Month: May 2017

Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, we are once again reminded of the great sacrifices made throughout the history of our nation that have allowed us to live as we do—in freedom and prosperity. The blessing of freedom is granted through the sacrifices of those who have served with honor and devotion. We are forever grateful to our service members and their families, and express to them our deepest gratitude

Legislative Leaders Issue Statement on Separation of Powers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2017

Legislative leaders issue statement on separation of powers 

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah legislative leaders expressed concern with executive branch overreach.  Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, House Minority Leader Brian King, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, and Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis issued the following statement: 

“We express our concern with Governor Herbert’s decision to call an election without allowing the legislature to exercise its clear constitutional responsibility. Establishing election procedures in law is clearly a role given to the legislature by the U.S. Constitution.  Separation of powers is one of the most fundamental principles of our government and a vigilant guard against abuse of power. Nowhere is the executive branch given the authority to establish election procedures.”

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Infographics

The infographics below compare timelines, the process of filling other vacant offices in Utah, and review how other states fill vacancies.

 

Joint Op-Ed: Separation of Powers

Utah House Representatives Speaker Greg Hughes, Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, House Minority Leader Brian King and Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis joint op-ed in Utah Policy.

When a vacancy occurs in the U.S House of Representatives an election of the people must occur. The U.S. Constitution states that the times, places and manner of elections will be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof (Article 1, Section 4). Further, U.S. Code Title 2, Section 8(a) says, “ … the time for holding elections … to fill a vacancy…may be prescribed by the laws of the several States… ”

It is clearly the role of the Legislature to establish election procedures and “prescribe them by law.” Nowhere is the executive branch given the authority to establish these procedures; the governor’s legal role is to issue a formal writ declaring that an election will take place.

The separation of powers is one of the most fundamental principles of our government, and protects all of us from abuses inherent in concentrations of power.

It is without question the duty of the Legislature to put in place the parameters of an election. It is equally without question the governor’s job to call a special session to allow us to fulfill this responsibility. For the executive branch to fail to do so, and to then purport to establish “The Times, Places and Manner” outside of the legislative process is an inappropriate breach of his constitutionally defined power.

Utah is one of only three states that do not yet have statutory provisions for a U.S. House of Representatives special election to fill a vacancy. We now face a congressional vacancy and have no process established by law to provide a replacement. But we could, in just a few days, if the governor called us into special session.

The timeline matters. These are historic days in Washington. Major issues hang in the balance. Congress is grappling with issues of great consequence—tax reform, health care and public lands, among others. Every day in Congress in which Utahns are not represented disenfranchises the citizens of the Third District. For as long as the vacancy persists, twenty-five percent of Utahns are left without a voice.

The governor has a clear responsibility to call the Legislature into special session. The state constitution, ratified by the legislature and the people, says that only he can do that. We wouldn’t assert a non-constitutional authority to call ourselves into session, just as he should not assert a non-constitutional authority to commandeer the time, place, and manner of an election process. Again, elections are constitutionally and statutorily placed in the hands of the Legislature.

We need to hold an election of the people and it must be done expeditiously. Governor Herbert’s decision to call an election without allowing the Legislature to perform its legal and constitutional duty is disappointing and exposes the vacancy election process to unnecessary legal and political risks.

 

Statements

  • Read Utah House of Representatives Chief of Staff Greg Hartley’s statement on the Utah’s 3rd Congressional District Vacancy here.

 

  • Read House Minority Leader Brian King’s statement declaring his support for a special session to detail the laws guiding special elections in Utah here.

Joint Op-Ed: Separation of Powers Issue

Utah House Representatives Speaker Greg Hughes, Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, House Minority Leader Brian King and Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis joint op-ed in Utah Policy on May 19, 2018.

When a vacancy occurs in the U.S House of Representatives an election of the people must occur. The U.S. Constitution states that the times, places and manner of elections will be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof (Article 1, Section 4). Further, U.S. Code Title 2, Section 8(a) says, “ … the time for holding elections … to fill a vacancy … may be prescribed by the laws of the several States … ”

It is clearly the role of the Legislature to establish election procedures and “prescribe them by law.” Nowhere is the executive branch given the authority to establish these procedures; the governor’s legal role is to issue a formal writ declaring that an election will take place.

The separation of powers is one of the most fundamental principles of our government, and protects all of us from abuses inherent in concentrations of power.

