This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah lawmakers looking to make a statement want to change the oath of office and require elected officials to swear to defend Utah's Constitution first, ahead of the U.S. Constitution.
Currently, all constitutional officers swear to "support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this state."
Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, had proposed a constitutional amendment to swap "this state" with "the State of Utah."
But Republicans on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee had other ideas, amending the language to put the Utah Constitution ahead of the U.S. Constitution in the oath.
Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, noted that the U.S. Constitution is the "supreme law of the land," and the order as it is now is appropriate.
Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, said state lawmakers are elected to act as protectors of the state and its constituents against the federal government.
"[The change] reflects our duty as state legislators to first and foremost uphold the Constitution and make sure the federal Constitution does not run roughshod over the state Constitution," Greene said. "This is a delicate balance and I certainly recognize that, but it's also a special charge we have as state legislators."
Powell said he did not intend to send any sweeping messages with his bill, but did not object to the revision.
The committee voted to change the language and sent the bill to the full House for consideration. Since it would require changing the state Constitution, it would need two-thirds support from both the House and Senate to go before voters in the 2016 election for approval.