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Utah House wants lawmakers to have power to call special session

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers want the power to call themselves into special session, and they want voters to give them that power.

The House passed a resolution 73-1 late Tuesday calling for a constitutional amendment allowing the Legislature to convene itself in emergencies. Only the governor can call lawmakers into session under Utah law.

HJR18 came in response to Gov. Gary Herbert refusing to call the Legislature into session to set up a special election process last year to replace resigning Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he believes filling a congressional vacancy would qualify as an emergency under the proposal.

The issue will be on the 2018 election ballot if it passes the Legislature with a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate.