Committed to Promoting the Principles of Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government,
Participatory Republic, Free Market Economy, Family and Separation of Powers
Annual Report Card on Utah Legislature
How Did Your Representatives Represent You in 2005?
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of 2005
The Good: For the ninth straight year, hate crimes legislation, which creates inequality under the law, when this year’s version died in committee. In a change from years past, the legislature did not pass a general bond. Key legislation passing this year included RDA reform and legislation which prevents illegal aliens from obtaining drivers licenses. Legislation which would have undermined Amendment 3 (which stated that marriage was between a man and a woman) was also defeated in committee.
The Bad: While Utah legislators should be commended for not passing a huge bonding bill as in year’s past, they still managed to find ways to spend the surplus revenue which came into the state this year. Utah citizens, who bear one of the highest tax burdens in the country, received no significant tax relief.
Parents, students and teachers lost when tuition tax credits, which will provide true competition for educational dollars, failed in the House of Representatives.
Legislation which would have strengthened second amendment rights, increased state control over education and insured fair elections did not pass during this session.
The Ugly: Currently under Utah law if parents fail to follow the recommendation of educators that their children take psychotropic drugs the state can remove the children from the parents care. HB 42 ended this practice, but Governor Huntsman vetoed this much needed legislation.
Morley Receives Perfect Score
House Summary: Mike Morley (R-UT) received 100 percent to lead all representatives on this year’s GrassRoots report. Receiving 95 percent on the report are Margaret Dayton (R-UT) Craig Frank (R-UT), Becky Lockhart (R-UT) and Curt Oda (R-Davis). Bradley Daw (R-UT) received a 90 percent on the report. Overall the House averaged 57 percent.
Senate Summary: Once again, the Senate averaged lower than the House as its members averaged 49 percent. Former House member, Darin Peterson, in his first Senate session received 80 percent. Peterson’s 80 percent would have tied for 16th in the House.
Governor: In his first year Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. received a 54 percent.
What is GrassRoots?
GrassRoots has been issuing an annual legislative report card since 1992. The Constitutions of the nation and state are the guides which GrassRoots uses in picking issues for its legislative report card. Bills are picked without regard to any particular individual.
Analysis of Bills for 2005
Bills are listed by number with house bills listed first. The sponsor of the bill is in parentheses. The tally on bills from each house is listed by yeas, nays and those absent or not voting. Text of all bills can be found at http://www.le.state.ut.us/.
A) HB 17 (S. Allen) Bill appropriates $3 million for the creation of a Motion Picture Incentive Fund to provide incentives for motion picture and television companies. Such incentives force citizens and private enterprise to support private business. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (58-14-3), Senate (21-2-6) and was signed into law by the governor.
B) H.B. 39 (J. Ferrin) Provides a tax credit for tuition expenses for private school education. Tuition tax credits will save taxpayer dollars, improve education through increased competition and empower families by giving parents the ability to choose the best education for their children. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Failed in the House (34-40-1)
C) H.B. 42 (M. Morley) Prohibits school personnel from making medical recommendations for a minor including the use of psychotropic drugs. Also protects parents from having children removed from their home, when they choose not to give their children psychotropic drugs. No family is truly safe without the safeguards provided by this legislation. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (46-21-8), Senate (17-8-4) but was vetoed by the governor.
D) H.B. 71 (J. Fisher) Increases requirements for obtaining a license for estheticians and nail technicians which will limit competition in the marketplace. Government plays many proper roles, insuring a citizen gets a good manicure or pedicure is not one of these. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (55-13-7), Senate (22-5-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
E) H.B. 114 (D. Hogue) Adds $3.3 million to Children’s Health Insurance Fund (CHIP). Programs such as CHIP are a part of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s push for socialized medicine. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (50-19-6), Senate (27-0-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
F) HB 135 (M. Dayton) Bill directs public education officials regarding administration of education programs to insure that state priorities come before federal. Education is a local issue, and bills such as ¿No Child Left Behind¿ have moved more control to the federal level. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (73-0-2) and received a 26-0-3 vote in the Senate on second reading but did not come up for a final third vote. GrassRoots is including these votes because of the important impact this legislation has had on education policy in this country. The federal government has been forced to review ¿No Child Left Behind.¿ GrassRoots encourages legislators to pass this bill in special session before the end of this year.
G) H.B. 142 (G. Hughes) Bill requires fiscal impact estimates and provides a mechanism for repealing initiatives if cost estimates exceed a certain amount. When voting on initiatives voters should have all the necessary information to insure the measures are fiscally responsible. In two past elections, groups have attempted to get citizens to pass large tax increases which would have increased the size of government. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (47-20-8), Senate (19-6-4) and was signed into law by the governor.
H) H.B. 165 (P. Jones) Creates the Utah Commission on Aging. Commissions and government committees always tend to increase the role of government, as the commissions come up with new programs, positions and regulations. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (46-26-3), Senate (26-2-1) and was signed into law by the governor.
