Utah House opens resolution to address actions of education board member Natalie Cline
Feb 9, 2024, 11:57 AM | Updated: Feb 10, 2024, 11:49 am
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House of Representatives took the first step of initiating possible punishment for Utah State Board Member Natalie Cline for a recent post she made about a female high school basketball player.
The House voted unanimously to open a bill file titled “Resolution to Address State School Board Member Natalie Cline.”
“Impeachment’s on the table. Everything’s on the table.” House Speaker Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, told reporters following that vote.
The resolution allows the House to begin conversations, and get much-needed input from legislative lawyers, about what Cline’s punishment could be, including impeachment. The bill file is not specifically an article of impeachment. But that could be coming.
BREAKING: The Utah House just opened a resolution to address recent actions of State School Board Member Natalie Cline.
“This is the responsibility of the legislature,” says Rep. Spendlove.
This allows them to start talking about impeachment and other options. @KSL5TV
— Lindsay Aerts (@LindsayOnAir) February 9, 2024
Schultz said another option: empowering the state school board to impeach her. He said that it has been confirmed to him that the Legislature has the constitutional authority to give them power of impeachment.
“We’re going the be methodical, we’re going to be thoughtful,” said Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Kaysville.
The Cline controversy started when she posted images of a Utah high school girls basketball team with the comment, “Girls’ basketball…” that drew vitriolic comments about gender identity.
On Wednesday, the Granite School District said it had significant concerns with the apparent intent of Cline’s post and was working to ensure the safety and well-being of the student. KSL is not sharing the name of the school or the student’s identity.
Cline apologized for the post and removed it, but leaders and organizations around Utah, as well as a student-athlete’s parents, have called for Cline to resign her position with the Utah State Board of Education, where she is an elected official. Gov. Spencer Cox was among those condemning Cline’s actions.
Cline said in a Facebook post apology Wednesday that she “previously shared a public advertisement for a school basketball game” she said was sent to her by multiple concerned parents. “It created a firestorm around one of the players pictured.”
The student’s parents spoke with KSL TV and said Cline should resign.
Four members of the state board of education spoke out Thursday, condemning Cline’s actions.
“I’ve asked reached out to board leadership yesterday and today, urging them to call an emergency executive session where matters like this are addressed. I’m disappointed that we haven’t had one yet,” said board member Joseph Kerry, R–Ogden. Cline did not attend a scheduled board meeting Thursday and was not present online.
— Lindsay Aerts (@LindsayOnAir) February 8, 2024
Many suggested things like a censure, to strip her of committees, possibly even take away her ability to speak or vote. Board member Brent Strate said he wants the maximum punishment Cline can get from the board.
“Here’s a minor, here’s a young female basketball player at a school, and she’s being targeted by an adult. And, you know, that just cannot stand. As adults, we have to be responsible for our actions. It’s a sad day,” he said.