Repeal HB 116 Update

Delegates vote in favor of Repealing HB116 at Utah GOP Convention June 18, 2011

Here’s the latest and greatest news in the effort to Repeal HB116:

  • Resolution ADOPTED at GOP State Convention – The resolution entitled “Uphold the Constitution of the United States and Republican Immigration Platforms: Repeal HB116 and Replace” was adopted by Republican State Delegates at the June 18 Utah GOP Convention by a vote of 833 to 739 (53% to 47%).
  • Cooking the Books – Sour grapes and number-spinning seem to be the order of the day for those who are sore that the Repeal Resolution passed.  Some are spinning the numbers to downplay the force of this grassroots movement to uphold the Constitution, the rule of law, and the Republican Platform.  Here are some numbers they are failing to mention:
  1. In addition to being adopted by State Delegates, similar Repeal 116 resolutions were adopted by County Delegates in Salt Lake County (57% margin), Utah County (55% margin), and Washington County (voice vote; estimate 90% margin), and by the Central Committees of Salt Lake (voice vote estimate 60%) and Uintah Counties (unanimous).  These counties make up  approximately 60% of the state’s total population.
  2. A Daily Herald online poll published June 26 showed that 58% of respondents favor repeal.
  3. Attendance for the State Convention was higher than average for an Organizing Convention, with 2,158 delegates in attendance (out of nearly 3,478).
  4. Consider this – in 2010, only 34.5% of all eligible voters in Utah voted and only 44.7% of registered voters voted in spite of the fact that there was a race between Philpot (46%) and Matheson (51%). That means that Matheson was elected by roughly 17% of eligible voters and with only around 22.4% of registered voters.  No one challenged his election.  So, 24% of eligible delegates voting to repeal is in keeping with what happens in Utah general elections which means that they are representative of the population as a whole.
  • Second immigration resolution adopted – A second resolution dealing with immigration, simply entitled “Immigration Resolution”, passed at the State Convention after it was amended to add the word LEGAL to the enacting clause: “. . . we the Utah Republican Party reiterate the message of inclusion and that there is a place for all, including LEGAL immigrants, within our Party.”  After the amendment was made, the resolution passed unanimously.  As one Utahn put it:

“The Republican Party really is not divided on this issue. We know the difference between legal (Immigrant) and Illegal Alien. It is too bad that we have to specify what immigrant truly means, but now “Immigrant” is used incorrectly when referring to Illegal Aliens. (Legal) immigrants should not be lumped into the Illegal mix.”

  • Despite hearing the voices of the Delegates who adopted the Repeal HB116 resolution, in a Deseret News article Governor Herbert said of the legislation, “I still believe it was a step in the right direction.”  In a Daily Herald editorial, Speaker Becky Lockhart stated she is “proud” of this legislation, while at the same time admitting its unconstitutionality, deflecting responsibility, and throwing rocks at the federal delegation for not picking up the HB116 ball and running with it.  While our federal delegation does indeed need to get to work on the immigration issue, kudos to them for discerning that the HB116 mentality of “at least we’re doing something” is not equivalent to “doing the right thing”.
  • Perhaps we need to adopt the Verizon Wireless guy’s mantra:  “Can you hear me NOW?”  What will it take to get the Governor and certain legislators to listen?  Maybe their hearing will improve as 2012 draws nearer.  As the public pressure to repeal HB116 rises, some officials (like the governor, attorney general, and certain legislators) are stubbornly digging in their heals and refusing to concede that HB116 was rushed through the process, is full of flaws and pitfalls for all involved in the program, is unconstitutional, and is not in line with the Utah values of personal responsibility, accountability, and respect for the rule of law.  Why?  Are they beholden to someone besides their constituents?
  • Senator Urquhart (R-Saint George) posted on his blog that he supports and would participate in the repeal of HB116:

“I’ve been asked several times today if I would run a bill to undo 3 HB 116. Sure. Why wouldn’t I? I thought it was a bad idea from the start, I voted against it, and my constituents hate it. So, if representative democracy means anything, I have a duty to try and repeal it.”

  • The Utah County Democratic Party this week publicly spoke out in support of HB116.  In heavily Republican Utah, this is tantamount to an endorsement for the Repeal 116 effort.  It also publicly and definitively rebuts Senator Bramble’s bizarre and desperate exclamation at the State Convention that the Repeal 116 resolution “should be on the agenda of the Democratic convention.”
  • What can you do to help move the Repeal 116 effort forward?  Here are 4 simple steps that will allow you to make a big difference:
  1. Visit to learn what’s really in HB116 and how it will affect you, our state, and our nation; sign the petition to repeal; and make a donation to help move the Repeal effort forward.
  2. Call and email your Representative and your Senator and ask them to support repealing HB116.
  3. Call and email the Governor and ask him to call a special session to repeal HB116 (the legislature will be in special session this fall for redistricting, so why not repeal HB116 at the same time?).
  4. Encourage everyone you know to complete steps 1-4.

Calvin Coolidge said, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”  We need to do both.  We have the right and responsibility to protect our state and defend the Constitution by working to repeal flawed, harmful legislation like HB116.  Working together, we can accomplish our goals.  As sociologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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