I) H.B. 202 (W. Harper) Increases the rights of parents from abuses by the Division of Child and Welfare Services. Every family is in danger by out of control bureaucrats who believe they, and not the parent, know best how to raise children. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (44-26-5) but did not come up for a vote in the Senate.
J) H.B. 242 (S. Wyatt) Under this bill if a government entity felt that an animal owner was not properly caring for their animal that citizen could be charged with a felony. Often such judgments are arbitrary, and a felony conviction causes a citizen to lose voting and second amendment rights. For example, some extremists believe trapping a mouse is animal cruelty. While animals should be treated with proper care, the bill is vague on several definitions it puts to many citizen’s rights at risk. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (56-15-4) but did not come up for a vote in the Senate.
K) H.B. 249 (M. Newbold) Creates voucher program for parents with children who have disabilities. Bill is a first step in creating true education freedom for our children, by empowering parents to choose a school that best fits their child’s needs. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (58-17-0), Senate (21-6-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
L) H.B. 292 (D. Bourdeaux) Creates a 30 member Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System. This legislation is a back door attempt to pass hate crimes legislation in the future. The symbol of our judicial system is blind because our judicial system should already be treating every citizen fairly. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (60-5-10) but did not come up for a vote in the Senate.
M) H.B. 338 (L. Christensen) Protects the rights of parents and children from government involuntarily splitting apart families. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (50-16-9), Senate (20-9-0) and was signed into law by the governor.
N) H.R. 9 (G. Donnelson) Urges Congress to oppose entry into the Free Trade of the Americas (FTAA) which threatens our nation’s sovereignty. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (61-8-6).
O) SB 27 (A Mansell) Reauthorizes 57 state entities and programs which would have ended before 2006. Sunset laws are designed for programs to end after a certain period. Renewing 57 programs in one bill is poor public policy and allows the government to continue to grow. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (53-16-6), Senate (27-0-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
P) S.B. 29 (G. Davis) Requires crane operators to be licensed by the state. This bill is one more example of government interfering with private enterprise and limiting one’s opportunity to support his or her family. Passed the Senate (25-0-4) but was defeated in the Senate (35-39-1).
Q) S.B. 59 (M. Madsen) Modifies the procedure for exempting minors who are home schooled from attendance at a public or private school. Education is the responsibility of parents; any bill that puts more control in their hands is good public policy. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (26-0-3), Senate (70-0-5) and was signed into law by the governor.
R) S.B. 67 (M. Madsen) Requires that persons registering to vote provide proof of county residence in the county in which they vote. Fair elections are a foundation for free government which this bill would have furthered. Passed the Senate (19-10-0) but did not come up for a vote in the House.
S) S.B. 77 (M. Waddoups) Bans smoking in private clubs and taverns. Individuals have a choice of entering into one of these establishments. If an individual chooses to enter a location which puts their health at risk, that is their choice and not the choice of government. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the Senate (14-14-0) but did not come up for a vote in the House.
T) S.B. 109 (K Hale) Suspends driving privileges for a minor under 18 years of age, if the driver is not wearing a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt has been found to prevent injuries in accidents, but if an individual chooses not to protect themselves this is their personal decision. GrassRoots recommend a no vote. Passed the House (40-33-2), Senate (15-14-0) the bill failed when the Senate did not concur with amendments the House had placed in the bill.
U) S.B. 139 (H. Stephenson) Prohibits a county or city from passing laws which would give preferential treatment to companies which pay their employees higher than the federal minimum wage. Government has no business interfering in the free market by mandating any type of wage. Government officials, when entering into contracts, have a duty to protect taxpayer dollars by contracting with the company which will provide the best service at the lowest possible price. GrassRoots recommends a yes vote. Passed the House (48-21-6), Senate (19-9-1) and was signed into law by the governor.
V) S.B. 155 (K. Hale) Bill sought to amend the method used to select school board candidates. Changes recently passed by the legislature had increased the role of business leaders in the selection of candidates. This year three school board members were elected who supported tuition tax credits. This bill sought to return to prior methods of selecting candidates which put more power into the hands of the teacher’s union and robbed citizens of having a school board which represented the opinions of all Utahns. Future legislation to reform school board elections should take all decisions out of the hands of committees and return the power to the voters. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Failed in the Senate (10-18-1).
W) S.B. 184 (C. Bramble) Private property is one of the primary rights enjoyed by each citizen and redevelopment agencies put this right at risk. Redevelopment agencies can condemn property and give it to land developers. Bill puts an end to this practice and also puts a one year moratorium on new redevelopment projects. Also makes a number of other positive changes which protects property rights and taxpayer dollars. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (56-12-7), Senate (21-8-0) and was signed into law by the governor.
X) S.B. 201 (C. Buttars) Appropriates an additional $300,000 to the center for multicultural health. Bill raises a number of questions including why we are creating unequal treatment under the law for individuals. Socialized medicine is not good health or public policy. Bills such as this push Utah further down the road to socialized medicine. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the Senate (20-6-3) but did not come up for a vote in the House.
