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2005 Bill Tracking Page

Last updated on: March 2, 2005 at 1:30 AM
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Categories:

 Good Bills
Disclaimer: Good bills can be amended to bad bills at any time.

 Bad Bills

 

    Abortion (Infanticide)     Abortion (Infanticide)

    Cruel & Unusual Punishment

    Cruel & Unusual Punishment

    Decentralization of Power

    Decentralization of Power
    Election Reform     Election Reform

    Ethics

    Ethics
    Equal Standing Before the Law     Equal Standing Before the Law

    Federal Implications

    Federal Implications

    Free Speech

    Free Speech

    Illegal Aliens     Illegal Aliens
    Judicial Reform/Due Process     Judicial Reform/Due Process
    Keep & Bear Arms
    (Self-Defense)

    Keep & Bear Arms
    (Self-Defense)

    Medical Freedom

    Medical Freedom

    Parental Rights

    Parental Rights

    Privacy

    Privacy

    Property Rights

    Property Rights

    Taxes, Regulation, Subsidies

    Taxes, Regulation. Subsidies

    Thought Crimes

    Thought Crimes

Unsure/Skeptical

Foreword: We, as a people, reap what we sow. This bill tracking page exists to display the fruits of this citizenry and their political choices.  Do citizens choose wise leaders and hold them accountable by carefully watching, scrutinizing, and scolding them when necessary? Or do officials run rampant and unchecked? You decide. If you don't like what you see, then work to motivate and educate the citizenry that elected these officials. For resources to assist you, see our Training page.

Tracking Instructions: Each summary below includes a hyperlinked bill number.  Click on the bill number to go to the "Bill Documents" page for each bill.  From there you can click on the latest bill version to view the actual language, or see other crucial information on the bill. The "Status" feature, for instance, tells you where the bill is in the legislative process and gives you actual floor vote details.

Toward the bottom of the "Bill Documents" screen, under "Web Watch," you can actually sign up to receive e-notification of any changes to the bill or bill status.  This is a nice feature, though not always as timely or reliable as it ought to be.  Make sure to also be cognizant of new amended versions of the bill.

For an overall bill list, see http://www.le.state.ut.us/~2005/HB0200ht.htm

Disclaimer: "Good bills" can be amended to bad bills at any time, and we might not catch the change on this page until it is too late.  If you are interested in a "good bill", please keep that in mind.

Abbreviations: HB= House Bill, HCR= House Concurrent Resolution, HJR= House Joint Resolution, rep= representative, S= Substitute [followed by the number of the substitute], SB= Senate Bill, sen= senator, SCR= Senate Concurrent Resolution, SJR= Senate Joint Resolution.

Contact us: If you have any corrections or additions, please notify us at info@accountabilityutah.org.

 

Good Bills
Disclaimer:
"Good bills" can be amended to bad bills at any time, and we might not catch the change on this page until it is too late.  If you are interested in a "good bill", please keep that in mind.

Abortion (Infanticide)

None at this time.

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Cruel & Unusual Punishment

SB 99 (sen. Tom Hatch, Republican, district 28): Currently, it is a Class B Misdemeanor (punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail) to "criminally trespass" on state park lands. The state can also seek treble damages against these individuals for "civil" damages.  This bill takes a small step by reducing that to single damages.

Even if this bill passes, the process is still unjust.  In "civil" cases, the defendant is not entitled to a trial by a jury of his peers.  Rather than let one bureaucrat or judge decide the outcome of a "civil" case, defendants should have the right to a jury trial in a criminal court.  In addition, the maximum penalty of a Class B Misdemeanor is too harsh a punishment for such offenses.

Status: SB 99 failed senate committee (2-4-0).

Note: This bill may have something to do with Sen. Hatch's recent run-in with the law and tyrannical state wildlife officials.  Hatch and his brother, Ronald, had come upon a seriously wounded bull elk. Ronald suggested that "we ought to finish it off." Hatch responded:

"I told him 'I'm not going to shoot it with 20 people around in my position [as an elected official]'... We continued on down the ridge and I did shoot a cow elk."

The elk was left to suffer and eventually died. And the Hatch brothers went right on hunting.

Poaching charges were later threatened against Ronald, as officials suspected that he had shot the bull elk by mistake.  Isn't it amazing how perspectives and motivations can be altered when one actually is on the receiving end of bad laws?
ource: "Lawmaker cleared in elk shooting: Illegal trophy bull: But the brother of Panguitch's Sen. Hatch faces poaching charges in state court," Brett Prettyman, Salt Lake Tribune, Jul. 28, 2004.

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Decentralization of Power

SB 81 (sen. Beverly Evans, Republican, district 26): This bill would require organizations to first obtain approval from the local government before setting up a commercial nonhazardous solid or hazardous waste treatment or disposal facility (see lines 68-70).  Current law only requires that organizations obtain approval from the legislature and governor.

Activities like these affect the short- and/or long-term safety of surrounding neighbors. Is the facility safe? What would likely occur if the storage company goes bankrupt?  Prior approval by property owners directly impacted seems, in this case, appropriate.

Will city councils carefully weigh these matters and conscientiously make wise decisions with this new power?  If not, that is a matter for the local property owners to rectify through increased scrutiny and by holding their local officials more accountable for their political actions.

Status: SB 81 passed senate committee 6-0-0, senate (24-0-5), house committee (10-0-1), and house (68-0-7).

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Equal Standing Before the Law

None at this time.

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Election Reform

See also Unsure/Skeptical, HB 211.

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Ethics

HJR 4 (rep. David Ure, Republican, district 53): This bill requires legislators to declare potential conflicts of interest.  It is a one word change from "should" to "shall" on line 25, and it is about time.  If a legislator stands to personally (particularly financially) benefit after an unequal fashion, he should publicly declare it.

SB 102 (sen. Greg Bell, Republican, district 22): This bill was half-heartedly included in our Good Bills section (and may be moved from this section upon further reflection). It requires lobbyists to report more detailed information about expenses made to benefit public officials when the lobbyist spends more than $10, rather than the current $50 limit.  It also specifies that financial reports should be filed when expenditures have been made in an amount that exceeds the new threshold.

With rare exceptions, these lobbyist expenditures constitute bribery and should be completely banned. Lobbyists and legislators who participate in bribery should be shunned, removed from office, and potentially prosecuted.

While it is perhaps better to know of their bribery than not to know, we still fear that this approach will legitimize bribery by allowing legislators and lobbyists to merely report what should be illegal acts.  This bill provides evidence of the degree to which we, as a people and society, have surrendered our once-clear standards of decency and integrity.

Status: SB 102 failed senate committee (2-2-1).

SB 143 (amended) (sen. Scott "Benedict" Jenkins, Republican, district 20): Special Note: Jenkins voted against his own bill on the floor!

This short bill would have required that, in addition to written minutes, a digital or tape recording of all open, public meetings be kept for at least 180 days.  From lines 28-29:

Written minutes [or] and a digital or tape recording shall be kept of all open meetings...

And from lines 54-55:

The custodian of digital or tape recordings of meetings shall retain those recordings for at least 180 calendar days.

Currently, governmental bodies only prepare written minutes, typically drafted and "sanitized" by a staff, or outside, attorney. Other than this record or citizens who attend and physically record the meeting, there is no record (on earth at least) of what happened. Citizens who cannot attend have a right to more than an attorney's cliff notes. 

Status: SB 143 passed senate committee (3-2-0), and failed senate (11-18-0). Again, "Benedict" Jenkins voted against his own bill on the floor!

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Federal Implications

HCR 7 (rep. Mike Noel, Republican, district 73): This resolution opposes federal nuclear testing in Nevada.  The federal government has a dismal track record of protecting public health and safety in past nuclear, chemical, and other military experiments.  Citizens in Utah (the "Downwinders" group for one) and Nevada have suffered horrendous abuses, including denial of the truth, and timely and adequate treatment and recompense, by federal officials.

It also should be noted that the federal government has no legitimate reason to conduct nuclear testing while it simultaneously refusing to keep America's current arsenal of ballistic missiles serviceable.
Note: A more thorough discussion of this subject goes beyond the scope of Accountability Utah's Mission.

Status: HCR 7 passed house committee (14-0-1), house (67-0-8), senate committee (2-0-4), and passed senate (26-0-3).

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Illegal Aliens

Special Note: See our Feb. 21 expose, "Legislative Audit: 58,000+ Illegals Get Driver's License; Hundreds Register to Vote".

HB 239 (rep. Glen Donnelson, Republican, district 7): In 2002, rep. David Ure and sen. Howard Stephenson sponsored HB 144, to allow children of illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition at Utah colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements. HB 144 blatantly discriminated against American citizens — particularly those who achieved their status through legal and lawful means — and encouraged lawlessness.

An American citizen who moves away from Utah for a couple of years loses his resident status. Under HB 144, an illegal alien retains his status forever, no matter where he resides or what taxes he does or does not pay. See a flier by Accountability Utah on HB 144.

HB 239, on the other hand, would repeal in-state tuition advantages for illegal aliens. From lines 37-43:

(2) (a) "Eligible student" means a financially needy student who is:
(i) unconditionally admitted to and enrolled at a Utah postsecondary institution on at least a half-time basis, as defined by the board, in an eligible postsecondary program leading to a defined education or training objective, as defined by the board; and
(ii) [(A)] a resident student under Section 53B-8-102 and rules of the board[; or].
[(B) exempt from paying the nonresident portion of total tuition under Section 53B-8-106.]

HB 239 also entirely repeals Section 53B-8-106 (stricken above), which comprised the guts of HB 144.

In order to stop the lawless hordes — from all over the globe — who are invading our nation, we need to stop handing out enticing carrots, and stop thumbing our noses at law-abiding immigrants who dignify themselves by coming here legally.

Status: HB 239 was returned to the rules committee.  In other words, it failed house committee (8-6-1).

