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A state lawmaker from Utah County says most of his colleagues want to move the prison to Salt Lake City.
But Rep. Jake Anderegg's informal vote count drew a stern rebuke Wednesday from the House co-chairman of the Prison Relocation Commission, Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville.
"I'm extremely disappointed that we have some lawmakers trying to bypass this very well thought-out process," Wilson said. "There is absolutely no way as chair of this commission that I am going to allow the interest of one community or a representative of one community to trump and discredit this four-year process."
The relocation process is approaching its conclusion. The commission, comprised of seven lawmakers, is expected to recommend a site by Aug. 1. They have four finalists to choose from, including one west of the Salt Lake City International Airport, one in Grantsville and two in northern Utah County, near Anderegg's Lehi district. He wants the prison to move just not to the sites in Eagle Mountain or nearby Fairfield.
Anderegg told the Deseret News, "The political will is to move it to Salt Lake City." And he said he has 58 votes in the House and 21 in the Senate, which would be veto-proof majorities.
Wilson said Anderegg never talked to him nor any member of the House's Republican leadership team. He also said no House member told him about any straw poll.
"We will make a decision based on facts and not political interests," he said.
A technical review of the four sites is underway and will likely take at least another month. Then the commission is expected to recommend a site and the Legislature would have a chance to vote on it.
Anderegg is not the only state lawmaker who has mentioned a preference for moving the prison to Salt Lake City. Rep. David Lifferth, R-Eagle Mountain, got in some hot water in January for publicly disclosing a private conversation he had with Gov. Gary Herbert, in which the governor said he favored the airport site. Herbert's spokesman said that the governor wasn't trying to state a policy preference.