News/Op By Ed Wallace, Publisher – Jan 9, 2024 / Updated January 11, 2024 at 7pm
Rumor has it that Washington County is the most conservative area in the State, and one of the most in the country. Is that true? Are WashCo voters really conservative? Is there any proof that WashCo voters elect politicians that truly represent them? Did any of our elected officials campaign on ANY of the issues they are currently championing? Do these members of Utah’s Republican party even represent the UTGOP platform?
Well, most do… to a degree. If we were to look at their performance in the A-F grading system that we use in our schools, the scores would range from a dismal failure to a “B”. Both of our elected Senators would be held back because of their lifetime score of 45% to 47%, while our House representatives would slide through to graduation with a combined grade of 71%.
These figures are gathered from the only organization in Utah that scores our officials by their adherence to the guidelines of the Constitution of our nation and state: UtahGrassroots.org
Grassroots has been tracking the behavior of our state government for the past 21 years and has produced an annual report on Utah legislative voting since 2002. The entire UTGOP platform is based upon Constitutional principles. CONSERVATIVE Constitutional principles.
Their 2023 report shows that the currant members of the House received an average score of 60% compared to the lifetime score of 45%, while the Senate averaged at 48% which is below their lifetime average of 50%. In 2022, the house average was 38% and the Senate was at 39%.
Here’s a quick glance at WashCo’s Grassroots Scores
HD75 Walt Brooks (R) 2023 Session – 76% Lifetime Score – 64%
(Scroll down for a summary of their 2024 Legislative Activity)
The most notable exception is WashCo’s newest House member, Joseph Elison (HD72) at 80%, followed by Walt Brooks (HD75) at 76%. But neither raises to the level of former representative Travis Seegmiller at 100%, who was unjustly and unmercifully battered by the media and his own party before he was exonerated and cleared of all the false charges against him for allegedly shooting Bambi.
The UTGOP “demands honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability of our public officials.” The UTGOP Bylaws (Sec 9), states that “all Republican Candidates… make the following Certification pledge:” “I support the Platform, Constitution, and Bylaws…as the standard by which my performance as a candidate and as an office holder should be evaluated.”
Former GOP officials have told me that the UTGOP requires all of its candidates to make that commitment, so, under the party’s Constitution and Bylaws, the Party has a fiduciary responsibility to protect and uphold it’s brand, and to evaluate and hold all of these public officials accountable against UTGOP Platform Planks, but they have no way, and seemingly no desire, to do that, and never do. And, there is no recourse in place against those who violate their code of ethics. However, there is a process for the “removal at the pleasure of the assembly” of an officer of the party.
The UTGOP is bound by the C&B, but where they are silent, they are bound by Robert’s Rules of Order. Robert’s allows for a committee to be formed for the purpose of a trial and removal by a majority vote within the UTGOP “for cause”. The party requires that 60% of all members vote for removal (which is nearly impossible) and is based not for a specific cause, but any reason.
My sources noted that one of the challenges with this in the UTGOP is structural. The executive officers in the party booth at the state and county level are not accountable to the governing bodies. These Officers are elected by the delegates and not the governing committees. Yet, the Officers serve as the functioning chair of the governing committees that are charged both under Robert’s Rules and the By-Laws to create and enforce the rules on the officers.
At the state level, if the state officers were elected by the 150 State Central Committee (SCC) Members, the Officers would be accountable to the SCC members.
When 4000 State delegates elect the party officers, the Officers generally thumb their nose at the SCC, especially if the officers disagree philosophically with the SCC members. The Officers also control the issues that come before a convention and have shown themselves to be very proficient at protecting themselves, and maintaining the status quo through various tricks and scheduling procedures. For instance:
One former officer stated “During the 2016 SB54 Count My Vote (Lose My Voice) litigation Judge David Nuffer made it clear that the party could define its membership. The reaction to Judge Nuffer’s opining on membership was the SCC defining membership with ByLaw 8.
The reaction from the elected Officials to the SCC passage of bylaw 8 was retribution. Chairman Rob Anderson flatly refused to enforce that bylaw and Spencer Cox, the then LG, said he would ignore any attempt by the party to exclude anyone from the state ballot if they had the requisite number of signatures and had declared themselves to be a Republican on their voter registration. That would include socialist Bernie Sanders if he owned an acre in the west desert.
The SCC, and especially the officers subsequent to the US Supreme Court refusing to hear the SB54 litigation, has had no appetite to take it back to a court on the enforcement of Bylaw 8, and during Carson Jorgensen’s chairmanship the establishment politicians successfully removed bylaw 8 from party rules.
