NewsLocal News


What board, legislators left on table when disciplining Cline

Posted at 12:41 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 19:13:48-05

SALT LAKE CITY — After being censured by the Utah legislature and stripped of committee assignments on the state's Board of Education, what powers does Natalie Cline still maintain and what punishments did lawmakers leave on the table?

Cline represents District 9 in the state, stretching across southwest Salt Lake County, including parts of West and South Jordan, Riverton and Herriman.

Legislators have said they are leaving it to the voters in this year’s election to determine whether Cline should continue serving on the board. Meanwhile, because of options not pursued by either the state school board or the legislature, Cline still has significant powers.

On Wednesday, the board also asked Cline to resign, while stripping her of all committee assignments, prohibiting her from placing items on the agenda and from attending board advisory committee meetings.

But it still means Cline can attend general board meetings where final decisions get made, as well as cast votes at those meetings and make or second motions. Cline will also have access to board resources such as email, staff and office space.

Cline will also receive a per diem and reimbursement for travel, which state records show she’s been receiving about $10,000 a year.

As far as the legislature goes, Gov. Spencer Cox signed off on the bill that officially censured Cline, but stopped short of impeachment. During his monthly news conference, Cox claimed the board's discipline effectively

"Whether or not she’s impeached is immaterial because that’s what happened. She’s not participating in meetings, she’s not participating in committees. She no longer has authority to even put agenda items," the governor said.

Well, no.

Impeachment could have done more. Assuming, of course, Cline was convicted in the Utah Senate, senators could have removed her from office.

According to the impeachment statute, the Senate could have also disqualified Cline “to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit in the state.” That means senators could have prevented Cline from ever holding elected office again.

The Utah Board of Education has yet to say whether it would lift the prohibitions against Cline if she wins reelection in November.