Our “Political Insiders” mostly say Prop. 4, the “Better Boundaries” initiative, won’t survive the legislature unscathed if it’s approved by voters in November.

Prop. 4 establishes a 7-person independent commission to come up with recommendations for redrawing the political boundaries in the once-a-decade redistricting process. Under the initiative, the legislature either has to accept the proposals or reject them as a whole. If they scrap the plan presented by the commission, they must cite specific reasons where the commission did not follow the rules outlined in the initiative.

Critics of Prop. 4 say the initiative infringes on the constitutional role given to lawmakers in the redistricting process. In fact, some lawmakers have told UtahPolicy.com they could move to “fix” some parts of the initiative they view as problematic.

Our “Insider” panel and readers expect lawmakers to make good on that pronouncement. All three of those groups expect the legislature to change the initiative if enacted by voters this year. However, they’re not sure what the magnitude of those changes will be.

  • 55% of the Republicans who responded to our survey said lawmakers would make major changes to Prop. 4, while 27% said they would only make minor adjustments.

  • 43% of the Democrats on our panel think lawmakers will make minor changes, while 36% believe significant changes are coming.

  • ⅔ of our readers expect lawmakers to make changes to Prop. 4 if it passes.

 

Selected anonymous comments:

Prop. 4 is nothing but an attempt to give a leg up for the Democratic Party in Utah. It claims to be unbiased but is quite clearly a left-leaning partisan assault on Utah Republicans. The legislature would be foolhardy to allow it to stand if it is passed.

Lawmakers will appropriately reclaim their constitutional responsibilities. There is no such thing an “independent” commission. D’s do not want gerrymandering UNLESS it gerrymanders more seats for them at the State Capitol and in DC.

There is no such thing as a nonpartisan commission. People who say they are nonpartisan are either lying or don’t believe in anything.

Lawmakers will be tempted to make big changes if Prop. 4 passes, but their actions will be attenuated by the voter mandate, a.k.a. will of the people.

They’ve proven repeatedly, that they don’t care what their constituents want and they do whatever suits them.

Some faithless lawmakers will try to make major changes to undo the voters' will. I hope there are enough faithful lawmakers to carry it out. The rulers hate it when the ruled speak.

This is a case where if it passes, I hope lawmakers completely repeal it. Moving redistricting power away from the legislature just moves that power farther away from voters to an unaccountable bureaucratic body. It violates the idea that power should be checked and balanced. Voters are the check on the legislature, but independent commissions have no check and are therefore dangerous. I would hope the legislature would undo this terrible initiative if it should pass.

Redistricting and term limits probably make many lawmakers, no matter whether they are local, state or national, week in the knees. A political office must be (I have never run, so I don't know for sure.) a great rush of some kind. Then, people think that you might be cool and imbued with great wisdom. You might think that you are better looking than you used to be. You get asked for favors, invited to "things", maybe even sit on a "board" or two. The sun shines brighter. Your teeth may even seem whiter. Why mess up the opportunity you must be on the adoration (among other things) gravy train. You don't need to cling to office like the high school quarterback that still wears his letter jacket after graduating 40 years ago. Let's face it, folks, you have fans in your bathrooms just like the rest of us. Get serious. Get the job done. Do some good and get out.

While it would be a completely despicable thwarting of the will of the people, I fear this power-hungry legislature will completely gut Prop. 4. I hope I am wrong. We need Prop. 4.

Lawmakers would be fools to make major changes if it passes.

Our legislature jealously guards all its powers and is always working on gaining more (attempting to amend the Constitution so it can call itself into special session). They won't allow this to stand if it passes and they will continue to use the redistricting process to inappropriately redraw boundaries that favor incumbents and harm Democrats.

It's a rather toothless initiative so they won't find much of a reason to change it.

They will try to repeal it and do everything they can to get rid of it. I wonder how long the voters will tolerate being ignored. A long time, probably, looking at the history of school funding.

As usual, the legislature will not pay any attention to what the voters decide.

Our esteemed legislators have a history of completely ignoring Utah voters if the voters disagree with what the legislature's leaders want to impose on the state. I predict that Prop. 4 will pass handily, then be totally emasculated by the legislature. Just for the record, I've been working to get Prop. 4 passed, but don't believe that more than a small minority of legislators have any intention to change the way things are done.

Both incumbent Republicans and Democrats want to keep the existing system. Legislators of both parties manipulate the process to increase the likelihood they will be re-elected. Republicans allow the Democrats a few safe districts and the incumbent Democrats support the Republican plan because it benefits them individually.

There's no way our esteemed legislature in their infinite wisdom can keep their hands off anything that the voters want.

Depends on the size of the majority. If large, they might know better than to tinker with it. In general, lawmakers better give the independent redistricting commission a chance to work, or they'll face wrath from supporters. They might want to eliminate the private right of action (because they hate being sued), but they better not tinker with the standards in Prop. 4.

Lawmakers will learn they'd have to explain to the voters of Utah why they don't want a little less conflict of interest and a little more transparency. As it currently stands, they get a bad rap publicly when they aren't listening to the will of the people. For the same reasons they never give themselves a raise (which I believe they should), they will ultimately realize this is what's best for the state.

Redistricting (gerrymandering) is the most powerful tool Republicans have to retain power. They won’t give up this tool without a fight.

They're terrified of having to face fair elections.

I think the Republican party will do whatever they can to quash the spirit of Prop. 4. They do not want a fair playing field. But ultimately it will be up to the courts. The writers of the proposition took this into account. I think Republicans will change some, but most of Prop. 4 will remain.

My thought is ultimately whether or not the measure passes by a wide margin. If it passes 51-49, we could see it change in a dramatic fashion. If it passes 60-40, I could see initiative being left either mostly or entirely intact. I'd like to think that it wouldn't be repealed, but I'm reminded of the South Dakota legislature repealing an anti-corruption initiative in 2016.

I strongly support Prop. 4, but the legislature will gut it. Unlike the similar initiative ten years ago, this one has flown under the radar until this point and will likely pass. With the lack of public outcry, the legislature would not have felt they would face significant political consequences anyway, and now the Marijuana Initiative compromise is providing the perfect pretext to cut the so-called "flawed" provisions from the redistricting initiative or repeal it entirely. That is a shame. The congressional seats rightfully draw a lot of attention, but the legislative districts are sliced up each time--by BOTH parties--to benefit individuals and their political ambitions rather than best representing communities.