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PROP 5 LITIGATION

A coalition of citizen public interest organizations, including the High Uintas Preservation Council, and individuals from Utah across all political spectrums filed a legal complaint on 23 October in the Utah U.S. District Court asking the court to declare unconstitutional and enjoin enforcement of Proposition 5. You will remember Prop 5 (see HUPC Review 4/98, 2/98) was the constitutional amendment in the form of an initiative passed by Utah voters in 1998 that required any citizen ballot initiative involving wildlife to pass with a 2/3 supermajority vote of the Utah electorate.

The suit charges, in essence, that Prop 5 is a "content based, unreasonable restriction on the people's democratic ability to present issues before the public for initiative adoption."

The greatest spin on Prop 5 was that it would help wildlife. Not in the slightest. Not one program, not one dollar did Prop 5 authorize for wildlife. Too many folks didn't understand that, since its proponents pitched it as good for wildlife. That was mischievous.

But of even more importance--and this also escaped reflection because of the way it was pitched-- Prop 5 was and is not good for "civil-life." Restricting access to the initiative process-- the voting booth-- flies in the face of one of the fundamental cornerstones of democracy here in Utah. This is dangerous.

The litigation now must wind its way through the Court. We'll keep you posted.

Dick Carter


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