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Gov. Herbert: Maybe Courts Should Settle Dispute With Legislature Over Special Election



Gov. Gary Herbert says a courtroom may be the best option to settle a dispute between the legislature, attorney general and his office. The legislature has been in a power struggle with the governor for months over who has the authority to organize a special election.

Gov. Herbert has resisted allowing his attorney general to release a legal opinion on the 3rd district special election, which Herbert’s office organized after Rep. Jason Chaffetz stepped down this summer.

Members of the Republican-controlled legislature announced this week they’ll sue the attorney general to get him to release it. And Herbert said that’s fine with him.

“There’s a legitimate issue that maybe the courts need to decide," he said during his monthly news conference at KUED. "But it might be that we go and get clarification in other ways, and we're having discussion on that and we'll see what happens. I fully expect this is going to be resolved.”

He denied he’s trying to keep the document secret because of its contents.

“Let me just tell you, I don’t care what’s in the opinion,” he said. “it’s just an opinion, it may be good, it may not be good. But what we are concerned about is under our constitution the attorney general is required to be my legal counsel, and I have to listen to him.”

Herbert said that’s a form of attorney-client privilege and shouldn’t be shared with the public.


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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