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Judicial Reform/Due Process

See also Good Bills/Parental Rights.

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Keep & Bear Arms

None at this time.

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Medical Freedom

See Good Bills, Due Process for Parents (etc.), HB 42.

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Parental Rights

HB 42 S1 (amended) (rep. Mike Morley, Republican, district 66): This bill prohibits government school employees from using the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), the court system, threats, or school policies to force parents to comply with their "mental health" advice. From lines 44-61:

(2) Except as provided in Subsection (4) or (5), school personnel may not:
(a) recommend to a parent or guardian that a child take or continue to take a psychotropic drug as a condition for attending school;
(b) require that a child take or continue to take a psychotropic drug as a condition for attending school;
(c) recommend that a parent or guardian seek or use any of the following:
(i) the administration of any psychotropic medication to a child;
(ii) a psychiatric or psychological treatment for a child; or
(iii) a psychiatric evaluation of a child;
(d) conduct a psychiatric or behavioral health evaluation of a child without the consent of the child's parent or guardian;
(e) recommend a specific licensed physician, psychologist, or any other health specialist to a parent or guardian for a child; or
(f) make a child abuse or neglect report to authorities, including the Division of Child and Family Services, solely on the basis that a parent or guardian refuses to consent to:
(i) the administration of a psychotropic drug to a child;
(ii) a psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral treatment for a child; or
(iii) a psychiatric or behavioral health evaluation of a child.

The bill also attempts to restrict courts and DCFS from seizing children because parents refuse to subject them to mind-altering drugs. From lines 148-152:

(4) A court or the Division of Child and Family Services may not remove a minor from the custody of his parent on the basis of the refusal of the parent solely to consent to:
(a) the administration of a psychotropic drug to a child;
(b) a psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral treatment for a child; or
(c) a psychiatric or behavioral health evaluation of a child.

The bill goes to great length (perhaps a bit too far) to ensure that government school employees are not prohibited from otherwise freely communicating with parents regarding mental health issues (see lines 62-89).

In any event, this bill is, at the very least, a step in the right direction.  Unfortunately, judges in Utah have little incentive to follow it. See, for example, our write-up on judicial retention elections.  In addition, government agencies have little incentive to comply with this law because they are virtually immune from suit (see SB 55 S1 in our 2004 report and SB225 S1 in our 2003 report in our Annual Reports section or in the Extended Bill Summaries page of our Pink Slip Reports section).

Note: HB 42 stands in direct opposition to the impending implementation of the "New Freedom Commission", promoted by the Bush regime. One of the many goals of this new, Orwellian commission is to establish mental health screening programs for every child in every government school.

Status: HB 42 passed house committee (7-3-0), house (41-32-2), and was not considered by the senate.

HB 89 (rep. LaVar Christensen, Republican, district 48): According to lines 12-15, this bill:

Amends the Judicial Code by repealing the presumption that a person who has direct and exclusive care and control of a minor at the time the minor is abused is responsible for the abuse or neglect.

People are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. No parent is all-knowing or all-powerful.  Children are often abused without a parent's knowledge, and often without the parent even having a reasonable opportunity to avoid the situation before it occurs.

Status: HB 89 passed house committee (9-2-0), house (47-25-3), and senate committee (3-1-4).

SB 59 (amended) (sen. Mark Madsen, Republican, district 13): Parents who educate their children at home or in private schools, and who accept the notion that government must grant approval of their desires, are required to fill out an annual "permission" form that details their instruction in government-mandated subjects (including how much time the child received instruction, days off, etc.).

Local government school boards can further harass these parents by denying them "permission" to home school, by nit-picking over how they fill out their "permission slips," and by attempting to dictate subject matter and other minutiae.

SB 59 strikes the following language in lines 44-47 and 53-55:

[(a)] (i) a minor over age 16 may receive a partial release from school to enter employment if the minor has completed the eighth grade[. Minors excused under this subsection are required to attend part-time schooling or home schooling as prescribed by the board]...
[(ii) the minor is taught at home in the subjects prescribed by the State Board of Education in accordance with the law for the same length of time as minors are required by law to be taught in the district schools;]

Lines 70-93 would restrict the power of these government school boards:

(2) (a) On an annual basis, a school-age minor shall be excused from attendance by a local board of education and a parent exempted from application of Subsections 53A-11-101 (2) and (3), if the minor's parent files a signed affidavit with the minor's school district of residence, as defined in Section 53A-2-201 , that the minor will attend a home school and receive instruction as required by Subsection (2)(b).
(b) Each minor who attends a home school shall receive instruction:
(i) in the subjects the State Board of Education requires to be taught in public schools; and
(ii) for the same length of time as minors are required to receive instruction in public schools, as provided by rules of the State Board of Education.
(c) Subject to the requirements of Subsection (2)(b), a parent of a minor who attends a home school is solely responsible for:
(i) the selection of instructional materials and textbooks;
(ii) the time, place, and method of instruction, and
(iii) the evaluation of the home school instruction.
(d) A local school board may not:
(i) require a parent of a minor who attends a home school to maintain records of instruction or attendance;
(ii) require credentials for individuals providing home school instruction;
(iii) inspect home school facilities; or

(iv) require standardized or other testing of home school students.
(3) Boards excusing minors from attendance as provided by Subsections (1) and (2) shall issue a certificate stating that the minor is excused from attendance during the time specified on the certificate.

In other words, SB 59 would require local school boards to "excuse" parents from attending government indoctrination centers (i.e. schools) based upon an annual, signed affidavit from the parents stating that the minor will be taught at home in accordance with the government's curriculum and time requirements.  Parents would not be required to fill out additional minutiae, or otherwise comply with the whims of tyrannical school board members.

It should be clearly stated that SB 59 still turns a blind eye to the unjust supposition that parents must seek government permission to educate their own offspring.  This supposition is intolerable, and should be vehemently opposed, ignored, and ridiculed by all freedom-loving citizens.  Our Creator empowered parents, not the government, to educate their children.  For this reason, it could be argued that SB 59 is still too immoral and unacceptable to support.

Still, SB 59 does reduce the egregious reporting requirements and, aside from the repulsive "permission" slip, makes it virtually impossible for government school board members to further stick their noses in parents' business.  We view this as a very small step in the right direction.

Status: SB 59 passed senate committee (7-0-0) and senate (26-0-3).

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Privacy

None at this time.

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Property Rights

None at this time.

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Taxes, Regulation, Subsidies

HJR 12 (rep. John Dougall, Republican, district 27): This joint resolution proposes a constitutional amendment to repeal the property tax and uniform fee on personal property.  It is about time.

Status: Amazingly, this bill was held in house committee (12-1-2).

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Bad Bills

Abortion (Infanticide)

HB 37 (representative David Ure, Republican, district 53): This bill reauthorizes (i.e. solidifies into statute) all of the "administrative rules" for all state agencies.

The Utah Department of Health, in collaboration with various state legislators and other officials, recently published a "rule" that allows taxpayer resources such as equipment, facilities, and employees to be used for ALL types of abortion on demand.

The legislature has now endorsed and enforced this rule.  Once again, the cries of the unborn went unheeded by legislators.

For more information on the slaughter of the unborn using your tax dollars, see our alert, "Utah Government Takes Another Stab at Unborn," as well as the Abortion/Infanticide section of our Issues & Alerts page.

Status: HB 37 passed the house without a committee hearing (69-1-5), senate committee (3-0-2), and senate (25-0-4).
 

See also HB 131 (amended) under Bad Bills, Free Speech.

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Cruel & Unusual Punishment

Senate Confirmation of Robert Adkins: On October 26, 2000, Paul Wayment left his 2-year old, sleeping son, Gage Wayment, strapped in his car seat for approximately 45 minutes while he scouted an area for deer prior to the hunting season. The boy managed to unstrap himself, get out of the car, and wander off. He was found dead several days later by searchers.

Paul Wayment had to live with the anguish of his mistake. His boy was gone from him. Rather than leave the destitute man alone, then-Summit County Attorney Robert Adkins apparently felt that the state needed to exact it's own pound of flesh, and decided to prosecute Paul Wayment for negligent homicide.

The district judge (Robert Hilder) sentenced Paul Wayment to 30 days in jail. On the day he was to begin his sentence, July 17, 2001, Paul Wayment traveled near to the spot where Gage Wayment's body was found and put a bullet through his own head.

Adkins downplayed his decision to drag this emotionally unstable man through the added humiliation of court and potential jail time, with the flimsy excuse that he recommended to the judge that Paul Wayment not receive jail time. In his senate confirmation hearing on February 7, Adkins stated: "I do not back away from difficult cases."  Nor do we, Mr. Adkins.
Source: "Judicial nominee comes under fire at hearing: Citizens criticize Summit official's handling of cases," Geoffrey Fattah, Deseret News, Feb. 6, 2005.

Laws written on paper do not constitute deity, and should never be pursued absent common sense or devoid of appropriate compassion. Any person sick enough to pursue such an unjust and unmerciful prosecution has no business being a judge.

Status: The senate unanimously (28-0-1) confirmed Adkins' nomination.

See HB 92 under Bad Bills, Taxes, Regulation, Subsidies.

See HB 242 under Bad Bills, Keep & Bear Arms (Self-Defense).

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Decentralization of Power

HB 166 (rep. Paul Ray, Republican, district 13): This bill allows local governments to enact laws that are more restrictive than the "Utah Indoor Clean Air Act," but not less restrictive.  If local governments are to be trusted at all with regard to modifying this act, then they should have the power to make modifications in both directions.

Note, for example, that if SB 77 passes, local governments would not be able to counteract its unjust effects on private property owners.

Status: HB 166 failed house committee (2-6-3).

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Election Reform

See also Unsure/Skeptical, HB 211.

