The dispute between political parties and the Utah government regarding SB54 could soon be settled through mediation. The judge overseeing the case told the Utah Constitutional Party and Utah Republican Party they have a week to reach an agreement with the Attorney General’s office regarding who will facilitate the mediation.
Lawmakers agree that finding mediation could be a challenge. They are not against attempt at mediation, but their hopes are not very high there will be success. They point out that regardless of the outcome of mediation, the Attorney General is forced to defend the laws on the books. Essentially, mediation might not end the dispute. If an agreement were reached to change the existing law, the legislative process would still be required.
Already, lawmakers have stated they are willing to negotiate, but they will not give into demands that require them to abide by a law that is unconstitutional.
The law in question is SB54. If passed, the law would change how political parties nominate their candidates for elections. The law was written as a compromise between the legislature and a group called Count My Vote, which sought to eliminate the caucus and convention system in favor of direct primaries.
The law would create a dual path, allowing parties to keep the caucus and convention system, but also allow candidates onto their party’s ballot through a signature gathering process. Count My Vote wants to ensure individual citizen opinions are heard and they believe the best way to do so is by changing the way in which candidates are elected. The legislature believes the proposal could be unconstitutional and is opposed to it.