A "Resolution in Support of Governor Gary Herbert and the 66% by 2020 Vision" was barely passed by a 39 to 36 vote of the Republican Party’s State Central Committee.
The resolution was brought to the floor with only minutes remaining in the meeting and was personally presented by the state's Lieutenant Governor, Greg Bell.
Despite a limited opportunity for opponents to present their case, the resolution which “commends Governor Herbert and other stake holders for their vision of Utah’s future” only managed to pass by three votes. Some of those voting subsequently acknowledged that they did not understand the resolution and would have voted against it had they better understood it.
Speaking against the resolution, former U.S. Senate candidate Cherilyn Eager focused on the costs associated with the initiative and asked Committee members to refrain from putting legislators in a bad situation.
Stan Lockhart, spouse of House Speaker Becky Lockhart, spoke in favor of the resolution saying that it was simply a workforce statement putting forth what is needed to prepare Utah children for jobs of the future.
A third speaker said that the 2020 vision did not reflect Republican values.
When the vote was taken, state auditor, “Frugal" John Dougall was among those voting against it.
Governor Herbert and the powerful groups behind 66% by 2020 may portray passage of the resolution as a significant victory. However, the reality is that even with the resolution being brought to the floor at the last minute, a lack of time for those with concerns to make their points and the presentation by the Lt. Governor, the resolution barely passed.
Given the division within the State Central Committee, Republican legislators may now give the 66% by 2020 initiative more careful scrutiny than otherwise would have been the case.