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Equal Standing Before the Law

HJR 2 (rep. Craig Frank, Republican, district 57): This resolution would require legislative research to attach a family impact statement to each piece of legislation. Questions include:

  • "How does this legislation strengthen the stability of the family and especially the marital commitment?"

  • "Does this legislation assist the family to perform its function or does it substitute government activity for the function? How?"

  • "What specific services would this legislation provide to families?" and

  • "By what amount does this bill increase or decrease family earnings for a family of five in Utah making $55,000 per year?"

Well, of course families should certainly be considered in any piece of legislation considered. But are these families more important than widows who make far less each year? Is the stability of a family of more import than that of an orphan? HJR 2 encapsulates the political statement in George Orwell’s Animal Farm,

"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

We could add widows, orphans, the disabled, the homely, and any other group of persons who, because of their circumstance or disability, never had the privilege of being married into HJR 2's definition of "the family." But in order to cover all the possibilities and be just and fair, we would eventually end up listing enough groups to cover everyone in our society. Without acknowledging it, we would end up right back where we started: viewing each and every individual as equal before the law.

Rather than end up that way, we should start off that way.

Status: HJR 2 was held (i.e. failed) house committee.

See also Bad Bills, Thought Crimes, SB 181 and HB 50.

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Ethics

HB 14 (amended) (rep. Fred Hunsaker, Republican, district 4): The original (introduced) bill reduced voter control over elections and allowed officials and bureaucrats to sneak tax increases under the citizen radar screen.  Specifically, HB 14 did the following:

  • Eliminates the requirement on government to mail notices of proposed property tax increases (lines 647-656);

  • Eliminates voter challenges (lines 737-778); and

  • Reduces power of election judges to prohibit unqualified voters from receiving a ballot (lines 3298-3300).

As we argued, voters already have enough problems controlling runaway elections.

A new amended bill has been introduced and is still under review.  It appears to remove most of this offensive language, but presents a new round of comprehensive changes, some of which again appear ominous.  For this reason, HB 14 remains in the Bad Bills section.

For more information on the sad state of our election process, see our recent write-up on election snafus.

Status: HB 14 (amended) passed house committee (10-1-0), house (72-0-3), and senate committee (4-0-4), and senate (24-0-5).

HJR 5 S1 (Rep. Dave Hogue, Republican, district 52): According to Article VI, Section 19 of the Utah State Constitution, legislators already have the power to impeach and remove the Governor and state and judicial officers (with the exception of justices of the peace), for "high crimes, misdemeanors, or malfeasance in office."  According to Article VI, Section 21,

All other officers not liable to impeachment shall be removed for any of the offenses in this article [i.e. high crimes, misdemeanors, or malfeasance], in such a manner as may be provided by law.

Unfortunately, the legislature is habitually derelict in exercising its current authority, as we have amply documented throughout our website.

HJR 5, however, amends Article VI, Section 21 of the Utah Constitutional granting the legislature power to remove any officer for any reason whatsoever. From lines 33-35 of HJR 5:

(3) Nothing in this constitution may be construed to impair the authority of the Legislature to provide by statute for the removal by recall of officers not liable to impeachment for reasons other than the offenses specified in this article.

This is a vague and dangerous precedent.  The legislature would be empowered to write statute authorizing itself to conduct witch hunts based upon any frivolous, unsound reasoning.

Status: HJR 5 passed house committee (9-0-4) and failed the house (45-27-3).

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Federal Implications

None at this time.

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Free Speech

HB 131 (amended) (rep. Douglas "Adolf" Aagard, Republican, district 15): This frightening bill would destroy free speech (to include peaceful abortion protests), and undermine religious freedom and property rights.  This bill specifically:

"...Provides that knowingly approaching within eight feet of a person for the purpose of passing out literature, displaying an object, or engaging in protest or counseling without the other person's consent is a class B misdemeanor if the person is within 100 feet of an entrance door to a health care facility or place of worship." (lines 13-18, emphasis added)

HB 131 is a natural extension of the modern "Free Speech Zones" philosophy that has its roots in Hindenburg and Hitler's Nazi Germany, as well as Stalin's Russia.  The entire country of America used to be a free speech zone.  Now, citizens beg the government for permits to freely speak their mind — even public property.  The bold history of free speech is being rejected in favor of ever-expanding zones of censorship.

HB 131 also allows any passerby to sue the person or persons who pass out fliers, attempt to engage them in conversation, etc.:

"...[HB 131] permits recovery of civil damages and injunctive relief against a person who violates the above provisions or who incites another person to violate the above provisions;... and provides that an action for recovery of civil damages or injunctive relief is not dependent upon a person's conviction of the above provisions." (lines 19-21 and 24-25)

The vague phrase "incites another person" opens a Pandora's Box of opportunities for designing individuals to crush free speech.  In other words, even parties not directly involved in passing out literature or engaging in conversation could be held civilly liable for the peaceful actions of others.

Finally, this bill grants power to local governments to enact even more stringent statutes against free speech:

"...[HB 131] permits local political subdivisions to adopt different ordinances or regulations provided that they are at least as restrictive as the above provisions..." (lines 22-23, emphasis added)

HB 131 is being sold as something that will protect people in churches and hospitals from speech they might be uncomfortable with.  As with anything pursued by big government, however, HB 131 destroys the inalienable right of people to engage in public discourse, even on their own property. Consider the following:

  • Churches could no longer be able to freely communicate on their own property.  Even if the pastor approves of a written or oral message being presented on church grounds, according to HB 131, one intolerant attendant or passerby could land the entire effort in jail and court.

  • Websites or ministers that decry abortion on demand could be held civilly liable for anyone who peacefully passes out anti-abortion information, or who attempts to engage others in conversation about alternatives to abortion, within 100 feet of hospitals that perform abortions with taxpayer dollars.

  • Property owners who own a home or business within 100 feet of a church would likewise be at risk if they conduct such activities on their property.

  • Religious missionaries who frequently volunteer in a hospital and who had the "audacity" to pass out a tract, or strike up a religious conversation, with someone who feigned interest in their religion within 100 feet of that hospital could later be jailed, fined, and sued.  Those missionaries would have to prove that the person wanted the literature or oral communication.  They would be fair game for malevolent people to bait and then harass and blackmail via court actions.

If HB 131 had been law throughout history, consider the following:

  • The American Sons of Liberty, who often relied upon religious organizations to disseminate their pamphlets, could have been arrested, jailed, fined, and sued simply because one parishioner disagreed with the content.

  • LDS founder Joseph Smith and his followers often passed out Books of Mormon and other tracts in front of other churches.  If just one church attendant or passerby did not like these tracts, however, they could have been arrested, jailed, fined, and sued.

  • Martin Luther, hailed by many as a crucial religious reformer, could have been sought for punishment by the government for protesting Catholic policies at the doors of a church near the Wittemburg castle in 1517.  Oh, that's right, he was.

The first amendment of the Bill of Rights echoes the inalienable right of all citizens to speak freely and to share their thoughts and information with others.  HB 131 would end that.  The price of tossing someone's literature in the trash bin is far less than the price of attacking the distributor's right to hand it to you or to speak to you.

It is particularly amazing that the churches of our day are silent or supportive of this heinous affront to liberty.  Not only are they now gun free havens for violent criminals, but they appear more than willing to become No Speech Zones as well.

Rather than stand for freedom — even when it may be inconvenient and uncomfortable — they now beg government for the tar, feathers, and fetters with which to silence alternative discourse and communication.  What they have apparently not figured out is that you cannot end the communication of others without ultimately ending your own.

What comes around goes around.  Get ready for the lawsuits and chaos.

Status: HB 131 passed house committee (11-1-1).
Historical Note: When Adolf Hitler assumed power, then-Reich President Paul von Hindenburg used article 48 of the Weimar Constitution to suspend civil rights, including free speech (see article 118). Rep. Douglas "Adolf" Aagard's HB 131 accomplishes the same objective, creating No Speech Zones around churches and hospitals, along with an additional layer of fear for anyone who dares to encourage others to speak freely about issues such as abortion and religion.

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Illegal Aliens

Special Note: See our Feb. 21 expose, "Legislative Audit: 58,000+ Illegals Get Driver's License; Hundreds Register to Vote".

HB 223 (amended) (rep. Curtis Oda, Republican, district 14): This bill is even more sinister than we originally thought.  It has been fraudulently marketed as prohibiting the Utah Driver License Division from knowingly granting drivers licenses to individuals who are above the law (aka: illegal aliens).

Currently in Utah, illegal aliens use matricula consular cards issued by the U.S. government or Mexico, to obtain a valid Utah driver's license. Utah is one of only four states to allow this flagrant circumvention of our laws governing immigration.

Because of our lackadaisical attitude, DMV offices have been inundated by hordes of illegal aliens — criminals — who are pouring across Utah's borders to obtain drivers licenses, university tuition breaks (also made possible by the legislature via House Bill 144 in 2002), and welfare "benefits". 

In a recent legislative audit, it was confirmed that over 50,000 illegal aliens have obtained Utah driver's licenses, most fraudulently using a Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for those who do not have a Social Security Number.  HB 223, again a supposed "reform" bill, does nothing to stop these criminals from using their ITIN to obtain a driver's license.

