Ask your state representative to defend the progress we’ve made on HB 11!
HB 11: State Boards and Commissions is a BAD BILL that would eliminate the bipartisan requirement for appointees to 29 state boards and commissions. This bill passed the House with an amendment that took 4 boards off the list, ensuring that the DABC, Air Quality Board, Water Quality Board and Public Service Commission continue to have bipartisan voices. HOWEVER, the amendment was removed in the Senate, and the Senate passed the bill with those four boards reinserted back into it.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) morning after 10AM HB 11 will get a final vote by the sate House of Representatives to decide if they concur on the Senate’s version of the bill… or if they don’t. If the House votes NOT to concur, then the bill will return to the Senate for yet another vote on whether the Senate can agree to the House’s amendment and removal of the four boards.
CALL TO ACTION
- Email your state representative BEFORE TUESDAY MORNING AT 10:00AM and ask them to vote NOT to concur with the Senate’s version of HB 11: State Boards and Amendments and protect the amendment to HB 11 they themselves voted for originally. Bipartisanship offers the multiple perspectives that are important for creating good policy on the kinds of issues addressed in the 4 eliminated boards, all of which make decisions on partisan issues. Be sure to mention that you are a CONSTITUENT. Make your email or text brief but clear. Find your state representative by clicking here.
Use email subject header: “FROM CONSTITUENT – Please do NOT concur with the Senate’s version of HB 11: State Boards And Commissions”
– 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