Neither I, nor my office, was involved in the voucher debate until Governor Huntsman asked for an opinion on the effect of House Bill 174 and whether it could stand on its own should HB 148, the other voucher bill, be rejected on a referendum vote. State law required me to give my legal opinion, and to begin with the presumption that HB 174 was valid.Guess all those quotes about him insisting, demanding, mandating compliance by the State Board with his "opinion" were wrong. Oh, that's another thing Shurtleff cleared up. Remember when he said, "I have given them my opinion, I am the attorney general, and until a court stays the implementation of that law you have a duty as a public agency to obey the law." Well, it wasn't so much "his" opinion as, like, other people's:
With the help of several attorneys within our office (Democrats and Republicans, voucher proponents and opponents) we arrived at the conclusion that HB 174 was imperfect, but it still contained enough information to be considered a valid law. It was passed as a separate bill and signed by the governor and was not challenged by the referendum process. The Utah Supreme Court reached a different conclusion. I respect the judicial process and am pleased there is clarity for voters.Remember, there's no I in We!
Yep, those other people in his office really screwed up. It takes all the fun out of press conferences and getting one's picture in the paper if the people who come up with your opinions are just going to make you look silly. Because we all know that Shurtleff would have welcomed contrary opinions with open arms, would happily have rendered any random opinion that his underlings came up with, even one that irritated a conservative base that is already mad at him for being an illegal immigrant coddler. Thank goodness they came up with one that would fly well at, say, a GOP convention in which senatorial candidates are chosen...
The rest of Shurtleff's letter is on KCPW's site. Our executive summary: "Don't be mad at me. I might make it through the GOP convention, but I'll still need your votes in the general election."