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Niederhauser said a key reason the Legislature has never allowed abstaining is "that also can be abused. If you don’t want to vote on a tough bill, you just abstain" — and rules would essentially make it a negative vote because most bills must achieve a majority of the Senate or House to pass.
"We’re here to make the tough decisions," Niederhauser said. "We don’t want a system that will give any kind of incentive to let the legislators avoid some of those hard decisions."
Utah Legislature and conflicts
The 104 members of the state Legislature are part-time state officials who make their primary living from other occupations and businesses. While legislators must file conflict-of-interest statements prior to the session, nothing requires conflicts to be declared during debate. Utah also has an odd rule that senators and representatives must vote on all bills on the floor, potential conflict or not.
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