On the surface, HB 223 appears to require any renewed licenses to expire when the foreign visitor is no longer legally in America:

f) An original license or a renewal to an original license obtained using proof under Subsection (9)(a)(i)(E)(III) expires on the date of the expiration of the applicant's foreign visa, permit, or other document granting legal presence in the United States or on the date provided under this Subsection (8), whichever is sooner. (lines 152-155; see also lines 334-337, bold added)

This sounds like driver's licenses for illegals will be phased out, right?  Wrong!  Looks can be deceiving. Let's take a look at not only Subsection (9)(a)(i)(E)(III), but the surrounding verbiage:

(9) (a) In addition to the information required by Title 63, Chapter 46b, Administrative Procedures Act, for requests for agency action, each applicant shall have a Utah residence address and each applicant shall:
(i) provide the applicant's:
(A) full legal name;
(B) birth date;
(C) gender;
(D) between July 1, 2002 and July 1, 2007, race in accordance with the categories established by the United States Census Bureau;
(E) (I) Social Security number [or];
(II)
temporary identification number (ITIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service for a person who does not qualify for a Social Security number [Note: That includes most, if not all, illegal aliens]; or [Note: The placement of this "or" is key.  Illegals can either continue to use their ITIN or jump through the hoops below and be denied a license. Hmmm... Which route would you take?]
(III) (Aa) proof that the applicant is a citizen of a country other than the United States;
(Bb) proof that the applicant does not qualify for a Social Security number; and
(Cc) proof of legal presence in the United States, as authorized under federal law;
and
(F) Utah residence address [of the applicant] as documented by a form acceptable under rules made by the division under Section 53-3-104 ;

HB 223 also grants the corrupt Driver License Division power to determine what additional forms of identification are "acceptable".  In lines 51-58:

The division shall:
(1) in accordance with Title 63, Chapter 46a, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, make rules:
(a) for examining applicants for a license, as necessary for the safety and welfare of the traveling public;
(b) for acceptable documentation of an applicant's identity, Utah residence address, proof of legal presence, proof of citizenship of a country other than the United States, and other proof or documentation required under this chapter; [red, bold emphasis added]

As we have witnessed with regard to the gutting of SB 68 (the prohibition of taxpayer-funded abortions in almost all cases) enacted in the 2004 session, administrative bureaucracies have been empowered to completely rewrite laws through the Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act. 

This language effectively gives the "Fourth Branch" of state government a front door to make the current situation even worse.  And there's nothing worse than wasting everyone's time just so a handful of bureaucrats can turn hard work into toilet paper.

Immigration was an important benefit to the growth and strength of early America.  But in order for immigration to benefit America, those who are not inclined to obey wise laws must not be allowed to further corrupt our society.

It takes time to absorb, and become unified with, people from very different cultures.  History has proven that language and cultural barriers need to be adequately addressed if any society is to survive.  This is why policies were enacted to limit the number of immigrants, and to screen and test potential immigrants prior to awarding them citizenship.

Without sufficient time and other precautions, Utah will continue down the dismal road recently evidenced in California.  We will Balkanize and lose the one advantage we still have over other nations: a heritage of unity, a focus on maintaining essential freedoms, and a respect for just and wise laws.

Those who would come and refuse to abide by the laws that made our Country should not remain.  These criminals should be deported — not be rewarded with driver's licenses for breaking our laws. 

In order to stop the lawless hordes — from all over the globe — who are invading our nation, we need to stop handing out enticing carrots, and stop thumbing our noses at law-abiding immigrants who dignify themselves by coming here legally.

Unfortunately, HB 223 is a farce, a fraud, and will likely make matters even worse.

Status: HB 223 passed house committee (10-0-1), house (70-0-5), and senate committee (6-0-2), senate (21-8-0). It is going back to the house for a concurrence vote.  Folks, when no one votes against a bill that purports to curtail abuses by illegal aliens, realize that something is wrong!
Note: For more information on this topic, see "Illegal Aliens" on our Other Resources page.

SB 227 amended (sen. Curt "Kervorkian" Bramble, Republican, district 16): This bill is a slap in the face of every legal immigrant and citizen in the State of Utah.  It would provide illegal aliens — criminals — with a special "driving privilege card".  According to lines 253-255:

The division [Driver License Division] shall only issue a driving privilege card to a person whose privilege was obtained without using a Social Security number as required under Subsection 53-3-205 (9).

Of course, illegal aliens do not legally have a Social Security Number. The driver's license issue has been discussed at some length in the bill above. But to more fully understand the depth of this treachery, see our Feb. 21 expose, "Legislative Audit: 58,000+ Illegals Get Driver's License; Hundreds Register to Vote".

This type of betrayal is a trademark of sen. Bramble, who has made a career out of giving lip service, and then destroying, the limited government movement. As another of many examples, see how Bramble repeatedly stabbed the unborn in the back.

Status: SB 227 passed senate committee (4-1-3) and senate (21-8-0).

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Judicial Reform/Due Process

SB 135 S1 (sen. Lyle Hillyard, Republican, district 25): This bill allows any judicial district to create a drug court; and allows Davis and Weber counties to create a pilot drug board to oversee intensive substance abuse treatment for parolees under conditions set out by the Board of Pardons and Parole and the Department of Corrections.

Drug courts turn judges into prosecutorial collaborators. Rather than provide an objective ruling, the judge is reduced to a glorified social worker who works arm-in-arm with a prosecutorial-minded team of psychologists, legal drug pushers, and other "professionals" to "treat" the defendant.  This Orwellian concept originated in the former Soviet Union as a way of dealing with political dissidents.

Status: SB 135 passed senate committee (4-0-4), senate committee (4-0-4), senate (28-0-1), house committee (8-0-1), and house (70-0-5).

See also Bad Bills/Parental Rights.

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Keep & Bear Arms (Self-Defense)

HB 242 (rep. Scott Wyatt, Republican, district 5): This bill would enact enhanced criminal penalties for individuals who mistreat animals, to include a life-time gun ban for relatively minor acts, and property rights infringements that border on cruel and unusual punishment. According to lines 80-80a and 85-86:

"A person is guilty of aggravated cruelty to an animal if the person, without having legal privilege to do so:... knowingly or intentionally places or causes to be placed in a location accessible to an animal, a poison or poisonous substance that is attractive to one or more species of animals..."

Bills like these are imbecilic.  Who will assign meaning to this vague notion of "legal privilege" and when will they do so?  Will rep. Wyatt spend his lunch breaks fielding phone calls from people who desire the "legal privilege" to set animal traps that contain poison?

What about the farmer who sets poisonous traps for varmints that are eating his crops (or killing his sheep)?  Or the homeowner who is attempting to rid his home of mice or rats?  Would they still have "legal privilege" if their trap attracted some other animal they were not "legally privileged" to kill?  And what will animal-centric attorney zealots at PETA do with this new playground of potential litigation?

* * * * * * *

GoUtah! has also provided the following independent analysis of HB 242 as it relates to those who cherish their God-given right to keep and bear arms:

HB 242 would elevate certain misdemeanors to felonies. Why is this a gun-rights issue? It's a gun-rights issue because federal law automatically prohibits you from buying, owning, shooting, or even touching a firearm or ammunition for the rest of your life if you've ever been convicted of any type of felony. Thus, for example, if you carry a prescription pill loose in your pocket, this is a felony in the state of Maryland, even if it's your own legally-purchased prescription pill that's in your pocket. Suppose you get caught and convicted in Maryland for carrying your prescription-strength ibuprofen tablet loose in your pocket. Because this is a felony in that state, you would permanently lose your Second-Amendment rights everywhere in the United States, and if at any time during the rest of your life you were to get caught holding a loaded firearm in your hands, you could spend ten years in federal prison for being "a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition".

Under the Bush Administration's "Project Safe Neighborhoods", federal prosecutors nationwide are vigorously prosecuting and imprisoning people who commit even minor technical violations of federal gun law, so the scenario described above is not unrealistic.

The question is: Should you automatically and permanently lose your Second-Amendment rights and your right to effective self-defense for a relatively minor offense? GOUtah! says "NO WAY!", which is why we oppose any legislation that elevates potentially minor offenses to felony status.

All of the really major violent crimes (robbery, rape, murder, etc.) have been felonies for centuries. The automatic ban on gun ownership by convicted felons was passed in 1968 as part of the Federal Gun-Control Act. At the time, this ban was intended to be used as a means to disarm people with violent criminal records, and to give federal prosecutors an additional way to lock these people up and take them off the street if they continued to carry guns.

However, the trend in recent years has been to bestow felony status on all sorts of lesser crimes, with the result that lots of non-violent citizens are being automatically and permanently stripped of their right to own firearms. Coupled with the current "zero-tolerance" approach to prosecuting federal gun-law violations, this trend is having the effect of sending significant numbers of non-violent Americans to federal prison for merely exercising their basic right to possess and carry firearms.

The Federal Gun-Control Act includes a provision whereby non-violent felons (like Martha Stewart) can regain their gun rights once they've served their sentence. However, all applications for restoration of gun rights must be processed by the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives), and Congress has refused to provide a single penny of funding for BATFE to process these applications since the early 1990s. Thus, if you get convicted for carrying your own prescription pill in your pocket in Maryland and you subsequently apply to get your gun rights reinstated, the BATF will simply return your application to you with a letter saying: "Sorry, but we cannot process your request at this time."

The ultimate solution to all of this would be to repeal or amend the Federal Gun-Control Act. However, this isn't likely to happen soon, so the best we can do for now is to vigorously oppose any legislation that would add to the existing list of felony-level crimes.

Thus, we get back to HB 242. HB 242 would cause certain misdemeanor acts of cruelty to an animal to become felonies. We certainly don't advocate cruelty to animals, nor do we object to the existing laws against it, nor would we object to more vigorous enforcement of the existing laws, including hard jail time for people convicted of misdemeanor offenses involving cruelty to animals. Nor would we necessarily object to elevating a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor, which would allow stiffer penalties.

What we DO object to is elevating a misdemeanor to a felony, which could result in an automatic lifetime loss of gun rights for a relatively minor act. For example, under HB 242, you could permanently lose your gun rights if your 17-year-old son is helping you to change the antifreeze in your car, and you deliberately drain the old antifreeze from the vehicle into the gutter. While we certainly don't advocate draining your antifreeze into the gutter (where animals could find it and drink it and get poisoned), we don't believe that such an act should be sufficient grounds to permanently strip you of your right to own a firearm. Or, if you were having a really bad day and you kicked your dog, you could be charged with "torturing an animal", which would be a felony under HB 242 (even if the dog isn't injured). We don't approve of people kicking their dogs under any circumstances, but then neither do we think that this particular act, disgusting as it is, should in and of itself automatically cause you to lose your Second-Amendment rights for the rest of your life.

