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 2004?
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of 2004
The Good: Legislators were one year late, but they finally had the courage to pass two key abortion bills. One bill banned public funding of abortion in the state, and the second bill strengthened Utah.s laws against partial birth abortion. Lawmakers prevented our second amendment rights from being further eroded, by passing H.B. 48. Proposed hate crimes legislation made its annual appearance before the legislature, but wisely our representatives did not consider these bills which create inequality under the law.
The Bad: Lawmakers continued the uncontrolled spending of taxpayer dollars as they approved an $87.4 million bond, reauthorized in one bill 23 programs which should have been individually reviewed, and created a new health center which will cost $100,000 per year.
Lawmakers failed to pass several key pieces of family legislation, including S.B. 90 which would have protected parents. inalienable rights to make medical decisions for their children. When lawmakers passed good family bills such as H.B. 140 which allowed families to make medical decisions, the governor vetoed them.
Lawmakers passed legislation allowing parents of disabled children a school choice tax credit, H.B. 115, but the governor vetoed it. Another tuition tax credit bill made it through committee but the House failed to accept the committee.s report. In the end, tuition tax credits were killed.
The Ugly: Four years ago Utah citizens overwhelmingly passed Initiative B which protected citizen.s rights to prevent the state from seizing personal property and profiting by it. This year lawmakers ignored the vote of the people by overturning Initiative B and passing SB 175. Policing for profit has again reared its ugly head in Utah.
Donnelson, Frank, Morley and Thompson Receive Top Marks on this Years Report
House Summary: Glenn Donnelson (R-Weber), Craig Frank (R-Utah), Mike Morley (R-Utah) and Mike Thompson (R-Utah) all received scores of 96 to top this year.s GrassRoots report. Also, scoring above 90 were Morgan Philpot (R-Salt Lake), Becky Lockhart (R-Utah), and Greg Hughes (R-Salt Lake) who received 92, and Jim Ferrin (R-Utah) a 91. Overall the House scored an average of 57%.
Senate Summary: As has been the case in recent years, the Senate scored much lower than the House with an average score of 48%. Leading all Senators were Howard Stephenson (R-Salt Lake), Scott Jenkins (R-Weber) and David Gladwell (R-Weber) who all received a 73.
Governor: Governor Olene Walker received a 33 on the report, well below the averages of both the House and Senate.
What is GrassRoots?
GrassRoots has been issuing its 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 2004
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.B. 2 (L. Pace) Authorizes the state of Utah to issue bonds up to $87,400,000. Bonding, will put a strain on future budgets which could lead to tax increases. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (46-27-2), Senate (17-8-4) and was signed into law by the Governor.
B) H.B. 37 (G. Curtis) Repeals the sunset date of 23 state laws and agencies. The purpose of sunset laws is for programs to be reevaluated and/or ended. Citizens would be better served if legislators debated the necessity of each program, instead of packaging all programs in one bill. In addition, a fiscal note was not included with this bill which hides the costs of these programs from the taxpayer. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (61-11-3), Senate (26-0-3), and was signed into law by the governor.
C) H.B. 43 (M. Dayton) Prohibits the State Board of Education and school districts from further participation in the .No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. except where there is adequate federal funding. Education is not a federal issue. This bill, while a small step, is a step in the right direction. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (64-8-3) but did not come up for a vote in the Senate.
D) H.B. 67 (S. Allen) Creates a cultural affairs task force and appropriates $27,500. Culture and arts are an important part of our society, but promoting these issues is not a proper role of government. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (65-4-6) the Senate modified the bill by a vote of 24-0-5, but the House did not consider the Senate.s version.
F) H.B. 115 (M. Philpot) Bill creates a program to award scholarships to students with disabilities who attend private school. This bill was the first step in creating true school choice in the state of Utah. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (43-29-3), Senate (17-8-4) but was vetoed by the Governor.
E) H.B. 140 (L. Christensen) Exempts health care decisions of a mature minor from the definition of neglect, requires a legislative audit of child welfare cases and creates a Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel to make recommendations. The DCFS and its actions in the Jensen case is an example of how destructive our government has become. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (42-31-2), Senate (18-7-4) but was vetoed by the Governor.
G) H.B. 166 (D. Hogue) The right to keep and bear arms is one of our basic rights; bill made it more difficult for individuals to exercise this right by increasing government mandates. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Failed in the House (24-50-1).
H) H.B. 199 (C. Moss) Freedom of speech is one of our most fundamental rights. If a school administrator felt a citizen was disrupting school activities, the citizen would be guilty of a class B misdemeanor. Bill is too broad and puts citizens. free speech rights in danger. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (67-5-3), Senate (23-0-6) and was signed into law by the governor.
