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Utah Lawmakers Look To Undermine Popular Election Of U.S. Senators

Some Republicans in the Utah State Senate want to move “the clock back 99 years to the era before the 17th Amendment was ratified,” the Salt Lake Tribune notes, with a bill that would let state lawmakers exert greater influence in the election of U.S. senators. Before the ratification of the 17th Amendment, state legislatures — not the people — elected senators. But a state Senate committee approved a bill to poll state senators on their preference for federal representation, a move that even Republican critics say undermines the popular election of U.S. senators and may be more about cronyism than good policy:

Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, was absent during the vote. But he said later that he opposes the resolution taking effect this year, fearing many will see it as a move to help former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, in his race against incumbent U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “I think people may see it as us trying to help a buddy, and the importance of what happened with the 17th Amendment may be lost,” he said.

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