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:
- 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;
- 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.