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Carter v. Lehi: Utah Supreme Court's New Framework for Initiatives and Referendums

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February 10, 2012
Client Alert

In a recent opinion of the Supreme Court of the State of Utah (Carter v. Lehi, 2012 UT 2 (2012)), the court abandoned the prior framework it used for determining whether a matter is a proper use of the peopleʼs initiative power and set forth a new framework.

In the Carter case, a group of voters in Lehi sought to amend two city ordinances through two voter initiatives (one initiative sought to set maximum salary and compensation limits for salaried employees and the other initiative sought to impose a city residency requirement for certain employees). The city determined that the proposed amendments were not valid exercises of the votersʼ power to initiate legislation because they were administrative in nature. 

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