I)H.B. 230 (M. Styler) Allows school boards to raise property tax revenues with changes in the consumer price index. This bill would undoubtedly lead to higher tax rates for Utah citizens, who are already overtaxed. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Failed in the House 32-42-1.
J) H.B. 231 (C. Bennion) Creates procedures for review and approval of state agencies to obtain federal funds. All too often, state agencies have used federal funding to increase the size and intrusiveness of government (an example would be Utah.s recent participation in MATRIX). GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (66-6-3), Senate (22-0-7) and was signed into law by the governor.
K) H.B. 239 (D. Bourdeaux) Increases taxes on sexually oriented businesses in the state by 10%. While GrassRoots does not approve of such businesses, if the government can selectively raise taxes, who will be next? GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (51-16-9), Senate (23-4-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
L) H.B. 246 (N. Hansen) Creates enhanced penalties for burning of a cross on another.s property, highway or other public place. This type of activity, while offensive to many, should still be treated equally under the law. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Failed in the House (22-51-2).
M) H.B. 266 (W Harper) Amends child abuse and neglect provisions in the Child and Family Services, Judicial and Criminal Codes. Utah.s laws regarding child welfare need a major revision. This law was a step in the right direction because it gave more power to parents. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (43-29-3) but failed in the Senate (13-14-2).
N) H.B. 271 (J. Ferrin) Bill created tuition tax credits in the state. In a rare procedural move the House voted not to accept the committee.s report. Tuition tax credits will create competition in education and competition is what our economic system is based on. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. House failed to accept the committee's report 31-39-5.
O) H.B. 311 (S. Adams) Expands redevelopment agencies to include housing projects. R.D.A.s unfairly benefit large developers by giving them tax breaks; this ultimately increases the tax burden on the average citizen. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (46-26-3), Senate (16-11-2) and was signed into law by the governor.
P) H.J.R. 3 (D. Bush) Calls on Congress to withdraw the United States from the United Nations. The U.N..s role has steadily increased in recent years, justices now cite U.N. law to circumvent the Constitution and U.N. policy poses a clear and present danger to our families GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (42-33-0) but the Senate failed to vote on this issue.
Q) H.J.R. 8 (C. Bennion) Amends the Utah Constitution to allow the Utah Legislature to call itself into session if two-thirds of its members deem necessary. Currently Utah law only allows the governor to call the legislature into session. This violates the principle of separate but equal branches of government by creating inequality among the branches of government. While GrassRoots does not approve of a full-time legislature, this bill provides adequate safeguards against this and brings Utah.s separation of powers more into balance. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (60-7-8) and the Senate (15-12-2) and will now go before voters in November.
R) H.J.R. 10 (S. Allen) The war on terrorism has been responsible for the loss of rights by U.S. citizens. Bill calls on Utah.s congressional delegation to protect the civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House 71-0-4, but the Senate failed to vote on this issue.
S) S.B. 24 (C. Buttars) Requires that applicants for a marriage license be a man and a woman. Insures Utah law does not recognize same-sex marriage which undermines the traditional family. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (62-12-1), Senate (24-4-1) and was signed into law by the governor.
T) S.B. 48 (M. Waddoups) Clarifies that the Legislature creates policy relating to the second amendment. Utah.s colleges have infringed on citizens. second amendment rights by banning concealed weapons. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (55-16-4) Senate (20-4-5) and was signed into law by the governor.
U) S.B. 66 (J. Hickman) Many Utah cities are attempting to compete with local cable and internet providers. Bill made it more difficult for cities to spend taxpayer dollars to compete with private enterprise. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote on initial version of bill passed in the Senate (20-9-0) but takes no position on bill which eventually passed the House, Senate and was signed into law by the governor.
V) S.B. 68 (C. Bramble) Prohibits the public funding of elective abortion in the state of Utah. Taxpayer dollars should not be used to kill innocent life. If our government will not protect the rights of the most innocent amongst us what rights can citizens expect it to protect? GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (57-13-5), Senate (21-7-1) and was signed into law by the governor.
W) S.B. 69 (C. Bramble) Strengthens Utah.s partial birth abortion laws. Partial birth abortion is a heinous act. It is the proper role of government to protect innocent life. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (60-11-4), Senate (21-5-3) and was signed into law by the governor.
X) S.B. 71 (K. Hale) Makes failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense. Citizens should have the right to make decisions concerning their own health and welfare without fear of breaking the law, a right which this bill takes away. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the Senate (16-12-1) but the House failed to vote on this issue.
Y) S.B. 90 (D. Thomas) Allows competent parents to make decisions regarding medical choices if the parent did not have a prior history of abuse or neglect. Bill protects parents from further governmental intervention in their families. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the Senate (23-6-0) but the House failed to vote on this issue.
