URGENT: Last chance to stop one-party rule in the executive branch!

The fight goes on to defend the progress we’ve made and continue to try and defeat HB 11!

HB 11: State Boards and Commissions is a BAD BILL coming up for a vote in the Senate that would eliminate the bipartisan requirement for appointees to a number of state boards and commissions.

We already called, emailed and texted our Utah state House representatives to ensure that Utah State Boards and Commissions continue to have representation from more than one political party.  Of the original list of 29 boards and commissions included in HB 11, we succeeded in removing 5 from the list, ensuring that the following boards continue to have bipartisan voices: DABC, the Air Quality Board, the Water Quality Board and the Public Service Commission.

However, the bill sponsors are attempting to re-insert the Public Service Commission, the Air Quality Board, and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission back into HB 11, allowing these important agencies to be headed by people from only one political party.  This is unacceptable!

HB 11 will get a full Senate vote on THURSDAY MORNING BEFORE 10:00AM.

 

CALL TO ACTION

  • Contact your state senator BEFORE THURSDAY MORNING AT 10:00AM and ask them to Vote NO on HB 11: State Boards and Amendments! Be sure to mention that you are a CONSTITUENT. Make your email or text brief but clear. Find your state senator by clicking here. Use email subject header: “FROM CONSTITUENT – Vote NO on HB 11: State Boards And Commissions”.
  • If your senator is in favor of the bill, ask them to support only the House version of the bill, and not the re-insertion of any boards and commissions, as these boards serve functions where partisan positions impact decisions and therefore should have the political balance requirement for appointments preserved.
  • Let us know which senators you’ve talked to and how they responded!

Talking Points

– Bipartisanship on state boards is a tenant of democracy and true representation, and removal of the bipartisanship requirement creates a system of one-party rule and absolute power in the state legislature. Watchdog groups like the Alliance for a Better Utah have raised concerns that this measure effectively silences minority party voices in the state, whether Democratic, Independent or other. Please see this article on HB 11 in the Daily Herald.

-Diverse perspectives are good for good public policy. Bipartisanship on state boards and commissions ensures that multiple concepts and perspectives are properly considered (and either adopted or discarded) in order to help determine what is good and what is bad policy. Please see this article from Utah Political Capitol on why they gave HB 11 a red flag as a grab for absolute power.

– Thurston says these are non-partisan commissions, but there is no consensus on this point, and he didn’t get democratic consensus that these are non-partisan commissions. Diverse perspectives are good for good public policy. The argument about this being an administrative burden, but both Reps said they’ve never been contacted. he didn’t reach

– Rep. Norm Thurston (the bill’s sponsor) claims that the focus of the boards and commissions included in the list are non-partisan commissions. However, there is no consensus on this point and it is merely a matter of Thurston’s opinion versus a consensus gained through democratic process. Furthermore, the responsibilities of many of the boards selected cover issues where differing political perspectives would come into play.

– Rep. Thurston also claims that the partisan requirement for these boards prevents the most qualified experts from appointment, and that the requirements add an undo administrative burden to the selection process. During the hearing on the bill, both Rep. Patrice Arent and Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck questioned whether the administrative burden was indeed as problematic as Rep. Thurston claims.  Both suggested that perhaps the governor is not casting a wide enough net for these appointments (such as reaching out to Democratic Representatives for help), stating that they had never been contacted by the governor’s office to help fill appointments with qualified democrats. Please see this article on their testimony.

– 8 of the affected boards have authority over partisan issues including Environmental Quality, Drinking Water, Water Quality, Health Advisory Council (UT Health Code), Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, Labor Code, Oil/Gas/Mining, Proposed Energy Producers States Agreement (Federal regulations for EPA, Endangered Species, federal access lands issue). Here is the website for the Utah State Boards & Commissions listing all the boards and their authority.

The 29 boards affected by HB 11 include:

  • Air Quality Board
  • Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
  • Board of Business and Economic Development
  • Board of Aging and Adult Services
  • Board of Financial Institutions
  • Board of Oil, Gas, and Mining
  • Board of Parks and Recreation
  • Board of Tourism Development
  • Board of Utah Geological Survey
  • Board of Water Resources
  • Committee of Consumer Services
  • Drinking Water Board
  • Energy Producer States’ Agreement Board
  • Health Advisory Council
  • Health Data Committee
  • Labor Commission Appeals Board
  • Livestock Market Committee
  • Merit Commission
  • Passenger Ropeway Safety Committee
  • Public Utilities Public Service Commission
  • Quality Growth Commission
  • State Money Management Council
  • Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism
  • Utah Department of Workforce Services Appeals Board
  • Utah Housing Corporation
  • Utah State Scenic Byway Committee
  • Waste Management and Radiation Control Board
  • Water Quality Board

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