ST. GEORGE — The bill to rename a stretch of Southern Utah highways after President Donald Trump has been dropped.
Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, told St. George News he was worn out after receiving heavy criticism about the bill. He dropped the bill Wednesday afternoon. The bill would have renamed the Utah National Parks Highway, which includes hundreds of miles of roads around Southern Utah’s national parks, to the “Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway.”
With the bill now dropped, the highway will remain called the Utah National Parks Highway.
Part of the reason the bill wouldn’t have gotten as much support from lawmakers is because it’s an election year, Noel told St. George News.
“I believe we had a majority of the House that would have supported this. Some told me they’d support it, but that they’d have a tough election this year so they couldn’t vote for it.”
Noel said he probably could have pushed harder for the bill to be passed, but this year wasn’t the time. He said he got many calls and emails from people concerned about naming the highway after Trump.
“For one thing, the reason for this bill would have been to thank the president for downsizing Utah’s national monuments,” Noel said. “He has been really helpful and very good for Utah.”
The bill had received pushback from Democrats and even Gov. Gary Herbert, who said he doesn’t think it’s the right time to name a highway after Trump.
Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, also mocked Noel’s idea to rename the highway, saying he would propose amendments that would rename the frontage road along the highway after Stormy Daniels, the porn star who is now suing Trump over an alleged affair and hush agreement.
“I just want the Legislature to understand the level of disrespect that a lot of citizens are feeling by this notion of awarding him this most special byway in the United States,” Dabakis said.
It’s hard for people to honor Trump when there are things like the Stormy Daniels lawsuit hanging over his head, Noel said.
“The public is not very forgiving when it comes to that kind of stuff,” Noel said.
Possibly after Trump is no longer president, Noel said he may still consider sponsoring another bill to rename the highway after Donald Trump.
“There are so many people who will support this idea of honoring him,” Noel said.
The bill had passed a House committee with a favorable recommendation but, before it was dropped, it received a near-unanimous motion to temporarily postpone action on the bill when it was brought up Wednesday morning on the House floor.
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