‘It’s not something that people would take lightly if someone ever did want to recall a sitting senator…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A state lawmaker in Utah introduced a bill this week that would allow voters to recall an elected U.S. senator.
The bill, proposed by state Rep. Tim Quinn, R-Heber City, appears to be a jab at Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, though Quinn denied that he had one particular person in mind when he introduced the bill, according to the Deseret News.
“I know that’s what’s going to be the narrative,” Quinn explained. “If it were, then it might make sense to have a sunset on it. That would not be the case.”
Still, the bill comes at a time when Romney is facing additional scrutiny for siding with Democrats during the debate over impeachment trial witnesses. Romney has said he will likely vote in favor of additional testimony, and shortly thereafter, public opinion among his constituents tanked.
But Quinn said he drafted the bill “weeks and weeks ago,” before Romney began facing criticism.
“Obviously I didn’t open this bill file after he made some of that news with impeachment, it would have never been drafted this quickly,” Quinn said. “So I can understand why people might think that, but if they understood the legislative process, this was well before that.”
Quinn said he drafted the bill because some of his constituents proposed returning Utah to a “pre-17th Amendment” time, when U.S. senators were appointed rather than elected. This kind of “mechanism” would be a “good” tool to have “in place to make any senator, current, or future, a little more accountable to those who elected him or her,” Quinn explained, noting, “Six years is a long time.”
The bill would allow legal voters to petition state lawmakers and vote on whether to recall a U.S. senator. Twenty-five percent of active voters would need to join the petition before the Utah lieutenant governor could place the recall question on the ballot.
“I think it’s a fairly large hurdle,” Quinn said. “That’s a lot of signature gathering. So it’s not something that people would take lightly if someone ever did want to recall a sitting senator.”