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Valentine to step down from Senate to chair tax commission

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Posted at 2:42 PM, Aug 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-04 16:42:05-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. John Valentine will resign from the Utah State Senate to chair the Utah State Tax Commission.

Governor Gary Herbert announced Valentine’s appointment on Monday, pending approval from the Senate. It means that Valentine, R-Orem, will give up his powerful posts in the Senate.

“I’ve been there 26 years,” Valentine said in an interview Monday with FOX 13.

Valentine, a tax attorney, will now administer tax law as chairman of the Utah State Tax Commission. He will now be enforcing many of the tax laws he drafted as a legislator.

“I’ll actually get to see first-hand what I thought would be great policies at work,” he said.

Valentine, who is chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee, is most known for his liquor legislation, although he said it was a small percentage of the bills he ran in the Utah State Legislature.

“I think some will be cheering and some will be crying,” he said.

While he did away with the private club membership rules, he did insist restaurants put what became called “Zion Curtains,” separate preparation areas where customers cannot see drinks being made.

Valentine told FOX 13 he is interested in “keeping a balance” in liquor laws, and hoped no one would seek to undo some of the laws he passed.

“There is a hospitality side, and there is a public safety side,” he said. “I think that there will be people that will take up the same causes that I have taken up, because those causes were right. It’s not just a free for all no matter what we do in liquor legislation, it’s going to be a balance in public safety and public society costs vs. the hospitality end. Those are legitimate, competing considerations.”

Valentine’s move to the Utah State Tax Commission is pending approval from the Senate, which will consider the governor’s nomination in September.