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 2002?
Utahns suffer big losses in 2002
Two vetoes by Governor Mike Leavitt put a damper on the 2002 session of the Utah Legislature. Leavitt vetoed H.B. 287 which guaranteed the constitutional rights of state employees and H.B. 123 which prohibited school personnel from making medical recommendations. Leavitt's actions represented several misplaced priorities for Utah's elected officials (see page 8).
After doubling the size of government over the past 10 years, lawmakers found themselves with a budget shortfall. Instead of enduring the pain of deep cuts, the legislature raised taxes, dipped into the rainy day fund and bonded for $348 million. Utahns did enjoy some victories with this year's legislature, as parental rights were strengthened and it became more difficult for children to be removed from their parents.
But overall Utahns should feel disappointed in what progress could have been made, as several good bills including tuition tax credits, never came up for a vote on the House or Senate floors. In addition, the Senate refused to vote on a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and would not vote on a bill which would have curbed voter fraud by requiring an individual to show a valid form of i.d. to vote.
Utah Government Spending
Source: Utah Comprehensive Annual Financial Report:
Legislature uses technology to improve citizen involvement
Two recent technological advances have made it easier for citizens to keep an eye on the legislature. Links to voting tabulation have been added to the bill status sheet and citizens can now check how their legislator voted by a click of the button. Previously one had to go through the journals to find this information. Also the house sessions are now broadcast via the Internet.
Grassroots lauds the legislature for opening its records to more citizens than ever before and hopes that the trend continues by adding vote tabulations for committee bills. Several good bills were killed in committee, but presently citizens cannot find out who voted for or against a bill in committee without going through the journals at the capital.
Analysis of Bills for 2002
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 www.le.state.ut.us.
A) H.J.R. 10 (G. Way) Urges the United States Congress to send to the states a constitutional amendment protecting the life of the unborn. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (54-20-1) but did not come up for a vote in the Senate.
B) H.J.R. 30 (D. Clark) Proposes to change the Utah Constitution to add a property tax exemption for property owned but under the control of the state or political subdivision of state. Bill would be used to expand organizations such as the UTA. Bill raises a number of questions such as who will buy and then lease back government property. If UTA expands, will taxpayers be asked to pay higher taxes as has been the case with light rail? Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (67-6-2) and Senate (24-2-3).
C) H.B. 2 Second Substitute (G. Adair) Authorizes the state to issue $348 million in bonds for capital projects. Bonding today could lead to higher tax rates in the future. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (49-21-5), Senate (18-9-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
D) H.B. 28 (W. Harper) Declares that there is no immunity for governmental employee child welfare workers who commit fraud, malice or perjury. . Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (60-5-10), Senate (22-4-3) and was signed into law by the governor.
E) H.B. 43 (D. Hogue) Allows fluoridation of water in a non-fluoridated area if a resident requests it. Fluoridation of water deprives citizens of their right to determine which medications they and or their families take. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (43-19-13), Senate (23-5-1) and was signed into law by the governor.
F) H.B. 76 (D. Cox) Creates a process to create new school districts by a petition of registered voters. Smaller school districts would allow greater parental input into their children's education. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (43-31-1) but failed in the Senate (12-12-5).
G) H.B. 101 Substitute (D. Bourdeaux) Mandates that racial information be included on driver's license, and that the state create a database to measure how often each race is stopped by law enforcement. The symbol of our justice system, Lady Liberty, wears a blindfold because justice should be blind. This includes being color blind. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (54-18-3), Senate (19-6-4) and was signed into law by the governor.
H) H.B. 123 (K. Bryson) Prohibits school personnel from making medical recommendations for a child. Education should be in the business of educating our children and leave medical recommendations to parents and health professionals. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (65-6-4), Senate (23-3-3) but was vetoed by the governor.
I) H.B. 139 (D. Litvack) Creates a Family Employment Advisory Committee to study and make recommendations for eligibility and participation in the Family Employment Program. Fiscal note on bill states that if the recommendations made in the "shall implement" provisions were implemented it would cost over $8.6 million in 2004. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Failed in the House (37-36-2). Bills in the house require 38 votes to pass.
