Impeachment process, pt. 1

Impeachment is an extremely rare and often misunderstood process. Over the past several weeks, Speaker Rebecca Lockhart has sent a number of e-mails to all 75 members of the House of Representatives regarding the impeachment process, and when or when it is not an appropriate course of action. Given the high interest in the topic, we’re reposting all of the information here on the blog in four separate posts — one for each e-mail. This is the first, sent May 23, 2013. The others can be found here:

Email 2

Email 3

Email 4

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Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the opportunity I have had over the past few months to speak with many of you and share thoughts and concerns about the various reports regarding our Attorney General. These conversations and considerations have led me to deep reflection. These are serious issues with serious potential consequences. I appreciate and value your insights and opinions. It is not surprising that our constituents are asking questions and offering input. I have always believed that good and accurate information enables us to make appropriate decisions. As Speaker, it is my responsibility to make sure you are prepared for any and all circumstances that may arise.

The Utah Constitution vests the Legislature with the power to make laws and appropriate taxpayer dollars. And we take these responsibilities very seriously. It also vests the House of Representatives with the power to impeach.

Impeachment is a process that is often misunderstood, and because of its rarity, seldom researched. As Speaker of the House, I’ve put considerable time and effort into this topic over the past several months — not as a reflection of someone’s innocence or guilt, but rather to be prepared for any situation with which we may be presented.

To that end, I’ve attached a few documents to this e-mail that will hopefully answer many of your questions. The first is a flow chart prepared by OLRGC that outlines the impeachment process and references the Utah Constitution, state statute and legislative rule where appropriate. Second, is a copy of the memo our General Counsel prepared for the Senate in late January of this year in response to their questions. I repeat, I do not send you these materials with any pre-determined outcome in mind. Please consider them as information to enable us to be prepared and informed about our responsibilities and to be the best possible representatives of the people.

One of the singular privileges of serving in the Utah House of Representatives is that we meet each challenge head on. We make difficult decisions. We carry out our fiduciary duties. We represent our constituents with fidelity.

It is my sincere hope that impeachment be something we never have to address. But in the event it has to happen, we will certainly be prepared.

Sincerely,
Speaker Becky Lockhart

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