* * * * * * *

Clarification: While Accountability Utah joins GoUtah! in opposing animal cruelty, we do not necessarily endorse "hard jail time" for people who are convicted of any misdemeanor involving cruelty against an animal.  Under our current, corrupt system of statutes and courts, a mere conviction may not constitute reality, and other circumstances, including the needs of the perpetrator, may require alternative forms of handling the situation.

Status: HB 242 passed house committee (14-1-0) and house (56-15-4).

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Medical Freedom

HB 25 S1 (rep. Jackie Biskupski, Democrat, district 30): Midwifery (or home birthing) is technically illegal in Utah, though many Utahns wisely and courageously thumb their noses at this unjust, immoral law.  In addition to it being the right of parents to deliver their baby as they see fit, midwife deliveries are statistically much safer than hospital deliveries.

This bill provides a new layer of government regulation in the form of midwifery certification and licensure, governed by an unelected board of individuals. It also provides some legal recognition of midwifery, but this recognition comes at an unacceptable regulatory price.

Proponents of this bill are asking those who defy current law to accept this Trojan Horse of regulation, and ignore the likelihood that this licensure will soon expand to micro-regulate all midwives through onerous regulatory hoops and stiff fines and punishments. In addition, as is par for the course, increased regulation will inevitably raise the cost of midwifery services as is the case with "professional" medical services today.

Status: HB 25 (amended) passed house committee (7-1-0), house (41-30-4), and senate committee (7-2-0).

See also Bad Bills, Due Process (for Parents, etc.), SB 83.

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Parental Rights

See also Bad Bills/Free Speech, HB 131.

SB 15 (amended) (sen. Chris Buttars, Republican, district 10): This bill horrifically broadens the definition of child abuse to include any "crime" committed in the presence of children.  Once again, Buttars appears to be playing a clever game to deceive citizens.  From lines 29-33 of the original (referred to as "introduced") SB 15:

(1) "Abused child" means a child 17 years of age or younger who is a victim of: (a) sexual abuse or [serious] physical abuse [and who is 17 years of age or younger.]; or (b) other criminal offense committed against the child or committed in the presence of the child. (29-33)

What if the person is breaking a bad law, or is committing a trivial crime such as jaywalking or driving with a broken tail light?

What if an innocent spouse is involved?  Several cases have come to our attention where an abusive spouse has repeatedly trespassed or violated court orders.  The other spouse was forced to call the police for assistance, and the Utah Department of Child & Family Services (DCFS) then stepped in and attempted to seize the children because these actions occurred "in the presence of children".

Buttars original SB 15 was attacked for these and other weaknesses.  In response, Buttars now offers this amended version that would accomplish the same sinister objective using different verbiage:

1) "Abused child" means a child 17 years of age or younger who is a victim of:
(a)
sexual abuse or [serious] physical abuse [and who is 17 years of age or younger.]; or
(b) other crimes involving children where the child is a primary victim or a critical witness, SUCH AS in domestic violence cases and drug-related child endangerment cases.
(lines 29-33b, bold caps added)

Notice the choice phrase "such as...", which in layman's terms means "including, but not in any way limited to..."  In other words, "other crimes" still has no limitations, and can include any crime where the child could be called as a witness.

SB 15 (amended) would STILL encourage DCFS to attempt ridiculous attacks on innocent parents and families.

SB 15 (amended) also empowers existing quasi-governmental organizations known as "Children Justice Centers," to get intimately involved in managing this new definition of "abuse." From lines 52-55c:

(1) (a) There is established a program that provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, nonprofit, intergovernmental response to sexual abuse of children [and serious], physical abuse of children, and other crimes involving children where the child is a primary victim or a critical witness, SUCH AS in domestic violence cases and drug-related child endangerment cases, in a facility known as a Children's Justice Center. (see also lines 97-101; bold caps added)

Intergovernmental could also be termed "intermeshed with government" (see our discussion of "fascism" in HB 179). These "centers" receive tax dollars and therefore will have no financial incentive to resist the will of the state.  Through SB 15 (amended), they will soon comprise another layer of bureaucracy, including, no doubt, expert witnesses who will join DCFS, the Guardians ad Litem Office, Child Protective Services, and the Utah Attorney General's Office in testifing against innocent parents in court.

To learn more about this intermeshed involvement, consider lines 136 and 141-153:

(4) The Advisory Board on Children's Justice shall:... (e) review, evaluate, and make recommendations concerning state investigative, administrative, and judicial handling in both civil and criminal cases of child abuse, child sexual abuse, [and] neglect, and other crimes involving children where the child is a primary victim or a critical witness, SUCH AS in domestic violence cases and drug-related child endangerment cases; (f) recommend programs to improve the prompt and fair resolution of civil and criminal court proceedings; and (g) recommend changes to state laws and procedures to provide comprehensive protection for children [of] from abuse, child sexual abuse, [and] neglect, and other crimes involving children where the child is a primary victim or a critical witness, SUCH AS in domestic violence cases and drug-related child endangerment cases. (5) The Advisory Board on Children's Justice may not supersede the authority of the contracting public agency to oversee the accountability of the center, including the budget, costs, personnel, and management pursuant to Section 67-5b-104 and Title 51, Chapter [2] 2a, Audits of Political Subdivisions, Interlocal Organizations, and Other Local Entities. (bold caps added)

Finally, in an ironic twist, sen. Buttars calls for General Shurtleff to educate the public on this new definition of abuse.  From lines 69-70 and 92-93:

(3) The attorney general and each center shall fulfill the statewide purpose of each center by: (k) enhancing the community understanding of criminal offenses committed against or in the presence of children.

However, Buttars recently stated:

"I think that anything this prominent [the upcoming marriage amendment] will be challenged legally and it will be my suggestion that we have independent outside counsel who is really into constitutional law. Mark Shurtleff isn't."

If Shurtleff is not "into constitutional law," why is Buttars putting him in charge of educating the public on the law? The bizarre relationship between these two is only eclipsed by the legislation they both pursue in tandem.  Shurtleff, after all, was the primary drafter of SB 175 S2 in the 2004 session, an unconstitutional attack on your property rights (see our analysis of SB 175 S2).

Note: The Utah Eagle Forum rallied around sen. Buttars, even after he attacked your property rights and after his repeatedly dismal voting performance (see our 2004 and 2003 Annual Report).

The Utah Eagle Forum encouraged citizens to attend an August 18, 2004, press conference sponsored by Buttars and another representative and a political organizing meeting in Buttars' home on September 24, 2004. Buttars was also a featured speaker at the Utah Eagle Forum's January 8, 2005, annual convention.

Citizens should realize that accountability does not apply to politicians only, but to the citizens who enable their behavior.  See our Issue in Focus: "How Citizens Enable Political Corruption," and learn how you, or your organization, can be more effective and foster more self-respect.

To learn more about the parental rights you DO NOT have under Utah law, see our alert, "Utah Legislature Declares War on Your Family" and the Parental Rights section of our Issues & Alerts page.

Status: SB 15 passed senate committee (5-0-3), house committee (10-0-3), house (62-0-13) and the senate concurred with house amendments (28-0-1). In the senate, Buttars even received support from anti-family zealots such as Dan Eastman (golf buddy of DCFS director Richard Anderson), Patrice Arent, and Paula Julander.

SB 72 (amended) (sen. Dan Eastman, Republican, district 23): In cases where the state has seized children from parents, this bill allows unelected bureaucrats at the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to deny parent time if they feel it may somehow prevent "emotional anguish". From lines 411-417:

(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (9)(a), the person designated by the division or a court to supervise a parent-time session may deny parent-time for that session if the supervising person determines that, based on the parent's condition, it is necessary to deny parent-time in order to:
(i) protect the physical safety of the child;
(ii) protect the life of the child; or
(iii) prevent the child from suffering emotional anguish.

SB 72 adds insult to injury and is par for the course for anti-family zealots like sen. Eastman (also a golf buddy of DCFS director Richard Anderson).  Parents are already denied basic due process SB 72 will be used to deny innocent parents even minimal visitation with their shell-shocked children.

To learn more about the parental rights you DO NOT have under Utah law, see our alert, "Utah Legislature Declares War on Your Family" and the Parental Rights section of our Issues & Alerts page.

Status: SB 72 (amended) passed senate committee (3-0-3), senate (28-0-1), house committee (8-0-0), and house (65-0-10).

SB 83 (amended) (sen. Dave Thomas, Republican, district 18): This bill is even more watered-down than the final product that failed last year (SB 90 S4 (amended) — also by sen. Thomas), which barely made our "Good Bills" list last year.  SB 83 is now too weak to be considered a positive step for the following reasons:

1) SB 83 requires a weaker standard of evidence against parents.  Last year's bill was "beyond a reasonable doubt", and this year's bill is only "clear and convincing evidence.")Judges currently apply this standard in many cases in which they abuse innocent parents, which leads us to the second problem.

2) Under SB 83, accused parents are still not afforded a trial by a jury of their peers.  One man, an unelected judge with a virtual guarantee of lifetime appointment and virtually no incentive to place the needs of the family over the desires of state bureaucracies, determines the fate of these parents.  This is tyrannical and wrong.
For more information, see our Issue in Focus: "Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?" and our write-up on judicial retention elections.

3) SB 83 does not require the medical situation to be deadly serious before the state is allowed to even consider intervention.  Even if SB 83 passes, the state can initiate court action against parents who refuse to put their child on mind/behavior altering medication, or who try homeopathic cures rather than pharmaceutical drugs.

4) If the court does find that a parent's medical decision does constitute neglect, this is still grounds, according to other state statute, to permanently remove the child from his parents.

5) SB 83 will actually be harmful by giving the appearance that due process is in place, when, in fact, it is not.

