In his last year serving in the Utah Legislature, Rep. Tim Quinn of District 54 encountered two major unexpected developments—on a global scale, the Covid-19 pandemic; and on the Wasatch Back, Hideout’s controversial annexation into Summit County.
Quinn said the pandemic was hard on everybody. He said he’s not going to bash the state government for its response to it.
“There are some places—Park City being one of them, or Salt Lake City—where there were much more stringent restrictions put in place. And in some cases, that did what it was intended to do, and in others, it didn’t. But I’m not going to applaud or bash the governor because he was in a very, very difficult situation, with an unknown virus and how it would mutate, how it would spread, how it wouldn’t spread, how long were we contagious, could we get re-infected. So I think he’s done the best job he could based on the information that was presented to him. Other states have done different things, which I completely disagree with, because it has drastically harmed their economy, with not much different results, in what the state of Utah or states that didn’t have what I would consider draconian measures put in place.”
Concerning Hideout, that town was enabled by legislation passed on Capitol Hill last spring that allowed a municipality to annex into a county without their permission.
Quinn noted he was the only House member to vote against the bill, which he said was approved under murky circumstances. He said it was a black eye for the Legislature and for the cause of transparency.
“This is what’s wrong, I believe, was what’s wrong with government. If you think you have a good idea, then be upfront and honest with that idea. And if it is good, it’ll carry the day. Don’t try to do things in the dark. And I believe this bill started out in the dark. And certainly the repeal, with the extension, 60-day extension before it went into place was certainly done in the dark. And it’s a black eye on government. And in my opinion, it should be. Not because of the policy. If it’s a policy you like, fantastic. If it’s a policy you dislike, fantastic. But be open and transparent and do things in the light of day.”
Quinn said he regretted that he didn’t notice last summer’s repeal still left Hideout with a 60-day window before it took effect. But he said that a special session only allows a limited time to deal with a lot of bills.
He said the problem here wasn’t lobbyists, per se.
“Some of the lobbyists involved with that may have done some things during the session, on the original bill, that were a little less than honest and forthright with the sponsors of the bill, by telling certain members of the Legislature, “Hey, this is just kind of a technical clean-up bill that everybody’s in favor. There’s no opposition” and that was not the truth. But again, when we had an opportunity to repeal it, and we did, and I think that was the right move, there still should have been a more open conversation about the 60-day window, and what that would have allowed. Now we see retrospectively, what it did allow, and Hideout pushed through what I think the vast majority of citizens, in that area of Summit County and that area of Wasatch County, were vehemently opposed to.”