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Bill limiting powers of temporary replacements for elected officials advances

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Michael K. McKell, R-Spanish Fork, said Utah is one of only six states without a statute that specifically addresses helping someone commit suicide. Given that, we see no reason for his measure, HB86, not to be passed and sig
Utah State Capitol.

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would prevent a temporary replacement for an elected official from making significant budget or staffing changes was advanced Friday by a House committee.

The sponsor of HB176, Rep. Val Potter, R-North Logan, made a change in the bill to no longer allow a county council to terminate that temporary replacement after some lawmakers raised concerns.

Potter urged members of the House Government Operations Committee to support his substitute bill, calling spelling out how a temporary replacement is appointed and functions important but not something that would be used a lot.

The committee voted 8-1 to send the bill to the full House.

The vote against the bill came from Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, who said he was “not quite comfortable with somebody leaving in disgrace being able to name their successor" in effect.

The bill is supported by Salt Lake County officials, following the controversy that surrounded former Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott, whose siblings negotiated his resignation last summer.

Ott, who according to court testimony was diagnosed with stage 4 Alzheimer's, died within days of the court proceedings. His chief deputy, Julie Dole, was automatically sworn in after Ott's judge-approved resignation took effect.

Dole had promoted a staff member to chief deputy and made signage changes in the recorder's office during the 17 days she held the post before failing to win the support of the Salt Lake County GOP.