Every year, I spend a considerable amount of time studying each candidate and, if needed, attempting to contact them to get answers to specific questions. I would strongly encourage each of you to do the same. Here are my picks for the constitutional amendments and county ballot questions.
State Constitutional Amendment A: This amendment is supposed to clarify that all union elections should also be by secret ballot, not just public elections. That said, I see a couple of problems. First off, the current wording should already cover union elections and require a secret ballot. Second, I’m reasonably sure that federal labor regulations via the National Labor Relations Board would end up trumping it (not that I’m particularly fond of said regulations, but you get the point). There’s also no particular current issue abuses by unions that I see going on right now. Basically, it’s another message amendment intended to act as a counter to eliminating the secret ballot at the federal level should the ironically-named Employee Free Choice Act pass. I’m voting YES on Amendment A, but only because I like secret ballots and I think it’s something worth picking a fight over.
State Constitutional Amendment B: This amendment clarifies residency requirements for anyone appointed to fill the remainder of a term of office. Given the recent resignations plaguing the legislature, it’s no wonder such an issue came up. It seems like a reasonable change, so I’m voting YES on Amendment B.
State Constitutional Amendment C: This amendment provides additional tax exemptions to water supply equipment. Apparently it would expand it from irrigation to include selling water to a municipal entity (or at least that’s how I understand it). I guess it’s intended to create incentives for private water rights holders to sell their excess to thirsty cities. Water’s pretty important, though I’m not entirely okay with crafting out special tax rules. I’m voting YES on Amendment C, but with reservations.
State Constitutional Amendment D: This amendment will create a new ethics panel to vet complaints against legislators. Honestly, it’s kind of weak sauce since their only purpose is to investigate a complaint and, if cause is found, refer it back to the House or Senate for action. Either chamber could just sit on it, not a terribly uncommon outcome. All the same, it’s a move in the right direction, and finding cause for the complaint is enough noise to put pressure on the House or Senate to do something. I’m voting YES on Amendment D since it beats the everliving snot out of the UEG petition and moves in the right direction.
Salt Lake County Proposition 1: Really, Salt Lake County? In a year where you hit us with a tax increase AND a police services bill, you come to us asking to pony up a couple more bucks a head for 15 years to build a museum? Doesn’t that seem like asking for a lot? I know, we approved the new Canyons School District bond, so you figure we’re suckers for raising our own taxes at every turn. Here’s a better idea: find the money elsewhere and avoid paying the interest. It’s not that I don’t think that a natural history museum is important, just that I don’t think that it’s important enough to pull out the county credit card. I’m voting NO on Proposition 1 to encourage the county to avoid debt except for essentials.