And that removal was ABSOLUTELY a disgusting display. Thus the name, “SB54–The Incumbent Protection Act.”
The House has tried a number of times to repeal or take out the worst parts of SB54. But the sticking point has always been the Senate. They like the incumbent protection it gives them. We need to oust some of the worst pro-SB54, and then perhaps it could be overturned or repealed.
That would include Senator Evan Vickers, who had a Grassroots showing of 32% in 2020, and Don Ipson, who came in tied for the 2nd lowest score for a Republican at 28%.
Another recourse against quasi Republicans (RINOS) is on the GOP county level. The only County who has a standing Ethics Committee in the state, I believe, is Davis County. Weber County has done some work towards that as well. It’s interesting that one of the least ethical counties in the state is the only one with an ethics committee, but ethics are an increasing problem statewide.
The only other way for a member of the Republican Party to remove an elected legislator is to produce a judgment from a court of law. And, that’s the way it will continue for the foreseeable future.
All this has helped to brand Utah as the 2nd most corrupt State in the Nation. (Sources: The Swamp Index, The Center for Public Integrity, The National Practitioner Data Bank, and the the World Population Review.)
So, the most egregious violators of our trust have little to worry about until their constituents finally wake up. Senator Don L. Ipson, who has been in office since 2008, has a lifetime Grassroots score of 45%, and Majority Whip Evan J. Vickers, in office since 2009, has a lifetime score of 47%. It’s no wonder, with the leadership these two provide, that the Utah Senate has a lifetime score of 48%.
I predict that Vickers will reach new lows this year with his quest for more government control and his sponsorship of SB0027 which creates the Utah Behavioral Health Commission under the control of the Department of Health and Human Services. You may remember that the Utah DOH effectively imposed Martial Law in 2020. They don’t have enough reach already?
On the other hand, Ipson is on his way to better grades by piggy-basking with his Floor Sponsorships of HB0014 which addresses threatening or falsely reporting an emergency at a school, and HB0084 which establishes a system for school safety incidents. Both of these bills are sponsored by Ryan Wilcox (HB7). Ipson doesn’t have much going on his own, but at least he’s within the bounds of the proper role of government to protect his constituents.
Ipson is facing a serious election challenge this year from within his own party. Chad E. Bennion and Cory Green have both filed to run. Bennion, from Santa Clara, is executive director at the Utah Fraternal Order of Police and is currently meeting with lawmakers to talk about funding for hiring and retention for Utah’s correctional facilities. He is a former Utah state legislator and Salt Lake County GOP Chair. Green was a Congressional candidate in 2019 and was charged with four felonies, in 2010, and plead guilty to two charges after they were amended down to class A misdemeanors for sexual battery. Green claimed he was victimized just like Brett Kavanaugh had been victimized.
House Representatives Joseph Elison, Colin Jack, and Neil Walter are all running unopposed, and Walt Brooks has one Democrat challenger.
The 2024 Legislative Session is starting in 6 days and our representatives will likely make decisions on around 1,500 bills, each one of them mostly designed to do one of three things: 1 More government. 2. More control and regulations. 3. More taxes and fees.
The past two generations has grown up under socialism’s influence so completely that we don’t even know when we are thinking socialism. Yet, it’s all around us, on every level of government
We need strong leaders, and I’m not talking about politicians. We need strong mules who will plow into fields that have never been attempted before.
Instead, most of the elected officials in Utah have perfected cowardice, and fear of preaching freedom and making the case for conservatism. It is long past time for courage and to loudly extoll the virtues of Constitutional principles and the mindset of liberty. We are in a war of civilizational conquest, and our way of life, and it won’t be won with faint-hearted incrementalism.
Our “Sunshine Caucus” is in a position of leading our state. Will they stand upon their oath or will they leave their values in the hallway before entering the cloakrooms? We’ll see. My advice to them is when you meet the devil halfway you are halfway to hell.
Don’t compromise. No flinching. Stand for what is right and stop being blind… acknowledge the implications of the unAmerican and unConstitutional behaviors, actions and outcomes you will be served on a daily basis.
Remember, The Lord said that he “holds men accountable for their acts in relation” to governments “both in making laws and administering them.”
I guess Thomas Jefferson was right after all. ‘The government you elect is the government you deserve.’