Y) S.B. 227 (C. Bramble) Prohibits the state from issuing driver’s licenses to individuals who are not U.S. citizens, but allows them to have driver privilege cards. While government should not provide any benefit to individuals who break our laws, this bill is a good first step. Illegal immigrants have obtained drivers licenses and voted in recent elections and taken advantage of other benefits reserved for U.S. citizens. This bill puts an end to many of these practices. In the future, GrassRoots urges the legislature to go further and discontinue driver privilege cards. Those who break the laws of the country should not be rewarded in any way for their unlawful activities. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (53-18-4), Senate (20-8-1) and was signed into law by the governor.
House Top 25 - 2005
1 - Michael Morley-R
House Bottom 25 - 2005
50 - Ann Hardy-R
House Top 25 - Lifetime
1 - Craig Frank-R
House Bottom 25 - Lifetime
51 - Kory Holdaway-R
Senate Rank - 2005
1 - Darin Peterson-R
Senate Rank - Lifetime
1 - Darin Peterson-R
Average Score House 2005=57%
Average Score House Life=57%
Average Score Senate 2005=48%
Average Score Senate Life=49%
37% of Representatives Scored 70 or Higher
21% of Senators Scored 70 or Higher
Gov. Huntsman’s Score of 54 would have ranked 45th in the House and 21st in the Senate.
Past Governor’s Lifetime Scores:
The 2005 GrassRoots Report was prepared by Don Guymon
The author thanks all of those individuals who helped in the publication of this report.
The Politics of Hate
By: Don Guymon
Hate is the strongest word in the English language, but it has become the favorite word of many on the left.
For the ninth straight year, hate crimes legislation reared its ugly head. News media outlets attempted to whip Utahns into frenzy by making them believe that they are all at risk if hate crime laws do not pass. Stories filled the airwaves and pages of our newspapers about individuals who have suffered persecution. These stories routinely fail to acknowledge that these deplorable acts are already against the law.
When this legislation fails each session, these same institutions accuse those who opposed this legislation of being hateful.
Yet the accusations of hate do not stop there. Take for example last November’s debate over Amendment Three, which declared that marriage in the state of Utah would be between a man and a woman. This is how marriage has been defined since the beginning of time, yet many in Utah just recently came to the knowledge that if you believe in traditional values you must be guilty of hate.
It is ironic that some people supported both Amendment Three and hate crimes. What is truly scary is how easily the term hate was thrown out. One is left to ask the questions of those on the left, “If you supported Amendment Three, are you guilty of a hate crime?”
When one looks around the world, one sees instances where those who have stood up for traditional values have faced criminal prosecution. While we have not seen this yet in the United States, it appears that many would place us down the slippery slope where if one professes any moral values they risk being thrown in jail.
Yet, the labeling of hate doesn¿t stop there. We recently learned that if one supports public property rights and opposes the transfer of tax dollars from the public to private enterprise one is also hateful.
If one supports the rule of law then they must be a hateful person. Individuals who believe only lawful citizens should receive privileges such as driver’s licenses and instate tuition are routinely labeled as hateful and racist.
Sen. Curt Bramble (R-UT) sponsored S.B. 227, which reformed Redevelopment Agencies. RDA abuse has run rampant for many years, as individuals have seen their property confiscated to build large retail projects. Another project targeted for RDA money was a soccer stadium for Salt Lake City’s newest entry into Major League Soccer.
Bramble’s family woke up one morning to find messages of hate written on their driveway and a soccer ball with a hateful message sitting on his family’s porch. One of the messages stated, “You hate soccer.”
It is ironic that no where did I find any mention in any media outlet about the possibility of this being a hate crime, because evidently legislators who sponsor good legislation are not a protected group.
When talking about hate, attacks on family never seem to be hateful. The past two sessions, several good bills to protect the rights of families have come before the legislature and not been passed. Rep. Mike Morley (R-UT) introduced H.B. 42 which prevents school personnel from recommending psychotropic drugs to parents. Even worse, if parents do not follow the recommendations of school personnel they risk the chance of their children being permanently removed from their families. Why are attacks such as this not considered hateful?
Yet when Governor Huntsman vetoed this excellent piece of legislation nobody ever accused Huntsman of hating families.
Instead, those who routinely support families are the ones labeled as hateful. Since the left routinely lets us know that their intrusion into families lives, “Is for the children.”
When good family legislation such as Morley’s is introduced, the left routinely tells us that we can’t trust parents. They argue that legislation which protects parents who choose to home school their children will hurt the children. They argue that legislation which protects parents’ rights when threatened with having their families involuntarily split apart will hurt children.
What the left has forgotten is the word love. While occasionally some parents put their children in harm’s way, the vast majority of parents love their children and want what is best for them. Because they love their children, government should get out of the way and allow them to raise their children to the best of their abilities.
Unfortunately, the left has become so focused on hate they do not believe that anyone, but themselves is capable of feeling or showing love. In reality, they themselves should look in the mirror and ask themselves if their behavior is not truly the behavior that is hateful.