We are delighted to welcome Lauren Reynolds as a summer intern through the U of U Hinckley Institute. Lauren is an Environmental and Sustainability Studies major at the U, she did volunteer lobbying with HEAL Utah during the legislative session, and she will be helping with two projects this summer that are on very different parts of the campaigning spectrum:

1) On the outreach front, there’s a play! Last year, after a discussion with Dave and Hinckley interns Bobby and Sierra I agreed to write a script for a training video about how to do volunteer signature-gathering… and it turned into a play! The play is a romantic comedy, it’s called Seize the Initiative!, and it’s going to premiere at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival July 26 – Aug 4. The director, Snow College theater professor Josh Patterson, is holding auditions this Saturday,so click the link for more details about that (or to read the script or otherwise learn more).

Lauren will be working on building support for the campaign via the play (e.g., tabling at performances), and she’ll also be helping on the legal front, because that’s the other endeavor we’ve been working on:

2) On the legal front, we filed a lawsuit. The state Supreme Court has said that ballot measures and the state legislative process have “equal dignity”, but the “Same or Similar Ban” (see 20A-7-205(5)(v)) effectively says that ballot measure efforts like ours can only be run every 4 years. We don’t think this is “equal dignity” given that state legislators can—and do!—introduce similar bills year after year, so we filed a lawsuit (PDF) challenging the Same or Similar Ban. (We filed the lawsuit “pro se“, meaning that we’re representing ourselves without legal counsel, but we did spend $1,000 on some excellent legal advice, so if you’d like to support our effort please consider a donation.) The next step is to see if the state Supreme Court agrees to consider our case; we have asked the court to move quickly, and hopefully they will agree in the next few weeks to hear our case, but ultimately the court follows its own timetable. So… fingers crossed, stay tuned for more, and holler anytime with questions, comments, or suggestions!

In other news: Carbon tax champion Joel Briscoe (Democract repesenting SLC in the state House) is facing a competitive primary race for his seat; please support him! Elsewhere, we are continuing to wait for the developments elsewhere, including (1) the state Supreme Court’s upcoming decision about the anti-gerrymandering lawsuit, and (2) the state constitutional amendment about education funding and the state sales tax on groceries that is heading for the ballot in November. But note that there will NOT be a second state constitutional amendment (at least not this November) to require a 60% supermajority vote for any ballot measure that includes a new tax or tax increase.