Update: May 18, 2007 - The bulk of my post will remain unchanged, although since posting it my opinion has changed based on what I have since learned about what Utah law says about referendums. See Emily's comments at the bottom of the post for more insight into my change of heart.
When a law exists, it is brazen for anyone, let alone a governmental entity, to announce that it will not follow or implement the law. For reasons that the State of Utah might possibly be sued over the law, the Utah State Board of Education has refused to implement what the Legislature required by majority vote in its last session. It has not been found that that vote was obtained fraudulently.
Attorney General Mark Shurtliff recently reminded the State Board members of their duty.
In a response letter mailed [by the State Board of Education] Monday, Shurtleff, as the "constitutionally designated sole legal adviser" to the board," wrote in bold type, "it is incumbent upon the Board to implement the voucher program through HB174 immediately!"
Now let's see whether the State Board still balks, this time from its direct line of authority in the executive branch of government.
It is not the concern of the State Board whether a lawsuit will ensue. (Sometimes I seriously wonder whether State Board members wouldn't actually welcome such a suit, and whether some may even solicit one if the need arises.)
If the referendum passes in November, then further voucher scholarships would have to be discontinued. However, the law currently is that such scholarships should be awarded. In a spirit of integrity, it is time to get on with the program. (By the way, hypothetically, how should the people of Utah feel if it were such that our State Board of education continued to award voucher scholarships following a defeat of the law? We should be equally incensed that a government entity thwarts the law, regardless of what the law is.)
The State Board of Education's actions illustrate that the main motivation behind their and many other Utah state educators' backing of a referendum on the issue (which they hope will overturn the law) is not that they think that a victory for vouchers was underhandedly won. It is that they simply do not want public choice to rear its head in Utah for fear (rightly so) that when parents fully understand the magnificence of the choices placed before them. that genie will never be put back in its lamp.