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Special Session called for Swallow investigation

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – The Utah Legislature will convene in Special Session next Wednesday to address laws concerning the investigation of embattled Attorney General John Swallow.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – The Utah Legislature will convene in Special Session next Wednesday to address laws concerning the investigation of embattled Attorney General John Swallow.

Governor Gary R. Herbert signed a proclamation Friday summoning the lawmakers to meet on July 17 at 12:30 p.m.

“I have called the Legislature into Special Session to address some pressing legislative items that require attention,” said Herbert. “These are timely issues that should be appropriately addressed by the Legislature on their regularly scheduled July interim day to ensure a more thorough and efficient legislative process.”

Speaker of the House, Becky Lockhart (R), emailed House lawmakers about the session. She said the meeting is necessary to ensure a fair and thorough investigation of Swallow. 

In the letter, Lockhart writes, “As I have stated many times, the people of Utah want answers and information. We are meeting that need. But we must do it in the right way, so that everyone can have confidence in the outcome – whatever that may be.”

The legislature is set to talk about technical changes regarding subpoena powers, the ability to use out of state attorney, and the possibility of offering immunity to people who may testify in the investigation.

More significantly, lawmakers are set to address changes to open meetings and records access.

House Majority Leader Brad Dee (R) is sponsoring the two bills. He said the changes to open meetings or records may be necessary.

“As we do the investigation there may be times that we would need to hold certain testimony private until the investigation is complete,” Dee said.

Once the investigation is complete, Dee said anything held back would be made public.

Eric Ethington, Editor of the Utah Political Capitol website, said lawmakers must be savvy in making that decision.

“If they public perceives this investigation as going off the record or going behind closed door the public won’t have any faith in it and that could put some real damage to their credibility,” Ethington said.

It is still unclear who will be a part of the 9 member House committee. Lockhart is expected to make the announcement soon.

Click here to read Ethington's post about the Special Session, which includes the full email from Lockhart to House Representatives and the two bills set to be introduced Wednesday.


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