Republicans and Democrats weigh in on new Attorney General Bill

By ABC 4 News

Published 01/05 2014 06:35PM

Updated 01/05 2014 06:58PM


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 UTAH) - New Attorney General Sean Reyes has been in office a week after being appointed by the governor to take over for embattled former attorney general, john swallow.

Now republicans and democrats are debating a new proposal.

“We would have a bipartisan panel screen all the applicants, recommend 5 names to the governor. The Governor would pick one and that person will be confirmed by the state senate,” said District 23 Senator Todd Weiler. “I think it is important that we get the best lawyer instead of the best politician and fundraiser. Recently we have been getting the best fundraiser and not the best lawyer.”

The lawyers he is referring are former attorney's general John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff.  The office became scrutinized after allegations surfaced including bribery, extortion and hiding campaign contributions though a non profit organization.

“I think people are going to see that we have an appointed attorney general and people are going to see that it is working and it is better than the one we elected before or two,” Senator Weiler said.

The bill as is says that the appointed attorney general will serve one term for six*years.  Democrats say that's not the right move and people should have the right to vote.

“I think keeping more public input more public oversight into the process is our most valued principle that we can keep in place at this time,” said District 44 State Representative Tim Cosgrove.

He understands that politician's sometimes abuse the process, but insists there is already a system in place to take care of it.

“Once the people have chosen the elected people then there are those checks in balances in place to keep things moving smoothly and in the best interest of Utah's citizens,” Representative Cosgrove added.

The governor’s office said they are open to this discussion and want the best for the state but for right now they have no position on this bill.

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