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Rather than having voters elect the state’s top attorney, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, wants a panel of legal experts to vet candidates for the job and then send five names to the governor, who would pick one. That appointee would be subject to Senate confirmation, serve for six years, and be ineligible for reappointment.
The idea, Weiler said, is to insulate the position from fundraising and campaign pressures.
"Unlike the governor and the Legislature, the attorney general gets to decide who gets prosecuted and who gets a pass," Weiler said. "It’s a special power. And when you commingle that power with fundraising, it can yield some pretty unhealthy results, which is what we’ve seen unfold over the past year."
Even so, 55 percent of Utahns are against such a change, while 21 percent support it.
Weiler said he recognizes he has his work cut out for him, getting two-thirds support from the Legislature during the upcoming session. But he said he believes the next few months under Attorney General Sean Reyes will help his case.
"We have an appointed attorney general right now," Weiler said, "and I think people are going to see it’s working just fine."
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