It is without question the duty of the Legislature to put in place the parameters of an election. It is equally without question the governor’s job to call a special session to allow us to fulfill this responsibility. For the executive branch to fail to do so, and to then purport to establish “The Times, Places and Manner” outside of the legislative process is an inappropriate breach of his constitutionally defined power.

Utah is one of only three states that do not yet have statutory provisions for a U.S. House of Representatives special election to fill a vacancy. We now face a congressional vacancy and have no process established by law to provide a replacement. But we could, in just a few days, if the governor called us into special session.

The timeline matters. These are historic days in Washington. Major issues hang in the balance. Congress is grappling with issues of great consequence—tax reform, health care and public lands, among others. Every day in Congress in which Utahns are not represented disenfranchises the citizens of the Third District. For as long as the vacancy persists, twenty-five percent of Utahns are left without a voice.

The governor has a clear responsibility to call the Legislature into special session. The state constitution, ratified by the legislature and the people, says that only he can do that. We wouldn’t assert a non-constitutional authority to call ourselves into session, just as he should not assert a non-constitutional authority to commandeer the time, place, and manner of an election process. Again, elections are constitutionally and statutorily placed in the hands of the Legislature.

We need to hold an election of the people and it must be done expeditiously. Governor Herbert’s decision to call an election without allowing the Legislature to perform its legal and constitutional duty is disappointing and exposes the vacancy election process to unnecessary legal and political risks.

Statement: Utah House of Representatives Chief of Staff Statement on Utah’s 3rd Congressional District Vacancy

For Immediate Release
May 18, 2017 

 

Utah House of Representatives Cheif of Staff Statement on Utah’s 3rd Congressional District Vacancy

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah House of Representatives Chief of Staff Greg Hartley issued the following statement on the resignation of Congressman Jason Chaffetz:

“Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Code Title 2 clearly state that the Legislature is responsible for prescribing the process for elections. This is a separation of powers issue. The House and Senate Majority caucuses are unanimous in their support for a special session.

“House Minority Leader Brian King has made it clear, as have the Chairs of the Republican and Democrat parties – the Legislature is responsible for defining how elections are run. Speaker Hughes remains committed to defending the legislative process and calls on Governor Herbert to convene a special session of the Legislature to vote a clearly defined process into law.”

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Media Statement: Democratic Leader Supports Special Session on Elections Guidelines

Media Statement
For Immediate Release: May 17, 2017

Contact:
Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
Utah House of Representatives – Minority Caucus
801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov

Democratic Leader Supports Special Session on Elections Guidelines

Salt Lake City – House Democratic Leader Brian King released a statement today declaring his support for a special session to detail the laws guiding special elections in Utah.

He said, “We are talking about the fundamentals of our government – checks and balances. Defining how elections are run is a legislative power. We may have a lot in common with how the Governor would like a special election to run, but it is not his prerogative. The legislature is responsible for those decisions.

There is a need to provide clarity in our current law. There is an imminent special election. Why should Utah lose a seat at the table when critical decisions are being made about our lands and our water? There is urgency here and the legislature should address it. I support a special session.”

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Clean Air Bills – 2017

Today, House and Senate members joined Gov. Herbert at Ensign Elementary School to discuss recent air quality improvement efforts and ceremonially sign nine pieces of legislation that passed the 2017 session.

At the event, it was announced that  Utah will receive $7.5 million from Volkswagen to replace approximately 100 diesel school buses.

  • HCR 5, Concurrent Resolution on Clean Fuel School Buses
  • HCR 8, Concurrent Resolution Regarding the Volkswagen Settlement
  • HCR 18, Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Utahns to Consider Smog Rating When Purchasing a Vehicle
  • HB 96, Petroleum Vapor Recovery Amendments
  • HB 183, Emissions Settlement Amendments
  • HB 392, Air Quality Policy Advisory Board
  • HB 405, Hydrogen Fuel Production Incentives
  • SB 24, Heavy Duty Tax Credit Amendments
  •  SB 154, Solar Access Amendments

Curriculum on Federalism

The basic concept of federalism has never been political; rather, it is a fundamental structural principle meant to protect our liberty.

The Utah Commission on Federalism, in connection with Utah Valley University’s Center for Constitutional Studies, recently created a course on federalism to help provide citizens and state and local government officials with a better understanding of America’s unique constitutional system.