Here’s a Summary of Their 2024 Stewardship… So Far
HD72 Joseph Elison
|Cigarette and Tobacco Tax and Licensing Act Amendmenta – This bill modifies the Cigarette and Tobacco Tax and Licensing Act. 16 requires a person that has to file a report with the State Tax Commission in 17 accordance with the federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act regarding 18 cigarettes, tobacco, and electronic cigarettes transferred into the state to file 19 the report electronically. 20 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 21 None
Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the U.s.s. Utah
Floor Sponsored Bills
|Tax Information Sharing Amendments – This bill addresses the disclosure of tax information by the State Tax Commission. This bill: 15 authorizes the State Tax Commission to share certain information with the Division 16 of Finance within the Department of Government Operations to facilitate payments 17 to taxpayers. 18 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 19 None
HD73 Colin W. Jack
|Utah Energy Act Amendments – This bill modifies the Utah Energy Act. 16 modifies reporting requirements for the Office of Energy Development; 17 modifies the purposes of the Office of Energy Development to include: 18 developing strategies to advocate for state interests on federal energy and 19 environmental programs; 20 overseeing legal strategy on federal overreach and permitting delays; and 21 engaging in federal rulemaking and advocacy for regulatory reform; 22 directs the Office of Energy Development to adopt a master plan with data-driven 23 modeling at a statewide level; 24 requires adoption of best practices in development of state energy plans; and 25 makes technical changes. 26 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 27 None
|Burglary Amendments – This bill amends the offense of aggravated burglary. This bill: 12 defines terms; 13 amends the offense of aggravated burglary to include damaging, disabling, or 14 interrupting a connected service; and 15 makes technical and conforming changes. 16 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 17 None
|Electrical Energy Amendments – This bill modifies provisions related to the regulation of energy. 12 sets conditions for when the Public Service Commission may approve the early 13 retirement of an electrical generation facility; and 14 defines terms. 15 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 16 None
HD74 R. Neil Walter
|Public Fund Amendmen – This bill addresses reporting requirements for the Public Treasurers’ Investment Fund. 15 defines terms; 16 requires the state treasurer to annually report the current balance in the Public 17 Treasurers’ Investment Fund for each entity that has transferred money to that fund; 18 and 9 makes technical and conforming changes. 20 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 21 None
|Rental Property Disclosure Requirements -This bill modifies the duties of a residential property owner. 12 requires that an owner of residential rental property provide each prospective renter 13 a written disclosure describing any defects in the residential rental unit that: 14 would materially affect the renter’s decision to rent the property; and 15 a renter could not reasonably discover in an inspection of the property. 16 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 17 None
|Building Permit Requirements – This bill modifies provisions related to building permits issued by a county or municipality. 13 prohibits a county or municipality from changing or adding to building permit 14 requirements after issuance of the building permit. 15 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 16 None
Bill Requests In Process:
Division of Real Estate Reporting Requirements
Wildlife Hunting Requirements
Fraudulent Deeds Amendments
Division of Real Estate Reporting Modifications
HD75 Walt Brooks (R)
|Division of Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council Sunset Extension – This bill addresses the sunset date of the advisory council that advises the Division of 15 Outdoor Recreation on boating policies. This bill: 18 extends the sunset date of the advisory council that advises the Division of Outdoor 19 Recreation on boating policies from 2024 to 2029. 20 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 21 None
|Snake Valley Aquifer Advisory Council Amendments – This bill removes provisions related to the Snake Valley Aquifer. 17 repeals the Snake Valley Aquifer Council chapter; 18 removes language citing provisions of that chapter, including: 19 a sunset provision; and 20 a provision related to the duties of the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office; 21 and 22 makes technical changes. 23 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 24 None
|State Park Funding Amendments – This bill modifies funding provisions related to the Division of State Parks.This bill: 12 allows interest earned on the money in the State Park Fees Restricted Account to 13 remain in the account; and 14 repeals a section of the code requiring the Legislature to appropriate money to the 15 Division of State Parks for boating account expenses. 16 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 17 None
|Social Security Tax Amendments – This bill modifies the individual income tax credit for social security benefits. 12 expands eligibility for the social security benefits tax credit by increasing the 13 thresholds for the income-based phaseout; and 14 makes technical changes. 15 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 16 None 17 Other Special Clauses: 18 This bill provides retrospective operation.
