Commentary By Ed Wallace, Publisher at / Aug 19, 2020

For the past 4 months, Americans have been subjected to the most flagrant period of “government malfeasance” in our history. On all levels of government, the overreaction by our public officials has put our country into a stupor. The shutdowns and continuing mandates to socially distance have devastated our economy. The lower (servant) and middle class have been ravaged. About half of all small businesses are in danger of failing. 

Our policy makers have ignored their obligation to balance the benefits of any given policy and have put our future into the hands of a few unelected “experts” who lack any understanding of how social systems and economies function and who rely on the shifting speculative models  of “science” and extreme risk aversion that takes into account only ONE kind of risk.

The long-term effects on our economy will take years to overcome. The ignorance shown by our politicians about the intricacies of economic interdependence has been stunning. They have been oblivious to their most fundamental duty to protect life, liberty, and property. Their ignorance about human nature and human striving has led to the complete collapse of government legitimacy.

The nonsensical economic and social disaster that our government has MANDATED will go down as one of the political world’s biggest, most shamefully overblown, irrationally inflated, immoral and outright deceptively flawed responses to a health matter in American history, one that was carried largely on the lips of medical professionals who presented flawed data, can’t even agree with each other, and have no business running a economy or government.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams has said he believes the state “has done a really, really good job of managing” the deadly virus. A “good job” depends on context and how one defines ”good”.

Here in Utah, the last time I checked, we have the largest unemployment rate since the great depression of the 1920’s. Since March, over 133,000 Utah workers have been idled and the unemployment rate has increased by around 1,400%. The guidelines for restaurants are resulting in a mandatory and enforced failure. Instead of standing by our side and fighting with us, our lawmakers have chosen to defeat us. A poorer Utah will be a more vulnerable and less healthy Utah.

But, they have an opportunity to reverse course tomorrow as they have called themselves into this year’s sixth special legislative session since they adjourned five months ago. Utah lawmakers will consider 22 items including changes to the November election and continuing to adjust the state budget. And there will have to be a 7th special session because they are holding #6 before Congress in D.C. passes the next round of COVID-19 STIMULUS. So, there will have to be another session to allocate the COVID money.

We are running straight into a move for a FULL-TIME LEGISLATURE instead of a very “part-time Citizen Legislature”.  Legislators are feeling like they have a full-time job and that is not what our Utah Constitution intended. The Big Picture here is that under the Utah Constitution, was it REALLY intended that the Legislature would address 22 new bills, some of them lengthy and complex, in “rare”  (“monthly” now!!) not-so-special sessions? One Legislator reported that he learned of the agenda three days ago on Monday. So, lawmakers have four days to study and consult their constituents before voting…. an impossible task. 

Jacob Anderegg (R-SD13) announced today that the bill that was to be voted on Thursday to end the State of Emergency Powers of the Executive Branch has been tabled because they couldn’t get the votes to override Governor Herbert’s veto. Why would any (R) lawmaker vote to extend Herbert’s power grabs? A majority of the House and Senate voted not to proceed. In a Facebook post, Anderegg stated the following:

They should have the vote so the public can see who does and does not represent them, and that are ACTUALLY fighting for our liberty and not part of the Covid Emergency farce. It’s easy to say “we don’t have the votes”, it’s another thing to see who needs to be held accountable. A vote would show where each lawmaker stands on executive rule by the Governor. 

Extending the state of emergency consolidates power in the Governor and the health departments.

Radio host Kate Dalley stated: “It’s a disgrace that we have elected officials that do not support the Constitution…. people would like to have the freedom to decide for themselves to keep themselves ‘safe”. We do not need a State of Emergency for 364 elderly deaths at long term care facilities when we have 1150 deaths a year from flu/respiratory. The Governor is using the State of Emergency to grab power. Period. Do not let him.”

Yes, … but be afraid, very afraid, says the Governor. 

This special session is all about how to spend the $150M FEMA money. A vote will determine how the remaining (unnecessary & profligate) CARES ACT money from the feds will be spent. Keep a careful eye on the creepy goodies that make NO sense whatsoever. 

Two Constitutional lawyers in Utah believe that this is a scare tactic and present a good argument that we DO NOT need the emergency declaration to get the FEMA/CARES emergency status money.

One Legislator asked a constituent if it would change what he thought if our county and cities were to lose $100 million dollars by not extending the emergency. His reply echoes what any Republican should say: “What is the cost we pay for government intervention in our lives and the loss of our freedom? That is a cost that is unacceptable and immeasurable. Government has its tentacles in dictating what we do and there is always a bribe or stings attached to that aid. If we want their money then we do what we are told. To me, that is money we should never take. If it means liberty or money, I would hope liberty would win out.”

