HB228: Changing the Election Process for the Utah State School Board
This bill failed in the House, 33-41. Visit our Legislative Index to see the final vote rankings for the 2014 general session.
To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.
Libertas Institute supports this bill.
As have discussed previously both in an op-ed and an interview, state school board candidates in Utah must first pass through a screening committee which has the power, under the current law, to deny a candidate the opportunity to appeal to voters. If five candidates seek election in one district, this committee and the Governor arbitrarily eliminate three of them, allowing voters only to decide between the final two that they (for whatever reason) like.
Representative Brian Greene has introduced HB228 to repeal this committee as well as the Governor’s involvement, thus allowing all interested candidates to make their case to voters directly (as is the case with every other elected position).
Additionally, HB228 would change the currently non-partisan office to a partisan one, thus subjecting candidates to additional scrutiny through the caucus/convention system by encouraging them to interview with delegates and answer tough questions. We favor this approach, as school board districts are larger than Senate districts and few Utahns have any idea who their school board representative is, let alone what they’ve voted on and why. Creating more of a connection between delegates and voters and the candidate is, we think, a positive thing.
Another bill, introduced by Representative Jim Nielson, also aims to repeal the screening committee while keeping school board candidates non-partisan. Should HB228 fail to pass, we still strongly support this alternative bill; whether offices are kept non-partisan or not, the screening committee must be abolished.