Z) S.B. 115 (C. Bramble) Limits special elections to primary and general elections which will allow greater participation from voters in special elections. School districts have often used obscure election dates to pass tax increases because most citizens are unaware that an election is being held. GrassRoots approves of a yes vote. Passed the House (47-21-7), Senate (20-8-1) but was vetoed by the governor.
AA) S.B. 135 (J. Evans) Creates the center for multicultural health which enlarges government by making annual appropriation of $100,000. A center which seeks only to represent local .multicultural and minority health issues. does not represent all citizens and is not the proper role of government. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the House (46-22-7), House (24-0-5) and was signed into law by the governor.
BB) S.B. 175 (C. Buttars) One of the primary purposes of government is to protect property rights. Bill violates the fourth and fifth amendments to the Constitution by allowing government seizure of property without due process. Passed the House (46-27-2), Senate (20-7-2) and was signed into law by the governor. GrassRoots approves of a no vote.
CC) S.B. 251 (D. Eastman) Bill establishes procedures for counties to compensate the state for purchases of voting equipment. Further moves Utah towards electronic voting, which many citizens fear will lead to voter fraud and further undermine citizens. trust in the government. GrassRoots approves of a no vote. Passed the Senate (23-0-6) but did not come up for a vote in the House.
House - Top 20
House - Bottom 20
Top 20 Reps. - Lifetime
1 Craig Frank-R
House - Bottom 20 - Lifetime
Senate Rank - 2004
1 Dave Gladwell-R
Senate Rank - Lifetime
1 Bill Wright-R
The 2004 GrassRoots Report was prepared by Don Guymon and converted to HTML by Iodynamics.
President of GrassRoots: Bill Barton
For more information email GrassRoots at UtahGrassRoots.org
The author thanks all of those individuals who helped in the publication of this newsletter.
Why the Traditional Family is in Danger
By Don Guymon
Is the family the basic unit of our society?
The beginning of 2004 witnessed what some would believe was a seismic shift in the way families are viewed in our nation. A Massachusetts’s Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual marriage sent shockwaves throughout the nation.
Many so-called defenders of the family were shocked and outraged, but many of these same individuals have led the United States and Utah down the path where the traditional family unit is in danger. The state of Utah’s actions during the summer of 2003 when it attempted to take custody of Parker Jensen from his parents is emblematic. Many people, who profess support of the family, applauded the government’s actions.
Numerous bills were introduced in response to the state’s attempt to take Parker away from his family. One such bill was SB 90 introduced by Sen. Dave Thomas (R-Davis) which would have allowed parent’s deemed competent to make medical decisions for their children. The left pushed back wondering if the state could ever take away a child again, because it disagreed with the course of treatment the parents deemed appropriate.
In their fight against Thomas’s bill and several other good pieces of legislation including H.B. 266 and H.B. 140, a trend was continued by many politicians to put the wishes of the state ahead of what parents feel is in the best interest of their children.
The same individuals who fought so hard against parental rights in this year’s session have pushed to fluoridate Utah’s water and deny parent’s tuition tax credits. Throughout the debate, a familiar refrain is heard over and over again that parents cannot be trusted. Why else would the left push for fluoridation when fluoride is readily available from any pharmacy? Why would they fight against tuition tax credits that would leave more money in the educational system than is taken out?
It has become increasingly clear that the family unit has lost importance and may not even be worth a $20 bill in the eyes of many Utahans.
The seventh amendment to the Constitution states, “Where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved.” A natural extension of this right would be that no child would be permanently removed from his family until after a trial by jury. Yet a Deseret Morning News editorial ridiculed those who would provide every legal safeguard to parents. In an editorial dated Dec. 30, 2003 the paper stated, “Jury trials to determine whether parental rights should be terminated? Do parents whose children have been taken into state custody after reports of child abuse or neglect really want their troubled lives trotted out in public?”
The News and others on the left would have us believe that trials in secret determined only by a judge are fair. They would give more rights to murderers than to parents by denying them their Constitutional Rights. Is this really preserving the family? The News and others on the left once again presume the worst about parents.
Big government has continued to erode the sanctity of families in society. Not long ago families relied upon each other from birth until death. But in today’s society, the left pushes for child day care from infancy; education must be given in a public school; families must raise their children in accordance with the dictates of government bureaucrats; water is fluoridated taking away parental choice and finally instead of children helping their parents in their old age, society simply relies upon the government to provide a check.
As the government assumes the role of the parent and determines what a family truly is, it is only natural that judges can determine that marriage isn’t only between a man and a woman.
The road to homosexual marriage and the destruction of the family did not just happen over night. It has been a long journey, as the left has picked piece by piece at our society’s foundation. As the foundation crumbles under the constant picking, our society will also crumble unless we begin to return families to their proper role.