Voters favor proposed constitutional amendment empowering lawmakers to call themselves into special session

(Steve Griffin | Tribune file photo) Speaker of the House Greg Hughes applauds as Senate President Wayne Niederhauser shakes hands with Gov. Gary Herbert as he leaves the Utah House of Representatives after giving his State of the State address in Salt Lake City, Jan. 24, 2018.

In the balance-of-power fight between Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Legislature, lawmakers had the upper hand in unofficial vote results Tuesday.

Amendment C, which would change the Utah Constitution to allow lawmakers to call themselves into special session, had piled up a 63 percent to 37 percent lead as of 10:45 p.m.

Lawmakers had approved the proposal last March by a two-thirds margin. They said that many states have such a provision and it makes sense because giving the governor sole discretion to call a special session makes for an out-of-whack power balance.

The governor and allies countered with the argument that this provision of the constitution has worked fine for more than a century and doesn’t require adjustment.

Proponents did not campaign for the ballot measure, with lawmakers saying they did not feel it appropriate to do so, and most had re-election campaigns of their own to worry about.

Herbert did campaign against the measure, although indirectly, providing almost all of the funding of an anti-Amendment C political issues campaign run by his former spokesman and campaign manager.