The Utah Constitution should be amended to make it impossible for state legislatures to repeal, replace or change initiatives passed by citizens. Although, some may argue citizens do not have the means or knowledge to create initiatives due to their lack of political skills. The Utah Constitution needs to be amended because initiatives are a product of the Progressive Era that acts as a form of direct democracy and allows eligible voters to become active members of their democracy.
Within our nation, we have the privilege of holding elections and voting for our government officials – as many other nations do. However, these elections are very crucial to our democracy, especially when it comes to state elections. When it comes to voting, we traditionally vote for officials who reflect our own political parties — however, officials sometimes have the tendency to sway their beliefs once elected. Elected officials should not be allowed to go against the majority – even though majorities can be wrong it is the duty of the government to work for the people. Initiatives are an independent power of the people. Anthony Johnstone, a law professor at the University of Montana Blewett School of Law, stated in his journal entry, “The initiative process, in contrast, checks and balances the legislature through its allocation of legislative power to the people themselves” initiatives are a form of direct democracy that allows the citizens of the state to oversee their state legislature. Initiatives also allow each eligible voter to directly state their opinion on a matter without any interference from the legislature. State legislatures should not be able to alter or influence initiatives. According to the Harvard Law Review, “With initiatives, each person can cast his or her own vote instead of relying on a perhaps-unaccountable representative; thus, all eligible voters can participate in decision-making instead of only a select few… finally, each person’s vote is counted equally, so no one has more influence because of status or other factors”. Many citizens believe their votes do not affect elections; initiatives should give citizens the peace of mind of knowing their voices will be heard.
In 2018, Utah citizens and a group called Better Boundaries created an initiative to decrease the use of partisan gerrymandering. Partisan gerrymandering is a result of Utah’s declining voter participation. The citizens voted and passed an initiative that would create an independent redistricting commission. The Utah State Legislature quickly combated this initiative by attempting to repeal it altogether. Better Boundaries later sued the state legislature due to discriminatory practices – there is currently an ongoing redistricting lawsuit. The Utah Legislature is trying to get the case dismissed, however, the judge presiding over the case has ruled to move forward. Better Boundaries claims that there is still an extreme and egregious amount of gerrymandering practices that are still being passed by the Utah Legislature; Paul Gibbs, a member of Better Boundaries added, “It just makes no sense to have a constitutional right for voters to be involved, to have that co-legislative right to pass laws, to have them immediately overwritten and changed by legislators”. Many Utah citizens believe that the state legislature is more interested in listening to the voices of religious groups, corporations, and special interest groups. According to Deseret News, Utahans have a high percentage of distrust in the federal government, “83% of Utahns believe either the state or local government, not the Feds, should make key decisions that impact them” – by repealing or changing initiatives Utahans could no longer be in favor of their government. The government’s sole purpose is to abide by its citizens – the Utah Legislature is no longer doing that.
Initiatives have proved themselves to be necessary for the function of our democracy. It is much more beneficial for the state of Utah to be run as a direct democracy. State legislatures believe initiatives are flawed and unorganized due to the freedom it gives the people. Allowing citizens to directly voice their opinions should not be considered a threat to the legislation. Citizens have the means and the knowledge to determine which policies are beneficial to their democracy — we need to remove the state’s influence and give the power back to the people.
Benjamin Gerald, and Thomas Gais. Constitutional Conventionphobia. 1st ed., vol. 1, ser. 6, Hofstra Law & Policy Symposium, 1996.
Ferraiolo, Kathleen. Preserving the Initiative: State Legislative Response to Direct Democracy, 4th ed., vol. 39, James Madison University, 2007, pp. 425–448. Polity.
Johnstone, Anthony. The Separation of Legislative Powers in the Initiative Process. 1st ed., vol. 101, University of Montana Blewett School of Law, 2022. 
“Making Ballot Initiatives Work: Some Assembly Required.” Harvard Law Review, vol. 123, no. 4, 2010, pp. 959–80. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40648472.
Gonzalez, Sydnee. “Do Utah Lawmakers Listen to the People They Serve? Most Voters Say No.” The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Dec. 2020, https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2020/12/16/do-utah-lawmakers-listen/.Webb, Frank Pignanelli, LaVarr. “Utahns Prefer State, Local Governments. Here’s The Evidence.” Deseret News, Deseret News, 8 Dec. 2019, https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2019/12/8/20997347/utahns-prefer-state-local-governments-heres-the-evidence.