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Utah Dems chafe at being painted non-supporters of federal health reform

Published January 17, 2012 9:40 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Don't read too much into the fact that only one Utah Democratic lawmaker signed onto a friend of the court brief supporting President Obama's signature health overhaul.

It was either an oversight or they weren't invited, according to four of nearly a dozen legislators contacted for a story in last week's Tribune. Democrats responded a day after the story was published.

Salt Lake City Democratic Reps. Brian King and Carol Spackman Moss and Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City don't recall being invited to sign the brief prepared and filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by the Progressive States Network and Constitutional Accountability Center.

The legal document backs the constitutionality of the new health law, which is being challenged by 26 states, including Utah.

"Now that you have sent the link I will sign on," said Moss. "I am swamped with e-mails this time of year, plus meetings and briefings every day. Without any staff, it is a challenge to keep up with everything."

Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, recalls an e-mail solicitation, but says, "for whatever reason my focus was elsewhere and I never came back to it. I've signed on to other amicus briefs in support of the Affordable Care Act in the past so it, by no means, is indicative of a lack of support on my part. I simply am trying to prioritize my time, energy and personal resources in getting things done for the upcoming session."

Assistant Minority Whip King was angry that "the story and its headline leave the impression that Democrats who did not sign the petition are not willing to stand up and be counted as supporting the ACA."

He said he supports the law, believes it is constitutional and will consider signing the brief.

— Kirsten Stewart