NOW: Help us stop one-party rule in the state legislature (HB 11)

There is a BAD BILL up for House vote at 11AM, and it’s called HB 11 – State Boards and Commissions Amendments. 

HB 11 State Boards and Commissions Amendments (Rep. Norman K. Thurston) – This bill eliminates the political affiliation requirement from 29 state boards & commissions, removing current requirements for bipartisan appointments by the Governor.

On Tuesday before the bill went into the House Government Operations Committee, we put out a call to action for our members to call on the members of the committee to oppose the bill. Despite receiving many calls, the committee members voted to pass the measure anyway. HB 11 had a second reading yesterday. The bill will get a vote on the House floor TODAY at 11AM. If it passes, it will move along to the Senate.


Help us oppose this terrible and undemocratic bill by:

  1. CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE THIS MORNING! Don’t contact your Senator yet. Contact your representative. You can use the talking points below to tell your representative to oppose HB 11. Find your representative by clicking here.
  2. SHARING THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA NOW! Spread the news far and wide so Utahns become aware of this bill and of what they can do to stop it.
  3. WRITING A LETTER TO THE EDITOR! Getting your local press talking about this issue is critical. Writing a letter to the editor may take you 30-60 minutes of time. We are here to help you! Read on for more info.
  4. Let us know what you’ve done – Help us track which representatives have been contacted, what their responses were and which local media has been contacted about this issue by filling out the form below about what you have done.

Writing a letter to the editor

  • Click here for tips on how to write an effective letter to the editor. Please follow this format.
  • Click here to find your local newspaper or check out the links at the end of this post for the top 10 Utah papers by circulation.
  • Send us your letter to the editor for copyediting if you wish – we have specialists standing by to help!
  • Either way, let us know if you send in a letter to the editor, and also if it gets published!
  • Feel free to use the following talking points and articles for reference in your letter.

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

Top 10 Utah Newspapers by circulation

  1. Desert News:
  2. 2. Salt Lake Tribune:
  3. 3. Salt Lake City Weekly:
  4. West Valley Journal:
  5. Sandy Journal:
  6. Taylorsville/Kearns Journal:
  7. West Jordan Journal:
  8. Standard-Examiner:
  9. South Valley Journal:
  10. Cottonwood/Holladay Journal:



One Comment

  1. Louisa Bennion January 26, 2017 at 10:44 am

    I called Owens and Okerlund and expressed my hope that they will vote against the bill

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