The bill to give Utah a fourth seat in the House of Representatives has been hanging around for quite some time. It has not had too much coverage lately because very little has been happening with it. Yesterday I was surprised to see two editorials on the issue in Utah newspapers (Deseret News, Daily Herald). What really surprised me was that both editorials were against the bill. Back when this bill was getting more attention I was constantly disappointed that most of the coverage of the issue was supportive of the bill.
The reasons given for opposing the bill are that the other half of the legislation (giving Washington D.C. a voting member of the house) was unconstitutional. As the Deseret News pointed out, the goal of giving D.C. a voting member of the house is not without merit, but it is outside the scope of legislation. The proper way to accomplish this is to change the constitution, or make D.C. a state or part of a state. These are the same arguments I have been making on blog posts and comment boards ever since the issue was first raised. (Surprisingly, I discovered today that I have never talked about it here.)
The Deseret News offers one other reason to oppose the bill – timing. I have always argued that Utah should just wait until we get a new seat – we’re growing much faster than the country as a whole so we’ll gain new seats as the census gets updated. The editorial argues that the time is getting short enough now (only 3 years or less before we get new seats anyway) that Utah has nothing to gain by pushing legislation for a provisional seat in exchange for a (currently unconstitutional) permanent seat for D.C.