J) H.B. 144 (D. Ure) Allows children of illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition at Utah colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements. Government should not reward those individuals who enter our country by breaking our immigration laws. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (39-35-1), Senate (20-6-3), and was signed into law by the governor.
K) H.B. 183 (M. Philpot) Waives fee for criminal background checks for those individuals wanting to purchase a gun. Individuals should not be charged to enjoy their Constitutional rights. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (46-26-3) but failed in the Senate (9-18-2).
L) H.B. 226 Third Substitute (M. Throckmorton) Makes it more difficult for the government to terminate an individual's parental rights. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (59-15-1), Senate (22-2-5) and was signed into law by the governor.
M) H.B. 238 (C. Saunders) Raises taxes on cigarettes by 18-cents per pack. Increases the tax burden on certain Utah citizens who already bare one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House 40-28-7), Senate (15-13-1) and was signed into law by the governor.
N) H.B. 246 (S Mascaro) Reauthorizes 54 state entities and programs which would have ended before the 2003 session. The purpose of sunset laws is for programs to end. Citizens would be better served if legislators debated the necessity of each program, instead of reauthorizing such a huge number in one bill. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (66-5-4), Senate (23-0-6) and was signed into law by the governor.
O) H.B. 258 (B. Lockhart) Helps prevent voter fraud by requiring voters to show valid identification before voting. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (47-24-4) but did not come up for a vote in the Senate.
P) H.B. 287 (M. Thompson) Prohibits the Board of Child and Family Services from requiring that foster parents surrender the Constitutional rights including the right to keep and bare arms. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (63-10-2), Senate (16-12-1) but was vetoed by the governor.
Q) H.B. 295 (T. Hatch) Mandates that the government obtain a search warrant before removing a child from a home unless it obtains consent of the parent or guardian. The government should have to meet the same requirement to remove a child as a piece of property. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (57-17-1), Senate (23-4-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
R) S.B. 44 (L. Hillyard) Provides $800,000 to fund a community legal center. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the Senate (25-0-4) but never came up for a vote in the House.
S) S.B. 77 (L. Blackham) Provides $39,500 to fund a task force on the Involuntary Commitment of the mentally iIl. The task force may make it easier for the government to involuntarily commit an individual. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (61-11-3), Senate (20-7-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
T) S.B. 97 (K. Hale) Expands the role of the Corrections Advisory Coordinating Council. Government is already too intrusive and its role should not be expanded. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (41-23-11), Senate (26-0-3) and was signed into law by the governor.
U) S.B. 108 (E. Mayne) Provides that three-percent of revenues of boxing matches be set aside to promote amateur boxing in the state. Government already has too many roles; promoting amateur boxing should not be added to the list. Grassroots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (52-19-4), Senate (22-0-7), and was signed into law by the governor.
V) S.B. 147 (M. Waddops) Sets financial penalties for state institutions whose policies violate state law. No individual is above the law. Several state agencies and universities have policies which do not allow citizens to exercise their Constitutional rights and are knowingly breaking state law as set forth by the state legislature. If a state entity is allowed to break the law, how can we expect any better of the ordinary citizen? Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the Senate (18-10-1) but failed in the House (35-38-2).
W) S.B. 157 (B. Wright) Allows school districts to negotiate individual contracts with employees. If an individual wants to negotiate their own contract outside of the labor union, he or she should have the right do to so. Grassroots approves of a yes vote. Passed the Senate (16-11-2) but failed in the House (32-42-1).
Top 25 Reps. - 2002
1. Becky Lockhart
Bottom 25 Reps. - 2002
51. Carl Duckworth
Top 25 - Lifetime
Bottom 25 - Lifetime
51. Max Young
Senate Rank - 2002
1. Scott Jenkins
Senate Rank - Lifetime
1. Bill Wright
Average score for 2002 was 50 percent for house members and 39 for senators.
Twenty-two representatives and one senator received scores of 70 or above. In 2001, 26 representatives and 12 senators received similar scores.
The 2002 GrassRoots Report was prepared by Don Guymon and converted to HTML by Iodynamics.
President of GrassRoots: Kenneth Olafson
For more information email GrassRoots at UtahGrassRoots.org
The author thanks all of those individuals who helped in the publication of this newsletter.
Website management by Doran Barton. Design by Doran Barton & David Baker