Senate President J. Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson stated in their session announcement letter (see appendix): “The Legislature is dedicated to preserving and strengthening the physical and financial health of all Utahns  As the state with the second-lowest unemployment rate and the lowest COVID-19 fatality rate in the nation, Utah is taking calculated steps to continue its trajectory toward economic recovery while protecting individuals’ well-being.”


And, in his 2020 State of the State Address, the Governor stated that he could say that the state of the state was excellent, but that would be a gross understatement, adding that Utah is thriving and in the best economic shape it has ever been in the state’s history. “I could go on and on and on, but you get the picture,” Herbert said. The state of our state is, well, we’re just the best.”


South Dakota appeared to be the first state to decline boosted federal employment aid designated under an executive order signed by President Trump earlier this month amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R), one of Trump’s most vocal allies, said the state did not need to accept the additional federal jobless aid because workers are being rehired and its economy is on the mend after enduring economic fallout spurred by the outbreak of COVID-19.

The governor may be referring to a ranking by Financial blog 24/7 Wall Street in 2017 that ranked Utah the #2 ‘Best-managed state’. Or, maybe he was thinking of a report in 2019 by the same site that ranked Utah as the “Best Run State in America.” The report was based on data from 2018.

Would a well-run state that is “dedicated to preserving and strengthening the physical and financial health of all Utahns,” need help from the federal government? Would a well-run state require SIX additional, really, REALLY SPECIAL “Emergency” Sessions to get the “people’s business” done? Would a well-run state grow to the point where it is unmanageable within the bounds of its own Constitutional limits? 

Shouldn’t a Constitutional issue have the input and support of the public? Doesn’t the flexible grab of the money at each session amount to money laundering in some ways? Is it ever good to allow the Legislature anything that is based on flexibility rather than hard numbers that the people have to vote for. Are so many of our officials willing to break Federal Law and violate not only the state Constitution but also the Federal Constitution?

How many of the agenda items could wait until 2021? Why do our leaders have to RUSH 22 items through now, when the public can’t even go to the capital. Which of the 22 agenda items will probably pass in the Special Session, but wouldn’t pass in the 2021 General session?

Obviously the mess they made with elections in HB 36 passed in the 2020 General Session needs to be fixed, but beyond that, everything should WAIT. NO ONE VOTED AGAINST HB 36. HB 36 took out IN PERSON VOTING, and greatly decreased the time of vote by mail. As Utah got a letter from the USPS stating the dates for their vote by mail were going to cause some ballots to not be received in time to be counted, the county clerks are asking the dates for mailing ballots to be increased. Why were the ballot mailing dates changed in 2020 to half of the mailing dates in 2018? 

The proposed changes in HB 6009 and SB 6007 (#4 on the agenda) gives too much power to the Lt. Gov. to shut down in-person voting. That can impact our right to vote and increase voter fraud. The Lt. Gov. is running for Governor. Is that what these changes are about? The bills also calls for a “campaign [propaganda] to educate [indoctrinate] the public on the provisions of this bill and to encourage voting by mail“.

Number nine on the agenda that amends “the income tax provisions to provide that forgiven loans and individual recovery rebates authorized by the federal government in response to COVID-19 are not subject to Utah income tax” is worthy, but, why does they have to do it in the 6th Special Session?

Why does SB 6006, Department of Health Modifications, sponsored by Senator Allen Christensen, who didn’t run in 2020 and won’t be a senator in 2021, have to be done in a two-day session?

Why do Referendums have to be addressed in the 6th SPECIAL SESSION? Why do any of the other 18 non-COVID remaining bills need to be addressed now, 3 months before the next election? It is time to start holding this legislature responsible for all the JUNK they are passing in special sessions.

My advice to Utah’s Representatives and Senators is to grow a pair and honor your oath of office. Are you really so derelict in your duty, so weak and fearful, that you would allow a LAME-DUCK Governor to bully you and your constituents around? Do you really want your legacy to be that you’ve had a major part in growing an already bloated government that is unmanageable and goes way beyond its Constitutional limits?

Are you content that you’ve allowed us to become slaves to the state when bureaucrats order us around with our daily behavior? When the government can tell us what we can or can’t do with our pursuit of happiness, our increase, our livelihood and freedom, then we have lost the Republic and we have become a combination of the two evil cousins to marxist dictatorship: fascism and socialism. Is that what you want? I ask because that seems to be the case and the public’s increasing perception of your involvement in this farce as such is growing.

The only sensible solutions that our lawmakers should consider are decreasing the size of government and regulations, enacting major budget cuts, lowering taxes, paying off our $27.7bil state debt, and fostering the premise of self responsibility along with the goal of preserving freedom.