Citizens have brought DCFS and judicial abuses to legislators' attention for years now, and have repeatedly demanded that their due process rights be respected.  Unfortunately, legislators are unwilling to recognize that our laws are as respected as toilet paper in the halls of the judicial branch.  They refuse to restore judicial accountability and due process, and instead run "handy wipe" bills like SB 83.

Parents are obligated by their Creator to make the tough decisions regarding the medical care of their children.  It is high time parents were again treated with the respect due their monumental responsibility — but through real legislation, not another farce.

DCFS even appears to be endorsing SB 83.  According to the Salt Lake Tribune:

Adam Trupp, policy analyst for DCFS, said while the bill remains under close review, Thomas has worked with the agency over the summer and listened to their concerns. "It creates a reasonable standard that people can understand and that is great." This differs from the controversial measure last year in that Thomas was pushing to have a parent presumed competent to make a medical decision for their child unless the state could prove otherwise "beyond a reasonable doubt." That legal standard — typically reserved for criminal proceedings — is the highest evidentiary threshold of proof in the judicial system. State DCFS officials last session said that such a threshold would flip the agency's attention to the parent to assess competency, rather than deal with the welfare of the child. Thomas was willing to lower the evidentiary standard in SB83 and also established the "reasonable and prudent" measurement that parents and officials can look to. "It sets a standard that lawyers can understand and the public and parents can as well," Trupp said. "What it does is clearly state where the burden lies. . . If you are behaving reasonably and prudently as a parent and caring for your child in a way you believe to be appropriate, the state will not intervene." (bold added)
Source: "Parental choice in health care is back on the Hill," Amy Joi Bryson, Jan. 19, 2005.

Status: SB 83 (amended) passed senate committee (4-0-2), house committee (6-0-2), house (67-0-8), and the senate then concurred with house amendments (24-0-5). Thomas has even recruited the support of anti-family zealots such as Dan Eastman (golf buddy of DCFS director Richard Anderson), Patrice Arent, and Paula Julander.

See also Bad Bills, Medical Freedom, HB 25.

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Property Rights

SB 77 (amended) (sen. Michael Waddoups, Republican, district 6): This bill removes the exemption for private clubs from the "Indoor Clean Air Act". In other words, private property owners would no longer be allowed to let people smoke freely in their business establishments.

It is one thing to regulate smoking in public places, but quite another to do so in private places. Owners of private property have the right to encourage or restrict  smoking as they see fit within, and on, their premises — without interference from a government nanny.

The current "Utah Clean Air Act" provided an exemption in statute 26-38-4 for adjoining private clubs built prior to 1995 that shared ventilation systems with public places.  In these cases, the private clubs could allow smoking.  SB 77 also repeals this exemption.

Status: SB 77 (amended) passed senate committee (4-1-1), and senate (15-14-0).

Note: For more information on just how far this nanny attitude is being stretched, see "The Fat Tax: Public Policy Goes Belly Up."  To learn more about sen. Waddoups, see his Pink Slip Report.

HB 202 S3 (rep. Wayne Harper, Republican, district 43): This 100-page bill in its original form appeared to be sufficiently positive to include in our Good Bills section.  Unfortunately, it has been repeatedly watered down.  It now:

  • Continues to allow a single judge, rather than a jury of our peers, to decide the permanent fate of a family;

  • Continues to allow a single judge to forever remove children for frivolous reasons, and potentially makes it easier for the state to attack politically unpopular parental movements, including homeschoolers and gun owners.

Still No Trial by Jury of Peers

This bill has been sold as a comprehensive reform package. Yet, nowhere in the bill, does it allow parents to receive a trial by a jury of their peers.  Instead, parents must continue to grovel in front of one judge, who holds dictatorial power over their lives and the lives of their children.  Without jury rights, this so-called reform is merely a rearrangement of deck chairs on the sinking ship of state abuse and corruption.
For more information, see our Issue in Focus: "Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?" and our write-up on judicial retention elections.

Termination for Frivolous Reasons

In order to see just how ridiculous this bill has become, let's take a brief look at some of the definitions used.  From lines 255-264:

(20) (a) "Neglect" means:
(i) substantial failure by a parent, guardian, or person with care or custody of a child to provide the child with proper or necessary:
(A) care;
(B) food;
(C) shelter;
(D) clothing;
(E) training;
(F) physical safety; or
(G) medical or mental health care;
[bold added]

What does "proper or necessary care" and "proper or necessary training" mean exactly? Anything the court wants it to mean with the following few exceptions:

(b) "Neglect" does not include:
[(c) A] (i) a parent or guardian legitimately practicing religious beliefs [and] who, for that reason, does not provide specified medical or mental health treatment for a child[, is not guilty of neglect.]; or
(ii) disciplining or managing a child.

If you home school and fail to perfectly conform to state curriculum, are you providing proper care or training?  What if you train your children to use and respect firearms?  Will your judge view this as acceptable?

To see how this plays out, look at the vague and almost interchangeable definitions of "chronic neglect," "severe neglect," and "serious neglect":

[(7)] (6) "Chronic neglect" means a [repeated or patterned failure or refusal by a parent, guardian, or custodian to provide necessary care for a minor's safety, morals, or well-being] pattern of neglect. (lines 217-219)

"Severe child abuse or neglect" means... committing... chronic abuse...; serious neglect; chronic neglect... (lines 313-323)

In other words, "chronic neglect", "severe neglect", and "serious neglect" all equal each other, and essentially mean a "pattern", or history, of failing to provide some state-approved "care" or "training" — however long that period was and regardless of whether the parents were warned to stop following that pattern or not.

These confusing, broad definitions are not trivial, and can be used to forever terminate parental rights:

(1) The court may terminate all parental rights with respect to a parent if it finds [any]
one or more of the following:
(a) [that] the parent has abandoned the child;...
(b) the parent:
(i) is unfit or incompetent based on conduct or a condition that is seriously detrimental
to the health and safety of the child; and
(ii) is unable or unwilling to correct the unfitness or incompetence described in
Subsection (1)(b)(i);
(c) the parent commits:
(i) severe child abuse or neglect;
(ii) abuse that resulted in serious physical injury;
(iii) serious neglect;... [bold added]

Rather than turn to citizens and constituents to help him stay the course and enact meaningful reform, representative Harper has turned instead to his employee and a notorious rights abuser, DCFS head Richard Anderson, for assistance in rewriting his bill.  According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the two met and:

"Anderson said the meeting resulted in an agreement that the bill would be amended to take care of the agency's concerns."
Source: "Compromise reached on child welfare bill," Amy Joi Bryson, Deseret News, Feb. 26, 2005.

This is typical misbehavior, unfortunately.  And the result is that HB 202 is yet another farce and fraud.
Note: For ample information on Richard Anderson's corrupt administration, look up his name in our Google search on the upper left panel.

Status: HB 202 passed house committee (7-4-0) and the house (44-26-5).

See also HB 242 under Bad Bills, Keep & Bear Arms (Self-Defense).

See also HB 131 (amended) under Bad Bills, Free Speech.

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Taxes, Regulation, Subsidies

HB 11 (amended) (rep. Brad Dee, Republican, district 11): This bill establishes corporate welfare zones, called "development zones," and encourages financial "incentives" for businesses in those zones.  Government should not be in the business of creating wealth or determining which private provider should create wealth.

Government has the limited role of creating the environment so that the private sector can do these things on its own. These corporate welfare schemes traditionally encourage government to steal property from innocent owners.

Status: HB 11 passed house committee (7-0-0), senate committee (5-0-2), senate (26-0-3), and the house concurred with senate amendments (54-14-7).

HB 17 (rep. Sheryl Allen, Republican, district 19): This bill steals $3 million from taxpayers and gives it to filmmaking businesses (the bill refers to it as the "Motion Picture Incentive Fund").  This is further evidence that once government grants corporate welfare in any form, other entities soon come to the trough to partake of the spoils.

Status: HB 17 passed house committee (6-0-1), house (58-14-3), senate committee (5-0-2), and senate (21-2-6).

HB 18 S1 (amended) (rep. Rebecca Lockhart, Republican, district 64): This new substitute bill is still under review, however it appears to be more of the same in growing government.  Rather than give excess funds back to taxpayers, it calls for creating an interest-bearing account called the "Transportation Investment Fund."

The original version of this bill was a tax increase on vehicle owners.  It would have:

  • Increased taxes by $9 on temporary registration permits, motorcycle registration, passenger vehicle registration, and vintage vehicle registration;

  • Increased taxes by approximately 10% on small trailer, farm truck, large truck, and lifetime commercial trailer registration, original and annual personalized license plate set, and oversize and overweight permits; and

  • Increased taxes on duplicate certificate of registration, original and duplicate certificate of title, original and duplicate license plate set, original special group license plate set, motor carrier fee, and overweight vehicle fines.

Rep. Lockhart has repeatedly claimed that she is a conservative who stands for smaller government and less taxes and regulation.  It will be interesting to how this will be presented as anything other than a big government bill.
Note: This bill would also stop the repeal of special fuels surcharge.

Status: HB 18 passed house committee (9-0-6) and house (50-24-1).

HB 56 S1 (rep. Peggy Wallace, Republican, district 64): The original (introduced) version of this bill called for the following:

Provides that a divorce may not be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences if:
there are minor children of the marriage;
the parties have been married longer than ten years; or
one of the spouses objects. (
lines 11-16)

We argued that this bill unreasonably sets couples on unequal standing before the law.  Why can't this be granted if no spouse objects and they have been married longer than ten years?  What if the entire family feels that such should be granted by the court?

This new substitute bill creates yet another meaningless, taxpayer-funded "task force" to study marriage, divorce, "irreconcilable differences", pornography, etc.

