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Yes on Amendments 1 and 2

Should Utah's Legislature have the power to call itself into session to consider impeaching the governor? Thankfully, that isn't a pressing issue with Gov. Olene Walker. Nor has it been at any time in the state's 108-year history. But if it ever becomes one, the answer would be obvious.

Of course, yes.

Utah's constitution grants the Legislature the power to impeach the governor and other officials in the executive or judicial branches. But it does not expressly allow lawmakers to call themselves into session in order to do so. If an official were to be convicted of a crime or found to have committed malfeasance in office, it wouldn't be reasonable for the Legislature to wait until its next January session to take action. Nor would it be reasonable to expect a governor who is about to be impeached to call a special session for such a purpose.

Utahns should vote yes on Amendment 1, which would fix this omission in the constitution. It's best to do this now, while lawmakers are at peace with a competent governor whose term of office is ending.

Likewise, Utahns should vote yes on Amendment 2, which would allow state universities and colleges to profit from the innovations and inventions developed on their campuses. It would give them the express authority to acquire an ownership interest in any company that spins off from one of these breakthroughs.

As it is now written, the state constitution prohibits state and local governments from obtaining stock in new companies. That was a 19th century provision to guard against speculative ventures using taxpayer money. Amendment 2 would create a narrow exception for institutions of higher learning.

It's no secret that private universities spin off companies all the time, obtaining stock that often provides a nice stream of revenue to the school. This also creates an incentive for creative and entrepreneurial professors to come to that school. With Amendment 2, Utah's public institutions of higher learning will be better able to compete. Ultimately, their reputations will be enhanced, and the load of taxpayers will be reduced somewhat.