Governor vetoes Becky Lockhart Memorial Highway bill

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed a bill that would have renamed a portion of I-15 after former House Speaker Becky Lockhart.

The governor said he did not do it in response to the protests by some veterans groups, but at the request of the late-Speaker's family.

"This afternoon, I received a phone call from Stan Lockhart who requested I veto the bill and I have opted to honor his wishes. While I am disappointed by the controversy that seemed to diminish the Legislature’s recognition of Speaker Lockhart, I am committed to working with lawmakers and the Lockhart family to find an appropriate memorial to honor the memory of this historic leader," the governor said in a statement.

The legislature voted unanimously to pass House Bill 385, which would have renamed a chunk of freeway from Lehi to Spanish Fork in honor of Lockhart, the first woman Speaker of the House in Utah, who died earlier this year from an extremely rare neurodegenerative brain disorder. But I-15 is already named Veterans Memorial Highway, and some groups led demonstrations saying they felt it was disrespectful.

HB385 wasn't the only bill the governor vetoed on Wednesday:

Bill Number

Bill Name

Bill Sponsor

HB197

Educator Licensing Amendments

Coleman, K.

HB0385

Memorial Highway Designation

Stratton, K.

SB94

Corporate Franchise and Income Tax Amendments

Stephenson, H.

SB249

Trax Crossing Bars Operations Amendments

Jenkins, S.

SB278

Motion Picture Incentive Amendments

Bramble, C.

*SB3

Appropriations Adjustments

Hillyard, L.

He signed these remaining bills into law:

HB42

Annexation Amendments

Westwood, J.

HB115

Public Safety Retirement for Dispatchers

Powell, K.

HB291

Procurement Changes

Stratton, K.

HB351

Mountainous Planning District Amendments

Dee, B.

HB406

Natural Gas Vehicle Amendments

Handy, S.

SB2

New Fiscal Year Supplemental Appropriations Act

Hillyard, L.

SB79

Impeachment Amendments

Adams, J.S.

The governor also allowed some bills to become law without his signature, including one that gives executive branch members a pay raise beginning in 2017.

Bill Number

Bill Name

Bill Sponsor

HB368

Executive Office Compensation

Wilson, B.

SB71

Tax Commissioners' Compensation

Weiler, T.

SB116

Public School Dropout Recovery

Osmond, A.

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7 comments

  • Hunter

    That was a slap in veterans faces. Gov Herbert veterans never tried to diminish the recognition of mrs Lockhart , by your logic did the legislation not do
    the same thing by trying to take away a chunk of the memorial that honors those who sacrificed their lives so you and mrs Lockhart could be in the position that you are all in ( this means all politicians ). Mrs Lockhart deserves to be recognized, no one disputed that. Why the veterans highway, did Utah run out of other roads, parks or statues? The legislation still hasn’t explained why they chose to try to rename this part of this highway. Gov Herbert by publicly saying you vetoed the bill because of one single call, it sounds like you could care less about our war Heros voices.

    • trevor

      I agree that this was a bad move on the legislator’s part. I’m glad it was vetoed by the governor. Why couldn’t they rename Highway 89 through Orem? State Street. There are plenty of non-freeway roads that are renamed to honor people. The freeway is already honoring someone else, a lot of other people in fact. Why take that away from them? They already don’t get treated as well as they should when they finish their service. The VA hospital’s blunder is a good example of that. They need all the recognition they can get.

  • Finny Wiggen

    It was such a foolish move on the part of the legislature to do this, and frankly was a terrible dishonor to Lockheart’s name.

    It would have guaranteed that her name was taken in vain on a daily basis. If you take a poll, I bet upwards of 4 out of 5 people don’t even know who she was. Yes, her death was tragic, and I understand she was a wonderful person. But you don’t name a major street (one that millions of people use) after someone that virtually no one will remember (other than her family, neighbors, friends, and colleagues) in five years.

    It is not an insult to the veterans. That is a nonsensical argument. Rather, it is an insult to Becky herself. Every day people will see the sign and ask “who in the &&&& is that woman?” As I said, it guarantees her name will be taken in vain… daily!

    Had the legislature voted to name a wing of the capital building after her, this would have been an honor, because everyone who entered the building would know who she was. It would have had meaning for decades.

    What the legislature tried to do would have been the equivalent of naming the same stretch of freeway after my co-worker, who died a tragic death. This person was honorable and good… Yes, none of you knew them… but… They were good, so they deserve a freeway to be named after them!

    Much more appropriate to name a wing of the school where I teach after them than a freeway.

    Save honors like having a major street named after you for people the entire community know, and will remember. Like John Stockton. And no, I am not advocating that a freeway be named after him. I am simply illustrating that it requires that level of familiarity to even consider something so drastic as naming a street that millions use after someone.

  • Mimi

    I’m glad to hear it. The whole idea was stupid. Not anything against Becky Lockhart, but renaming part of the freeway after her was just dumb. I think there are other/better ways to keep her memory alive.

Comments are closed.

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