Bill Requests In Process
Cannabis Pharmacy Modifications
Minimum Basic Tax Rate Reduction
Voter Registration Modifications
Floor Sponsored Bills
|Sandall, S. Safe Drinking Water Act Sunset Extension – This bill addresses safe drinking water. 16 extends the sunset date for the Safe Drinking Water Act; and 17 makes technical changes. 18 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 19 None
SD28 Evan J. Vickers
|Behavioral Health System Amendments – This bill creates the Utah Behavioral Health Commission. 15 creates the Utah Behavioral Health Commission (commission) within the 16 Department of Health and Human Services; 17 describes the commission’s purpose and duties; 18 creates certain subcommittees under the commission, including moving certain 19 existing behavioral health entities under the direction of the commission; 20 creates the Legislative Policy Committee under the direction of the commission, and 21 describes that committee’s duties; 22 provides a sunset date for the commission; 23 amends the sunset date for the Education and Mental Health Coordinating 24 Committee; and 25 makes technical and conforming changes. 26 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 27 None
|Educator Salary Amendments – This bill amends educator salary adjustments and the Teacher Salary Supplemental 10 Program to include regional education service agencies 13 defines terms; 14 includes regional education service agencies to educator salary adjustments and the 15 Teacher Salary Supplement Program; and 16 provides for an annual increase to the legislative appropriation under certain 17 circumstances. 18 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 19 None
Floor Sponsored Bills
|Industrial Hemp Amendments – This bill modifies and enacts provisions related to industrial hemp. 16 defines terms; 17 modifies serving size requirements; 18 modifies provisions to allow the transportation of transportable industrial hemp 19 concentrate under certain circumstances; 20 repeals provisions related to the industrial hemp laboratory permit; 21 repeals provisions related to the registration fee of a cannabinoid product; 22 allows a local health department to notify the Department of Agriculture and Food 23 regarding violations related to cannabinoid products; 24 exempts a sale of a cannabinoid product from sales and use tax; 25 enacts the Cannabinoid Product Licensing and Tax Act; 26 authorizes the State Tax Commission to disclose to the Department of Agriculture 27 information related to retailers that are licensed to sell and collect tax on a sale of a 28 cannabinoid product; 29 creates a grant program to encourage the production of industrial hemp products; 30 requires law enforcement to conduct underage buying investigations regarding the 31 sale of cannabinoid products that contain THC or a THC analog; and 32 makes technical changes. 33 Money Appropriated in this Bill: 34 None
Bill Requests In Process
Concurrent Resolution Honoring the 100th Year Anniversary of the Utah Association of Counties
Municipal Incorporation Modifications
Nurse Apprentice Amendments
Property Tax Revisions
Residential Building Inspection Amendments
SD29 Don L. Ipson
Bill requests in process
Motor Vehicle Rental Company Emissions Amendments
State Agency and Higher Education Compensation Appropriations
|School Threat Penalty Amendments – This bill addresses threatening or falsely reporting an emergency at a school. This bill: 15 requires a student to be suspended or expelled from a public school if the student 16 makes a false emergency report targeted at a school; 17 enhances the penalties for making a threat against a school; makes it a second degree felony for an actor to make a false emergency report in 19 certain circumstances; and 20 makes technical and conforming changes. 21
|First Responder Mental Health Services Grant Program Amendments – This bill amends the First Responder Mental Health Services Grant Program (program). 16 expands eligibility for the program; 17 expands institutions at which a recipient may use a grant under the program; 18 amends the computation of the grant amount; modifies the Utah Board of Higher Education’s responsibilities related to accepting 20 applications for the programs; and 21 makes technical changes.
|School Safety Amendments – This bill establishes a system for school safety incidents. 15 requires key boxes for buildings with restricted access to have secure accountability 16 procedures for keys; 17 amends the International Fire Code; 18 requires certain state buildings and schools to have emergency communication 19 systems; 20 requires school resource officer training to be developed by the state security chief; 21 establishes duties of the state security chief and a county security chief in relation to 22 school safety initiatives; 23 establishes a school guardian program; 24 requires threat reporting by state employees and others if they become aware of 25 threats to schools; 26 establishes some reporting from the SafeUT Crisis Line to the state’s intelligence 27 databases; 28 requires certain school safety data to be included in the annual school disciplinary 29 report; 30 expands requirements for school resource officer contracts and policies; 31 requires designation of certain school safety personnel; 32 requires panic alert devices and video camera access for schools and classrooms; 33 requires coordination of emergency call information with the state’s intelligence 34 system; 35 amends process for secure firearm storage under certain circumstances to include 36 school guardians; and 37 makes technical changes. 40 Other Special Clauses: 41 This bill provides a special effective date.
Are you impressed? I’m not.
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