(KCPW News) A bill that would allow Utah to continue its participation in a coalition of energy producing states, but eliminate the requirement that no more than three of the four members from Utah’s legislative body come from the same political party, passed the House of Representatives today. Republican sponsor Roger Barrus said the issue isn’t a partisan one.
“It is a discussion about who will best have the time, the availability, and the experience, to forward our ability as a state to participate in this energy coalition,” said Barrus. “That we as a state might be able to develop our resources, add to the national energy security.”
Barrus said the coalition held several meetings and conference calls in 2011, but that one or more members of Utah’s delegation frequently didn’t participate, while other states had their full complement of representatives. He added that he only wanted to appoint lawmakers with the time to participate in the coalition, claiming he doesn’t care which party they come from.
However, House Minority Leader David Litvack says it’s critical to make sure Democrats have a seat at the table for these types of energy discussions.
“For 12 years that I’ve been up there this has always been the standard that when we have a committee, when we form an official legislative committee, that we always have proportional representation between both parties,” said Litvack. “I understand the frustration that if members were not showing up, that’s not ok. If we’re going to be at the table then we need to be there, and I get that. But the solution is not to remove the Democrat from the committee.”
House Bill 48 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 57 to 16, mostly along party lines. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.
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