Our lawmakers should be focusing on removing regulatory and trade barriers to economic activity while allowing the private-sector responses to be more flexible. Eventually, every regulation should go under the microscope. We need markets to be free.

Here in Utah, the Appropriations Subcommittees should demand that any agency that is inhibiting the growth or our economy IMMEDIATELY SUSPEND any regulation or Executive Order that is doing so or FUNDING WILL BE PULLED. That would include the Department of Health which has had 130 years in preparing for a situation like COVID-19.

It is largely due to the flexibility, strength, and ingenuity of America’s capitalist players that we are riding-out this crisis. The private sector bails out the government every day of the week by paying taxes. It is the ability of people to adapt that creates true economic resilience. Our responsibility toward future generations and the insistence of the present time depends upon vigilant action by our state and federal legislators today. Our leaders must now dignify the sacrifices of Utah families and workers. 

There is no way that our economy can escape taking a major hit from this epidemic. It already has. Instead of masking or ignoring the changing conditions, it is the ability of people and countries to adapt that creates true economic resilience.

Every story we tell, in hard and easy times, is one about the cooperative or coercive ways of human nature. A minimum level of coercion is necessary, just as government itself is necessary. But let us not fall into the trap of confusing government with a civil society. As Tom Paine said in Common Sense in 1776: “Society in every state is a blessing, but the Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.”

In order for our society and government to continue, the opportunities that freedom and liberty provide us must be restored as soon as possible. It’s up to our policymakers to decide if we get through this crisis more or less prosperous and free than when we began. If any lesson can be learned from our current crisis, it is that the best thing the government can do is GET OUT OF THE WAY. 

Now that we’ve learned how to wash our hands, let’s continue to follow better health practices, allow adults to be adults, and TOTALLY open up our economy again.

End the shutdown. Let Utah be Utah.. the state of industry…. the land of the free…  the home of the brave 

The session is set to start at 10 a.m., Thursday, and can be viewed via the Utah Legislature’s website,, or on KUEN channel 9.2 and Comcast 388 (Senate), and KUEN 9.3 Comcast 387 (House). 

The Proclamation lists all items that will be covered. Click here for Official Proclamation:


Click here for the official summary:

Bills and Resolutions for the 2020 Sixth Special Session


Summary of Introduced Legislation

Bills and Bill Requests

Numbered Bills

By Sponsor, Subject, and Committee

Bills Passed


Legislative Rules

Reading Calendar

More 2020 Sixth Special Session Information

House Bills

  •   H.B. 6001 – 6049

    H.B. 6001Uniform Electronic Wills Act (Rep. Snow, V. L.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 7:17 PM

    H.B. 6003Premium Subsidy Amendments (Rep. Dunnigan, J.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 7:27 PM

    H.B. 6004School Emergency Drills Amendments (Rep. Moss, C.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 7:27 PM

    H.B. 6005Cosmetology and Associated Professions Amendments (Rep. Ballard, M.G.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 7:27 PM

    H.B. 6006Alcohol License and Permit Amendments (Rep. Hawkes, T.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 7:27 PM

    H.B. 6007Municipal Annexation Revisions (Rep. Musselman, C.R.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 7:27 PM

    H.B. 6008Local Referendum Amendments (Rep. Nelson, M.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 8:27 PM

    H.B. 6009Elections Amendments (Rep. Handy, S.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 8:32 PM

    H.B. 6010Sentencing Modification Amendments (Rep. Pitcher, S.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 8:47 PM

    H.B. 6011Pharmaceutical Reporting Amendments (Rep. Ray, P.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 8:38 AM

    H.B. 6012Public Education Funding and Enrollment Amendments (Rep. Moss, J.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 8:23 PM

House Concurrent Resolutions

  •   H.C.R. 601 – 649

    H.C.R. 601Concurrent Resolution on Federal Government Payments in Lieu of Taxes (Rep. Stratton, K.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 8:32 PM

Senate Bills

  •   S.B. 6001 – 6049

    S.B. 6001Community Reinvestment Agency Modifications (Sen. Harper, W.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 7:27 PM

    S.B. 6002Financial Report Date Amendment (Sen. Bramble, C.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 7:27 PM

    S.B. 6003Law Enforcement Tuition Reimbursement (Sen. Mayne, K.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 9:12 PM

    S.B. 6004Regulatory Certainty Amendments (Sen. Winterton, R.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 8:42 PM

    S.B. 6005Income Tax Amendments (Sen. Harper, W.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 9:42 PM

    S.B. 6006Department of Health Modifications (Sen. Christensen, A.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 10:12 PM

    S.B. 6007Amendments to Elections (Sen. Harper, W.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 12:20 PM

    S.B. 6008Tobacco Retailer Amendments (Sen. Vickers, E.)
    Last Update: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 2:40 PM