Utah's Republican governor and the Republican Legislature get along very well, better than most executive/legislative branches in the country.
Still, some tension exists, and that's probably healthy. The branches of government have different roles, and it's expected and proper for each branch to protect its turf with some periodic push and pull. We've seen a little of that with the Legislature's new authority to call itself into special session.
I chatted with Speaker Brad Wilson on Wednesday, and he said working with the Herbert administration "has been a remarkably positive experience. We work hard to understand each other's perspectives. We sometimes agree to disagree, but it hasn't been personal. We're almost always able to find common ground."
Still, some legislators are chafing a bit over Utah still being in a state of emergency, as declared by the governor and extended each month. The state of emergency gives the governor the ability to suspend some state statutes and qualify for some federal funds. Wilson wouldn't say the governor has been wrong in extending the emergency status, but he said Utah should aspire to be the first state in the country to rescind the state of emergency.
"We think we can trust Utah citizens to do the right thing," Wilson said. "Being in a perpetual state of emergency is not an aspiration any of us have." He's not sure the issue would rise to the level that lawmakers would call themselves into a special session to lift the emergency status, but it's something they're clearly watching.
Reader Response. Stuart Reid responded to my comments on the presidential debate and said, "Your statement represents my exact sentiments.
"I will leave to partisan and media pundits the fight over who actually won the debate on points because it is not very relevant. In my view, Trump's overly combative performance will not help reverse the critical state polls he is trailing in, which ultimately means his performance did not help his reelection prospects.
"As long Trump tries to singularly satisfy himself and perhaps his base through his "take no prisoners" approach, he will not convince enough suburban women to vote for him again, necessary for him to win reelection. His choice to either ignore or dismiss this reality is nothing short of self-sabotaging political malpractice. I believe we will look back at this debate, which now may very well be the only debate, and recognize that last night is when Trump lost the election."
Parting shot. Speaker Wilson fully expects legislators to be at the Capitol for the session starting Jan. 25. "Lawmaking is best done in person," he told me. Legislators and others who may be vulnerable and don't want to risk being infected by the virus may still participate remotely. "We will take proper precautions, but I certainly plan on being at the Capitol," Wilson said. The speaker is correct. Remote lawmaking doesn't work very well. Debate is limited and it's hard for the public and interest groups to weigh in.