have that dialogue. To talk about to what extent does residency matter? And to what extent should we put that decision in the hands of the voters?”
Representative Craig Frank, who was forced out of the legislature last year when it was discovered he did not live in the district he was elected to represent, was quick to say he wasn’t involved in drafting the resolution.
“I still believe that the representatives closest to the people are those who serve the people best. I think that’s the overarching principle here. And although this bill doesn’t really have pure application to that ideal, I think the people’s representatives in the state legislature need to live in their districts to which they are elected,” says Frank.
If the legislature passes Dougall’s resolution, the measure will be placed on the ballot in November. However, the committee voted to table it instead. The committee could vote to discuss it again at its next meeting Thursday, but if it doesn’t, the bill is dead.
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