As we stated before, a positive, meaningful reform with regard to divorce would consist of restoring the right to a trial by jury in cases where divorces become "irreconcilable" and nasty.  You don't need a "task force" to figure that out.
For more information, see our Issue in Focus: "Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?" and our write-up on judicial retention elections.

Status: HB 56 passed house committee (12-0-1) and house (62-12-1).

HB 58 (rep. Peggy Wallace, Republican, district 64): This bill would establish a "Government Efficiency and Effectiveness Review Committee," funded with more tax dollars.

Never mind the fact that the citizen's C.P.A., our elected State Auditor, is woefully under funded and cannot possibly monitor Utah's over $8 billion annual budget.  Never mind that his office is not permitted — by statute — to conduct a comprehensive audit of the government school system. Never mind that we have numerous legislative committees that apparently don't do anything.

And never mind that all representatives and senators, including Wallace, were theoretically elected to BE the "Government Efficiency and Effectiveness Review Committee."

Will somebody PLEASE teach this woman what a state auditor does, and let her in on the running joke regarding legislative committees?

To learn more about Wallace's grand ideas regarding government efficiency, see HB 179 below.

Status: HB 58 passed house committee (6-0-5), and was returned from the floor to the rules committee.

HB 92 (rep. Michael Noel, Republican): This bill increases the seat belt violation from an infraction to a class C misdemeanor, and temporarily revokes the license of minors who did not "buckle up". HB 92 is further evidence that there is no foreseeable end to the zealotry of government nannies.
Note: For more information on just how far this nanny attitude is being stretched, see "The Fat Tax: Public Policy Goes Belly Up."

Status: This bill was held (i.e. failed) house committee.

HB 179 (aka "The Enron Bill")  (rep. Peggy Wallace, Republican, district 64): In 2003, Wallace passed HB 240, Substitute 1, which established a "venture capital" contingency fund of $20 million each year. This fund provided welfare subsidies to private companies.

HB 240 flagrantly violated the spirit of the Utah State Constitution regarding non-interference in the free market system (see Article XII. Section 20, restricting "conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce."). The Utah State Auditor’s Office, charged with protecting the financial interests of taxpayers, has correctly filed suit to have HB 240 declared unconstitutional.
Source: "Fund act is subject of lawsuit," Brice Wallace, Deseret News, Nov. 2, 2004.  See our 2003 Annual Report to learn how your legislators voted on HB 240.

These taxpayer-funded corporate welfare monies comprise the "fund of funds" and are overseen by the "Utah Capital Investment Corporation." According to the Deseret News, this pseudo-government corporation now has assets of over $100 million.
Source: "Capital company names directors," Deseret News staff, Deseret News, May 14, 2004.

In other words, this pseudo-private corporation is allowed to gamble with taxpayer dollars.  This effort encapsulates the very meaning of the term "fascism" (government manipulation and control under the faηade of private ownership) and, again, directly contradicts Utah's Constitution:

"Article XII, Section 20. [Free market system as state policy -- Restraint of trade and monopolies prohibited.]
It is the policy of the state of Utah that a free market system shall govern trade and commerce in this state to promote the dispersion of economic and political power and the general welfare of all the people. Each contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce is prohibited. Except as otherwise provided by statute, it is also prohibited for any person to monopolize, attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons to monopolize any part of trade or commerce."

Wallace is back for more.  HB 179, known to some as "The Enron Bill," goes one step further by exempting the "Utah Capital Investment Corporation" empowered in HB 179 with taxpayer dollars, and its board of directors, from being forced to report taxpayer fund performance of venture firms and private equity firms.

In other words, there will be no accountability for how these unconstitutional funds are used.

Status: HB 179 passed house committee (7-0-0), house (73-0-2), and senate committee (3-0-4), and senate (27-0-2).
Note: For more information on this fascist agenda, see our commentary on Constitutional Amendment 2 (sponsored by now-House Speaker Greg Curtis) that passed last November.

SB 27 (amended) (sen. Alma Mansell, Republican, district 9): This bill provides blanket reauthorization for several pork barrel projects and onerous regulatory acts slated to be sunsetted (terminated by a certain date) in 2005.

The following were made permanent additions to state statute:

  • Legislative Process Committee

  • State Olympic Coordination Act

The following were extended from 2005 to 2015:

  • Dietitian Certification Act

  • Health Facility Administrator Act

  • Nurse Practice Act

  • Occupational Therapy Practice Act

  • Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors Licensing Act

  • Utah Digital Health Service Commission Act

The following were extended from 2005 to 2010:

  • Waste Tire Recycling Act

  • Public Education Job Enhancement Program

It is common strategy to pass questionable legislation with a sunset clause in it, and then to pass bills like SB 27 each year until those laws become permanent fixtures of a big government.
Note: For more information on the track record of sen. Mansell, see his Pink Slip report.

Status: SB 26 passed the senate without a senate committee hearing (25-0-4), house committee (10-0-1), house (53-16-6), and the senate concurred with house amendments (27-0-2).

SB 35 S1 (amended) (sen. Dave Thomas, Republican, district 18): Related to HB 179 above, the original (referred to as "introduced) SB 35 expanded the power of the pseudo-government agency, the "Utah Capital Investment Corporation":

9-2-1913. Organization of Utah fund of funds.
(1) The corporation shall organize the Utah fund of funds.
(2) (a) The Utah fund of funds shall make investments in private seed and venture capital partnerships or entities in a manner and for the following purposes:
[(a)] (i) to encourage the availability of a wide variety of venture capital in the state;
 [(b)] (ii) to strengthen the economy of the state;
 [(c)] (iii) to help business in the state gain access to sources of capital;
 [(d)] (iv) to help build a significant, permanent source of capital available to serve the needs of businesses in the state; and
[(e)] (v) to accomplish all these benefits in a way that minimizes the use of contingent tax credits.
(b) A business relationship or dealing with a local, state, or federal public entity does not preclude a private seed or venture capital partnership or entity from receiving an investment under Subsection (2)(a).

Mixing government control, taxpayer monies, and private monies, is the objective of the fascist philosophy.  The original SB 35 appears to have come under fire from irate citizens.

This substitute bill has craftily shifted focus to tightening relationships between higher education institutions and public/private venture capital entities.  From lines 46-52b:

(c) (i) Each institution may enter into business relationships or dealings with private seed or venture capital entities or partnerships consistent with Utah Constitution Article VI, Section 29, Subsection (2).
(ii) A business dealing or relationship entered into under Subsection (c)(i) does not preclude the private entity or partnership from participating in or receiving benefits from a venture capital program authorized or sanctioned by the laws of this state, unless otherwise
precluded by the specific law that authorizes or sanctions the program.
(iii) SUBSECTIONS (c)(i) AND (ii) ALSO APPLY TO THE UTAH COLLEGE OF APPLIED TECHNOLOGY 52b CREATED IN TITLE 53B, CHAPTER 2a, UTAH COLLEGE OF APPLIED TECHNOLOGY.

This substitute has the same problems as the original bill. See HB 179 above for more discussion on the problems with this bill.

Status: SB 35 S1 passed senate committee (4-0-3), senate (26-0-3), house committee (5-0-2) and house (69-0-6).

SB 37 (amended) (sen. Dan Eastman, Republican, district 23): This bill would dramatically raise corporate security bonds as follows:

  • From $50,000 to $75,000 for motor vehicle drivers licenses;

  • From $20,000 to $75,000 for special equipment dealers licenses;

  • From $1,000 to $10,000 for motorcycle, off-highway vehicle, or small trailer's or crusher's license; and

  • From $10,000 to $20,000 for body shop licenses.

This is a blatant attempt to squash the little guy.  Only larger establishments can afford these kinds of onerous regulations.
Note: Dan Eastman used to be an executive of a large automotive dealership in Utah.

Status: SB 37 (amended) passed senate committee (6-0-0), house committee (11-0-2), house (62-3-10), and the senate concurred with house amendments (24-0-5).

SB 108 S1 (amended) (sen. Curt Bramble, Republican, district 16): This latest amended substitute deals with telecommunications and is still under review.  The sponsor's dismal past performance with regard to pseudo-governmental organizations and general voting record, however, do not elicit cause for much hope.  In addition, this bill is changing too quickly to ever receive a thorough review and should be voted down for that reason alone.

Status: SB 108 S1 (amended) passed senate committee (6-0-0), senate (26-0-3), house committee (11-0-1), and house (67-0-8).

SB 109 S1 (sen. Karen Hale, Democrat, district 7): This bill repeals the provision that makes a seat belt violation for a person 19 years of age or older enforceable only as a secondary action when the person is detained for another offense.  Our ever-encroaching, nanny government never stops trying to protect us from ourselves.

Note: For more information on just how far this nanny attitude is being stretched, see "The Fat Tax: Public Policy Goes Belly Up."

Status: SB 109 passed senate committee (4-1-1) and senate (15-14-0).

See also Bad Bills, Property Rights, SB 77.

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Thought Crimes (Destruction of Equality & Due Process)

SB 181 (sen. Karen Hale, Democrat, district 7): Aside from an unimportant alteration in the severability clause, this bill is identical to HB 50 (discussed in detail below). As suspected, the Marxists attempted to start the bill in the senate this year.

Status: SB 181 failed senate committee (3-4-1). Look for it, or HB 50 below, to rise up again before this session is over.

HB 50 (rep. David Litvack, Democrat, district 26): This bill would do the following:

  • Place people on unequal grounds before the law;

  • Trivialize vile atrocities;

  • Establish thought crimes; and

  • Balkanize and destroy society.

From the bill language:

(1) If the trier of fact finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, in committing an offense, intentionally selected the victim or the property primarily because of the defendant's actual bias or prejudice, a: (a) class B misdemeanor is a class A misdemeanor; (b) class A misdemeanor is a third degree felony... [etc.]
(6) As used in this section, "bias or prejudice" means intentionally selecting the victim based on perceived or actual attributes that include, but are not limited to, race, color, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, or gender. [bold added]

Place people on unequal grounds before the law

HB 50 would use the law to divide (or segregate) both victims and victimizers into groups (or classes).  The criteria used to divide them is whether the crime was politically correct or not.

