Category: Media Statement

Media Statement: UTAH LEGISLATIVE LEADERS REACT TO INTERIOR SECRETARY ZINKE’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON BEAR EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2017

UTAH LEGISLATIVE LEADERS REACT TO INTERIOR SECRETARY ZINKE’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON BEAR EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah legislative leaders expressed support for U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s initial review and recommendations on the Bears Ears National Monument. Speaker of the House Greg Hughes and President of the Senate Wayne Niederhauser issued the following statement:

This year, in response to President Obama’s devastating unilateral overstep declaring the Bears Ears National Monument, the Utah Legislature encouraged the federal government to give the state more stewardship of our lands. We sponsored H.C.R. 11, which asked the new administration to rescind the 1.35-million-acre monument designated in December of 2016. While today’s announcement does not rescind the monument, it is a movement in the right direction.

The people of the American West are frustrated with heavy-handed land management decisions from Washington D.C. The priorities and local knowledge of Western people have too often been ignored. It is incredibly refreshing to interact with an administration that values collaboration with those closest to the land.

We also commend Secretary Zinke’s recognition of the limits of executive power. He asked Congress to authorize tribal co-management, review optimal land use designations for the Bears Ears area, and clarify intent where national monument and wilderness designations seem to conflict. In doing so, Secretary Zinke appropriately recognized that the executive branch is not a monarchy, and that the legislative branch has a vital role to play. We value our working relationship with Utah’s congressional delegation and appreciate their willingness to partner on land use solutions. We encourage them to follow up quickly on the secretary’s request, and stand ready to assist.

We also encourage Congress to narrow future presidents’ ability to misuse the Antiquities Act for purposes beyond its original intent. We hope congressional action will put an end to the abuse of executive power that has been used as a weapon against the people and economy of the American West.

We look forward to the ongoing partnership with the Department of the Interior to preserve our lands, protect traditional use, increase local management, and secure economic opportunity for all Utah citizens.

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CONTACTS

Greg Hartley
House Chief of Staff

Ric Cantrell
Senate Chief of Staff

See the Utah House Leaders statement here.

See the U.S. Department of the Interior press release here.

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.

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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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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Speaker Hughes statement in support of Salt Lake County press conference concerning jail beds

For Immediate Release
May 1, 2017

Speaker Hughes statement in support of Salt Lake County press conference concerning jail beds

SALT LAKE CITY –  Speaker Greg Hughes issued the following statement regarding the Salt Lake County press conference to announce funding for jail beds.

“As I stated in my opening remarks this past legislative session, homelessness is a statewide issue and every community has a role to play. We must protect the most vulnerable amongst us by arresting the wolves who prey upon them. Today’s announcement is another key step to address this issue. I’m encouraged and supportive of the plan to address the jail bed situation in Salt Lake County and remain a committed partner in solving this crisis.” – Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes.

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Media Statement: Historic Milestone as Legislature Opens 2017 General Session

Media Statement
For Immediate Release:
January 23, 2017

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

Historic Milestone as Legislature Opens 2017 General Session

 Salt Lake City – For the first time in Utah legislative history, the two most senior members of the House of Representatives are both women and Democrats. Representatives Patrice Arent and Carol Spackman Moss hold the distinction of having served 16 sessions at the legislature. 

Representative Arent said, “This is a historic time for women in Utah for many reasons. We will see the largest march at the Utah Capitol today led by women and for women’s rights. Women are a vital part of our state’s economy. Women are vital to the very fabric that created our beautiful state. We are proud to serve as legislators and continue the work.” 

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Media Statement: Chairs and Members of the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands Statement about Bears Ears National Monument Designation

Media Statement
For Immediate Release
December 28, 2016 ­­­

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

Chairs and Members of the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands Statement about Bears Ears National Monument Designation

Salt Lake City – Today, the Obama Administration used the Antiquities Act to declare Bears Ears area a national monument. Chairs and members of the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands, Rep. Keven Stratton – Chair, Sen. David Hinkins – Chair, Rep. Mel Brown, Rep. Ken Ivory and Rep. Mike Noel, issued the following statement regarding the monument designation:

“Like the unilateral tyranny exercised by the King of England against the American colonies two and a half centuries ago, our President has exercised an unconstitutional unilateral exercise of the Executive power to establish a monument greater in size than a number of the original thirteen states. Our children are the biggest losers and our Federal Executive Branch is well aware that this designation goes against the voice of the American Citizens living within the borders of the State of Utah and an overwhelming super majority of those elected to represent them. This Bears Ears designation will not survive a constitutional review by our Judicial Branch and we pledge to take and support every lawful action available under the rule of law to overturn this act of repulsive political cronyism.”

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Media Statement: Speaker Greg Hughes Statement about Bears Ears National Monument Designation

Media Statement
For Immediate Release
December 28, 2016

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

Speaker Greg Hughes Statement about Bears Ears National Monument Designation

Salt Lake City – Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes issued the following statement regarding the Obama Administration using the Antiquities Act to declare 1.35 million acres of the Bears Ears area a national monument:

“We are truly disappointed that President Obama today chose to use the Antiquities Act to unilaterally declare a 1.35-million-acre Monument in Utah. The Antiquities Act, created by Teddy Roosevelt, was never intended to be used in this way and only the smallest area necessary for the purpose of protecting significant archaeological or historical sites is allowed. Not only is that clearly not the case here, but this administration has had no real conversations with those who will be affected by this designation, let alone any study of what “antiquities” they are attempting to protect.

Adding to a long list of executive actions that threaten the sovereignty of the states and the citizens of this nation to chart their own course, our president has chosen to once again subvert the will of the people. Earlier this month, nearly all elected officials who represent the area, from local to federal, assembled at the Utah State Capitol to plead with President Obama to resist the temptation to grant these types of political favors. This action betrays the interests of Utahns, stands in the way of better stewardship of the land we all love and cherish and ultimately amounts to a blatant federal land grab.

Our democratic republic is designed to be most effective and accountable when major decisions are made closest to the people but President Obama has chosen to circumvent all democratic processes and lock up nearly two million acres of land from use based solely on ideological principles.

Nearly 70 percent of Utah is under federal management and control and 90 percent of our population lives on just 1 percent of our ground. Nothing about this is even remotely reasonable, and that is why we in the Utah Legislature have been pushing back for decades. This designation makes that effort even more important and we will do everything within our power to seek to overturn this action once President Obama leaves office next month.”

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