State Central Committee Seeks Veto Power Over Delegates

All Utah State Delegates need to be aware of the power-grab that occurred at December’s State Central Committee meeting. At the December 4 SCC meeting, a Utah Republican Party Constitution amendment was proposed that would essentially give the SCC veto power over any constitutional amendment brought forward and approved by a super-majority vote (2/3 vote) of State Delegates at a State Party Convention.  The amendment was proposed by the State GOP Constitution and Bylaws Committee.

Currently, the Utah GOP Constitution can be amended in two ways:

  1. When an amendment is passed by a 2/3 vote of the SCC and subsequently ratified by a majority vote of State Delegates at the State Convention;
  2. When the State Delegates bring forth a constitutional amendment directly to the convention and pass the amendment by a 2/3 super-majority vote.

The constitutional amendment proposed to the SCC seeks to add to this process the requirement that any amendment brought forward and approved by a 2/3 super-majority delegate vote must then also be ratified by the State Central Committee. This amendment would give the SCC the power to veto the will of a super-majority of State Delegates. (*see full text below)

This small addition would have a big effect.  It would allow the 180-member SCC to overrule the 3,500-member State Delegate body.  If that mathematical ratio doesn’t upset you, the equation gets worse — only 40 members of the SCC must be present to constitute a quorum to enact business, with a simple majority being 21 members; however, a 20/20 tie vote would fail to ratify an amendment, so in reality the will of a super-majority (or even all) of 3,500 State Delegates could be vetoed by a mere 20 SCC members. If that doesn’t constitute a power-grab, I don’t know what does.

Arguments for the amendment centered around adding another check to the system, and the unfortunately all-too-common and condescending argument that delegates are too uninformed or disinterested to make wise and important decisions.

Arguments against the amendment defended delegates’ rights, authority and ability to make sound decisions within the Party.

The vote on this amendment at the SCC meeting required a 2/3 majority to pass.  The initial vote was reportedly very close, with the amendment failing by just a couple of votes.  However, a recount was ordered, and eye-witnesses report that some scrambling occurred as some voting members had left the room and others were dragged in out of the hallway to participate in the vote.  On the second count, the amendment PASSED by a vote of 50 to 25 — exactly the 2/3 required for passage.

A motion had been made to take a roll-call vote so that each member’s vote would be recorded, but the SCC voted down the motion — apparently, most did not want to go on record as voting against the delegates.  However, several members of the Utah County SCC delegation report that most of the Utah County SCC members in attendance voted against the amendment, with only a few voting for the amendment (including our County Party Chair and Vice Chair.  Also voting for the amendment was Thomas Wright, candidate for interim State Party Chair).

This amendment will now go before the State Delegates for ratification at the upcoming Organizing Convention.  It only needs a simple majority to pass, now that it has 2/3 SCC approval.  All State Delegates who wish to maintain their constitutional authority within the Party need to be sure they attend the June 11th Organizing Convention and vote down this power-grab amendment.

And while we’re at the Organizing Convention voting on who will lead our Party for the next two years, the time would be ripe to vote for fresh new leadership that will promote the principles of our Party Platform instead of vying to amass power for a privileged few.

As I always say, “Stand up, speak up, and let your voice be heard!”

*The text of the proposed amendment reads as follows (underlined/italics signifies the proposed addition to the current Constitution):

Proposed Constitution and Bylaws Amendment:
Constitution Article X
B.  Amendments.  The Constitution may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the members at a State Central Committee meeting if subsequently ratified by a majority vote of the Delegates present at the State Convention.  This Constitution may also be amended by 2/3 vote of Delegates present at the State Convention if subsequently ratified by a majority vote of the State Central Committee.

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6 Responses to State Central Committee Seeks Veto Power Over Delegates

  1. Lisa Shepherd says:

    The only members of the Utah County delegation in attendance who voted for this were our Party Chair, Taylor Oldroyd; Vice Chair, Mark Cluff; former County Party and State Party Chair and husband of the Speaker of the House, Stan Lockhart.

    All other Utah County members voted against this amendment.

  2. Lisa Shepherd says:

    Many have asked how members of the Utah County State Central Committee delegation voted on this amendment:

    Voted FOR:
    Taylor Oldroyd, UCRP Chair
    Mark Cluff, UCRP VC
    …Stan Lockhart, Former UCRP and UCP Chair

    Voted AGAINST:
    Lisa Shepherd, UCRP Secretary (Spoke against)
    Lowell Nelson (Spoke against)
    Mike Thompson
    Steve Diamond
    Kip Meacham
    Brian Jenkins
    Ben Smith
    Linda Houskeeper
    Sharon Storrs
    Jackie DeGaston
    Don Larsen

    Members Absent:
    Matt Thompson
    Curt Bramble
    Susie Bramble
    Marian Monnahan
    John Valentine
    Karen Valentine
    Heather Williamson
    Becky Lockhart

  3. Roobah Fox says:

    I have heard through meeting witness accounts that for Tooele County the results were:

    Voted For
    Chris Sloan (County Party Chair & Automatic SCC member)
    Curtis Beckstrom (County Party Secretary/Treasurer and Elected SCC Rep)
    Christy Achziger (Current State Party Secretary & filed candidate for state party Vice Chair)

    Voted Against
    Tracy Shaw (Elected SCC Rep)

    Not in attendance
    Will Craig (County Party Vice Chair, Automatic SCC member)

    It would be great if other county witnesses would post their observations / knowledge about persons they saw voting one way or another so that through process of elimination those who voted those 50 votes for this power grab against delegates could be identified. (3 from Utah County, 3 from Tooele County that leaves 44 to be identified… help out here if you saw specific individuals voting for this power grab.)

    It might also be important to note that this amendment was unanimously approved by the Constitution and Bylaws committee prior to being presented to the SCC, and was an amendment proposed by Cache County SCC member Clair Ellis. Salt Lake County SCC member Dana Dickson (currently running for state party secretary) chairs the SCC C&B Committee. I have no idea who was in attendance at the C&B committee meeting that provided this unanimous approval, but if anyone else can confirm the names of those on that 7-member committee who approved this amendment that would be great.

    Interestingly, although Congressman Rob Bishop (automatic SCC member) was in attendance, I heard through the grapevine that he abstained from voting one way or another. Any observations on how our other state and federal elected officials voted?

    Other SCC members out there who were in attendance want to volunteer how they cast a vote for this measure?

    I’m curious to know if Dave Hansen (Outgoing state party Chair) cast a vote at all (he shouldn’t have since he was chairing the meeting, except as a tie breaker), and how Kitty Dunn voted (outgoing state party, Vice-chair).

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