Legislative Updates - 30 January 2017
This is GrassRoots’ first legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature. We hope to be sending a weekly update on legislative happenings during the session, and will be concentrating on bills that we find to be friendly to the principles of limited government on one hand, or, on the other hand, friendly to big, intrusive government. As you may know, the principles of GrassRoots are summarized as Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government, Free Market Economy, Participatory Republic, Family, and Separation of Powers.
We would encourage and challenge you, if you see one or more bills that interest you, contact your representative and/or senator about it/them. We think they usually hear enough from paid lobbyists (some would say more than enough), but they may not hear enough from you.
At this time (one week into the session), there are about 390 numbered bills for this session on the Utah Legislature website, maybe about half of the bills that will be numbered by the end of the session which, under the Utah Constitution, will go for 45 days. Here are some bills that we consider to be noteworthy.
The Right of Self-Defense, and 1 good bill
Defense of self and others is an unalienable right, recognized by our state and national constitutions:
Keeping our code consistent with these constitutional provisions is part of each legislator’s duty under his or her oath to uphold our state and national constitutions. And, as implied in the Second Amendment, non-infringement of rights of self-defense is necessary to the maintenance of a free society.
The following bill (HB112) deserves our attention (and GrassRoots supports passage of this bill as currently drafted):
HB112, “Firearms Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Perry, would:
HB112 awaits action by the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.
GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB112.
Asset Forfeiture, and 2 good bills
Asset forfeiture, as practiced by state and federal governments, has facilitated the taking of property from numerous innocent owners on the basis that the property was used (but not even necessarily by the owner) in the commission of some crime. This practice is contrary to the idea that property rights are unalienable, and that no person should be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law.
Utah forfeiture code should be amended to ensure that it is consistent with the following principles:
HB19, “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Greene and Senator Stephenson, would:
HB19 awaits action by House Judiciary Committee.
GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB19.
SB70, “Asset Forfeiture Transparency Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Stephenson, would:
SB70 passed Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee 5-0 on January 25th.
SB70 would increase transparency of forfeitures in which the federal government is involved, and provide additional information on forfeitures in Utah. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on SB70.
Other bills catching our attention
Here are two more bills catching our attention:
SB29, “Utah Marriage Commission Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Christensen, would:
SB29 passed the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee 3-1 on January 25th.
We would do better to leave pre-marital counseling to individuals, churches, and others in the private sector, and keep marriage license fees down. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SB29.
SB60, “School District Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Davis and Representative Hutchings, would require a private school to
SB60 passed Senate Education Committee 4-0 on January 24th and is circled on Senate 2nd reading calendar.
Parents may already require disclosure of any information they require, if they so choose, before they choose to enroll their child in a given private school. And, if they are not satisfied with the disclosures (or any other aspect) of the private school, they may choose not to enroll their child. SB60 is unwarranted regulation of private schools and is arguably a violation of the 4th Amendment requirement that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches . . . shall not be violated. . . .” GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SB60.
If you have any questions about these bills, GrassRoots’ position on these bills, or related matters, please contact either of us or any other member of the Board of Utah GrassRoots.
PS Do you want to contact a legislator? Go to le.utah.gov and click on “Legislators”.
Do you want to read and follow legislation yourself? Go to le.utah.gov and click on “2017 General Session Page” then click on “2017 Bills”.
Do you have other questions about how to effectively participate in the political process? Please contact us, and we will try to help as appropriate.
Do you have friends that would appreciate this legislative update? Please feel free to forward it to them.
Would you like to help us with review of legislation in a small or large way? Consider taking a special look at bills sponsored by your own representative or senator. Please contact us with your findings and/or with any questions we might be able to help you with.