The one-hour course is taught in a series of six videos by constitutional professors and scholars from around the country. Watch the videos below or read the transcripts here.

Members of the Utah Bar: This course may be available for one free hour of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit through Utah Valley University. For additional information click here.

 

Module 1 Principles of Federalism

 

The Utah Commission on Federalism’s Course on the Principles of Federalism

To the Framers of the Constitution, the structure of our governing system was a matter of life or death, liberty or constraint, property or subjugation.

They knew that “as government expands, liberty contracts;” that government expands to the limit that it is checked; and, that left unchecked, government expands limitlessly.

To counteract this natural tendency, they grounded the Constitution on an indispensable structure of limits, divisions, and independent checks on governing power.

State legislators – as our first official act of office – swear an oath to defend the structural protections of liberty embodied in the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas and Alito recently warned (NFIB v. Sebelius, 2012, dissenting opinion) that preserving the structure of our governing system is still a matter of life, liberty and property:

“Structural protections–notably, the restraints imposed by federalism and separation of power … tend to be undervalued or even forgotten by our citizens. It should be the responsibility of the Court to teach otherwise, to remind our people that the Framers considered structural protections of freedom the most important ones, for which reason they alone were embodied in the original Constitution and not left to later amendment. The fragmentation of power produced by the structure of our Government is central to liberty, and when we destroy it, we place liberty at peril.

Rather than rely only on “the Court to … remind our people that the … structural protections of freedom [are] the most important ones,” the Utah Legislature’s Commission on Federalism, in cooperation with Utah Valley University (UVU), assembled the nation’s leading scholars to teach the principles of federalism in the schools, to the people, and to local, state and national leaders.

In 2014, the Utah State Legislature passed H.B. 120, which permits members of the Utah State Bar to receive up to two hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credit for free from the UVU Center for Constitutional Studies. Click here for more information. Attorneys in other states may be eligible to apply to receive CLE credit. The initial one-hour course is taught in series of six videos.

As we undertake the critical work of restoring the structural protections of liberty at the very heart of our unprecedented governing system, Module 1 begins by clearly defining federalism.

Take the course. Share it with colleagues, friends and organizations. Send me your feedback. And, join us as we restore structural balance to the greatest governing system ever devised because as George Washington admonished in his Farewell Address “to preserve [these structural checks] must be as necessary as to institute them.”

Rep. Ken Ivory
House Chair
Utah Commission on Federalism
kivory@le.utah.gov

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Module 2 Principles of Federalism

 

Module 3 Principles of Federalism

Module 4 Principles of Federalism

Module 5 Principles of Federalism

Module 6 Principles of Federalism

 

Utah Law Enforcement Memorial May 2017

Law enforcement officers from across the state solemnly gathered at the annual memorial service outside the Capitol to add the names of three fallen officers to the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial on Thursday, May 4.

The ceremony honored two officers killed in the line of duty in 2016, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Ellsworth and West Valley Police Officer Cody Brotherson, and Salt Lake Special Officer Rollin R. Tanner, who died in 1927.

The Utah Law Enforcement Memorial Wall has 142 names.

Joint Statement: Utah House and Senate Applauds Executive Order to Review Antiquates Act

 

Joint Statement
For Immediate Release
May 1, 2017

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
801-791-3365 | aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

 Utah House and Senate Applauds Executive Order to Review Antiquates Act

SALT LAKE CITY – Last week President Donald Trump signed an executive order to review National Monument designations, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah. Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, Reps. Keven Stratton and Mike Noel and Sens. David Hinkins and Margaret Dayton are pleased to release the following joint statement:

We applaud President Trump’s executive order calling for a review of his predecessors’ use of the Antiquities Act, including the designations of Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National monuments in flagrant violation of the will of the people in those areas. The order acknowledges and respects the resolutions passed by the Utah State Legislature during the 2017 General Session, urging action to correct this blatant executive overreach by rescinding or reducing the designations.

Utah has endured more than 20 years with the devastating consequences of these unilateral decisions that have restricted access, weakened local economies and corroded our rural communities. Such is the result when a president, far removed from the repercussions of his decisions, ignores input from those most impacted by local land management policies – the very people who know and love these lands the most. We are confident that as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visits our state and applies the criteria specified in the recent executive order, he will see that reducing or rescinding these monuments is both appropriate and necessary. We look forward to Secretary Zinke’s visit and further action by President Trump on Utah’s national monuments.

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