HB 50 trivializes the rights of those who are not victims of "politically incorrect" crimes. HB 50 proposes, for instance, that a woman who is sexually assaulted because the perpetrator was indifferent to her womanhood is somehow not as deserving of full justice as is a woman who was victimized due to "bias or prejudice".  Try telling a rape victim that her sufferings do not qualify for an "enhanced penalty" against her assailant — because she was not "fortunate enough" to be targeted for the color of her skin or her group affiliation.

This "group rights" philosophy is not new, and is perhaps best defended by Karl Marx, of Communist Manifesto fame. Marx constructed distinct, hierarchical groups in an attempt to build a moral, philosophical foundation for the political system of communism, or socialism.

Marx assigned different values to individuals based upon their “class”, or affiliation, in society. He then pitted these classes against each other, calling for the "working class" to rise up, overthrow the elite class, and establish a communal system would force all members to contribute their energies, rights, and property to the group.

Under Marx's philosophy, the group became an entity unto itself, greater than the individual. Sub-groups and individuality were to be neatly assimilated — in Borg-like fashion — for the good of the collective. In George Orwell's classic, 1984, this mentality was termed "groupthink." Unfortunately, Marx's groupthink philosophies have been stubbornly repeated around the globe, resulting in only dismal failure and untold human death and misery.

Senator Greg Bell, a Republican thought crimes proponent, recently exposed this diabolical "groupthink" mentality:

"Bell said he supports hate crimes [legislation] because when someone is 'a victim because he or she is a Jew or a Mormon or black or whatever... the perpetrator is assaulting the class. The true hate crime is not done against the person, it's done against the class.'"
Source: "Hate-crimes bill gets a lobbyist," Deborah Bulkeley, Deseret News, Jan. 29, 2005.

In contrast, the Declaration of Independence claims that "all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." President Thomas Jefferson spoke in his first inaugural speech of "equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion" and that if we ever departed from this principle "in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety."

The rights of the individual, regardless of his/her race, gender, or affiliations are pre-eminent and should be vigorously defended without regard to these characteristics. The blindfold of Lady Justice (Justitia) represents impartiality and her scales represent generality and uniformity.

In America, Justice is supposed to treat all victims and perpetrators equally.  But in Marxian philosophy, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" (Animal Farm, by George Orwell).

Trivialize vile atrocities

To see how ridiculous this unequal "groupthink" philosophy is, consider something as loathsome as pedophilia.  Under HB 50, justice would no longer be confidently meted out against these vile predators.  Again, from the bill:

"Bias or prejudice" means intentionally selecting the victim based on perceived or actual attributes that include, but are not limited to... sexual orientation..."

Pedophiles can argue that they feel "love" or "attraction" toward their victims.  Would they therefore be subject to a lesser penalty for the same, or similar, crime, than would a heterosexual Black Panther member who exhibited a "bias or prejudice" against his homosexual, Jewish neighbor?

Going further, what if a man were to assault a pedophile because he bragged about his latest child exploitation? Would that man then be subject to a greater penalty than would the pedophile for his act against a child?  The man would be "biased" or "prejudiced," while the pedophile appeared to be indifferent, even "benevolent" in his own mind.

Establish thought crimes

The following is what we expect our juries to perform in the courtroom:

1) Determine whether a particular action or crime was performed by the accused;

2) Whether the action or crime was an accident or purposely committed;

3) Whether the action or crime was committed with premeditation (or whether there was a conspiracy involved—even more premeditation); and

4) Whether there was malicious intent to do harm.

These are enormous, difficult questions for jurors to grapple with and attempt to satisfactorily answer. Wise jurors attempt in their deliberations to focus on specific actions rather than the perpetrator's belief system. In fact, the perpetrator's belief system need only be broached to perhaps assist in finding answers to the above questions.

Isn't that enough work for judges and juries to get right and to do well? A juror is supposed to answer these questions and also remain impartial, general, and uniform — treating all victims and perpetrators equally in their final deliberation.

Consider the ludicrous nature of this type of deliberations that would occur in the above example of the woman who was sexually assaulted. In addition to questions of accident, premeditation, and intent, with thought crimes in place, jurors would have to consider new questions such as the following:

  • Would the perpetrator have sexually assaulted someone else of some other persuasion if given the same opportunity?

  • Did he do it because he hates women in particular? Or just women of a particular color?

  • Did he do it because he was just mad at the world? Or was he beaten as a child?

Just where is the victim in all these new deliberations? She is largely forgotten and the courtroom turns from her violation to the philosophies and nuances that may exist in the mind of the accused.

It would be unreasonable, arrogant, and wrong to force a human being to judge a perpetrator's philosophies and belief systems along with everything else they are tasked to do. It is simply not within the power and authority of a biased and imperfect man.

The peaceful beauty of our traditional system of jurisprudence is that the accused is entitled to be judged by a jury of his peers who are assumed to be above the crime with which he is charged. With thought crimes, no such presumption can be made, because we are all guilty of thinking ill of some one or some group at one time or another. No matter how "reformed" or "politically correct" we think we are, we are all guilty of bias and prejudice.

Balkanize and destroy society

Putting people on different levels before the law destroys community, fosters resentment and bigotry, and will further Balkanize, or divide, Utahns. Ironically, thought crimes are diametrically opposed to Martin Luther King's purported vision for society. King publicly promoted the idea that people should not be judged by their creed or the color of their skin. Said he:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.'"

Thought crimes, by definition, require that we reject this proposition entirely and instead scrutinize victims and victimizers by their beliefs, rather than judging all by the blindfold and scales of impartiality, generality, and uniformity.

In a flier Accountability Utah shared with Republican delegates in Utah County in April 2003, we pointed out that thought crimes legislation is increasingly used to attack beliefs and expression. In countries like Canada and Great Britain, for example, the government has criminally prosecuted people who speak out against homosexual behavior.

During a debate on thought crimes legislation sponsored by Utah County citizens, Richard Wilkins, Professor of Law, at the BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School, and Frank Guliuzza, Professor of Political Science at Weber State, cited many other examples of how legislation expanding "group rights" and notions of "bias and prejudice" have already been used to persecute beliefs and expression.

The Answer to Injustice is Judicial Reform

Few are willing to seriously entertain the argument that our courts are just and full of integrity. But the heinous problems afflict more than just certain types, or groups, of people. We will only make our judicial system worse by completing the destruction of the concept we once cherished: that each person is equal under the law.

The true solution lies in removing judges who discriminate based upon skin-deep criteria. This involves restoring true judicial elections, electing legislators who will impeach the vermin that infest our judicial branch, restoring the option of a trial by jury in all cases, and educating juries as to their rightful powers and status in the courtroom. For more information, see our write-up on judicial retention elections or our Issue in Focus: "Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?"

Note: Accountability Utah is not particularly interested in the private sexual practices of consenting adults, be they normal or deviant. We become very interested, however, when groups (or sub-groups) attempt to use government to force their beliefs on others and to obtain special rights and dispensations that others do not have.  For more information on this subject, see the Thought Crimes section of our Issues & Alerts page.

Status: HB 50 failed house committee (4-7-0). Don't count it dead until the session is over, however.

See also HB 131 under Bad Bills, Free Speech.

See also HB 242 under Bad Bills, Keep & Bear Arms (Self-Defense).

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Unsure/Skeptical

HB 211 S1 (rep. John Dougall, Republican, district 27): The introduced (original) bill perpetuated gaping security problems and grants the Lt. Governor permission to purchase fraudulent electronic voting equipment. While this substitute bill perpetuates many of the same security problems, it could be argued that it does no worse than what is currently going on, and puts in a few requirements on automated voting systems that will allow for future reforms to be feasible.

The bill now requires new automated voting systems to:

...produce a permanent paper record that is available for the voter's inspection prior to the voter leaving the voting booth that:
(A) shall be available as an official record for any recount or challenge conducted with respect to an election where the automated voting system is used;
(B) shall include human readable printing which shall be the ultimate record of the voter's intent;
(C) may also include machine readable printing, which may be the same as the human readable printing; and
(D) allows poll watchers and poll counters to observe the election process to ensure its integrity.
(lines 76-85)

An unalterable paper record is essential, and must be printed, handled and examined by the voter on the spot, and deposited by the voter in the ballot box at the voting location. After all, just because the voter receives a paper receipt does not mean that the values on the receipt are counted correctly by the machine. Without some sort of paper trail kept at a voting location, one would have to go around collecting all of the receipts from all of the voters — hoping that none of the voters had lost or discarded their receipt — and then conduct a hand count and expect the government, a "board of canvassers", and public to take the results seriously.

Where this bill falls short is in requiring that these paper ballots be verified by hand, in full public view, after the polls close. Specifying anything short of this level of security is counterproductive.

Citizens lose control when the ballots are allowed to leave the voting location without first being fully verified. There are too many security weaknesses during the process of transportation and storage. Election judges, for instance, are not required (or invited) to ride with police officers to the storage facility. The unloading and storage processes are also typically accomplished without full access by poll watchers and the public. The opportunity for a few individuals to tamper with thousands of ballots is simply too easy and tempting.

This bill also falls short in allowing greater access to third parties to scrutinize or audit the results.  Current statutes in Salt Lake County, for instance, effectively prohibit hand counts by citizens even after the "official" election results have been published.

For more information on meaningful election reform, see our "Fraud Advisory: Beware of Officials Who Attempt to Sell You Electronic Voting!" and a recent write-up on election snafus.

Status: HB 211 passed house committee (9-0-2).

SB 30 (sen. Dave Thomas, Republican, district 18): This bill deals with search warrant requirements and is still under review.

Status: SB 30 passed senate committee (4-0-4) and senate (25-0-4).

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