Daily Fix, May 6

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(By Michelle Mumford)

*Well, the Utah Legislature had an exciting special overriding session. The House and Senate successfully voted to override the Governor’s veto of SB229, which earmarks growth in future sales-tax revenue for road projects. KSL Deseret News Governor Herbert responded, “Today’s biggest loser is education.” Utah Gov I don’t think there’s a prize for that. The Legislature then took up discussion of HB328, the bill that eliminates the state’s four-day workweek. Senate Democrats decided to play hardball, Sen. McAdams Twitterfeed, and since a veto needed 20 votes, and there were only 19 Republican Senators present, they voted to reconvene the session on Saturday night at 7 pm, when Senator Bramble will be back in the state and able to attend.

*In other news, Billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr. thinks his son would make a good President. Forbes And did you know that Jon Huntsman Jr. and Mitt Romney are “third or fourth cousins?”

*Representative Chaffetz is feeling like the government is inept these days. Washington Post He believes the death of OBL should force a reevaluation of the war in Afghanistan, and that the troops should come home.

*Utah has been waiting almost 18 months for President Obama to name a new U.S. Attorney. Beaumont Enterprise Carlie Christensen has been the acting U.S. Attorney for Utah since Brett Tolman resigned almost a year and a half ago.

*GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt regrets bragging so loudly about his company’s efforts to “be green” – not because he regrets the priority, but because he doesn’t want his stockholders to think he cares more about the planet than the company. Reuters Immelt said, “Even though I believe in global warming and I believe in the science … it just took on a connotation that was too elitist; it was too precious and it let opponents think that if you had a green initiative, you didn’t care about jobs. I’m a businessman. that’s all I care about.” I couldn’t make this stuff up. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit sees a connection with Immelt’s about-face and the Utah Tea Party.

*And finally, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY. We are quite sure that you have a mother – Utah has the highest fertility rate in the nation! Deseret News Now go tell her you love her.

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16 Responses to “Daily Fix, May 6”

  1. markg91359 Says:

    Holly,

    Perhaps you could explain to a simple-minded person like myself why the legislature feels that funding roads right now is a greater priority than funding schools? I have school age children and the class sizes seem to get bigger every year. Some of us think its simply “child-like” behavior to thumb your nose at the ‘Teacher’s Union and get back at those of us who repealed that silly Voucher Law through the initiative process several years ago.

  2. Sue Connor Says:

    Holly – Perhaps you could also explain how our republican legislators can simultaneously stand on a platform of fiscal responsibility while voting to override the governor’s veto on the 4 day work week which will cost our state $800,000 to implement. Also, how you can justify an additional $7-10,000 for that special special on Saturday when our state is laying off workers,closing liquor stores, increasing class sizes, cutting social and healthcare services, etc?
    Voters elected you expecting you would represent their own conservative and responsible fiscal views, but it appears that you are spending our money unwisely.

  3. hollyonthehill Says:

    First of all, the repeal of the 4-day workweek has a fiscal note of zero. That means the fiscal analysts do not believe it will have any fiscal impact. Second, having a transportation rainy day fund off of future increases does not impact our current education funding, which was, in fact, increased this year. We have raided the transportation funds several times in the last 5 years. Having a rainy day fund will allow us to continue to be able to drive on those roads that lead to places like schools. Perhaps you are also unaware that the Mediaid reforms we passed this year will save the state $770 million in the first 7 years, that we balanced our budget and we did so without raising taxes.

  4. Sue Connor Says:

    Thanks for the response but I still don’t understand how we are able to recoup the 1 million in savings that the 4 day work week provides, plus pay for the re-implementation of the 5 day work week at an estimated $800,000 and have it be a net zero. A more detailed posting about how the legal analysts arrived at their bottom line would be helpful to voters. If we are to be able to dismiss what the media is reporting we need real facts to support your comment.

    Re medicaid, those reforms represent cuts to services to the poor and disabled. As a healthcare provider in this community I know how hard it was for Valley Mental Health to provide services to the uninsured already. Now with their layoffs and budget cuts, we are literally discharging patients from the hospital to the streets. Don’t get me started on this one – it isn’t “reform” for many people in the community. It may be fiscally responsible, but not responsible in so many other ways.

    But back to fiscal responsibility, can you please explain further? Including the extra money spent for a special session on a Saturday evening? That money could have paid for 10 people to receive outpatient treatment for a full year!

  5. Jacob Says:

    “Voters elected you expecting you would represent their own conservative and responsible fiscal views, but it appears that you are spending our money unwisely.”

    Just a clarification here. Voters did not elect Holly. She was chosen by the political elites in her district after a clerical error caused the representative, who was elected by the people, to step down. After that clerical error was corrected, Holly failed to do the honorable thing, which would be to allow the representative, which the people wanted to represent them to come back.

  6. Sue Connor Says:

    @Jacob, yes, I understand. I actually meant “you” to indicate all of the elected representatives. but you are correct about Holly. I just think if someone in the legislature is going to voice a public opinion they should also provide the data, source, specifics, etc.

  7. Jim Says:

    @Jacob How could she have stepped down to let Mr Frank have the seat? I thought he was found to live outside the district? He can’t represent a district that he doesn’t live in. (Unless there was some special accommodation made because of the two maps)

  8. Jacob Says:

    S.B. 113 corrected the boundaries, and made it so this error shouldn’t come up again. Granted this didn’t take effect until 03/18, but she could step down now to allow a special session so that voters can elect the representative THEY want.

    http://le.utah.gov/~2011/bills/sbillint/sb0113s03.pdf

  9. For the rule of law... Says:

    @Jacob,

    I find the rational behind your animosity toward Holly’s election perplexing.

    Perhaps you are unaware of a few simple facts, such as:

    1. The Utah State Code governing legislative mid-term vacancies.

    20A-1-503 (2) When a vacancy occurs for any reason in the office of representative in the Legislature, the governor shall fill the vacancy by immediately appointing the person whose name was submitted by the party liaison of the same political party as the prior representative.
    http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE20A/htm/20A01_050300.htm

    2. The Utah County Republican Party By-laws governing mid-term vacancies.

    By-law 7 A In the case of a mid-term vacancy of a Republican in the Utah State Senate or House of Representatives for a district entirely within Utah County, the Party shall call a convention of county delegates residing in the precincts comprising the district having the vacancy for the purpose of electing a replacement.
    http://www.utahcountygop.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=ouuc0_LHL6o%3d&tabid=39&mid=419

    3 Like Holly, Craig Frank was initially appointed (not elected in a general election) to server as the Representative for District 57.

    Why is it that you feel Holly has less of a legal or ethical right to the seat she was elected to than Craig Frank did when he first held the seat?

    Craig Frank was an excellent legislator and was(is) extremely popular in District 57. The unfortunate fact is that Craig Frank mistakenly moved out of his district and by so doing became ineligible (as per the Utah State constitution) to serve as the Representative for District 57. I do not believe he meant to and was honest about making the issue public as soon as he discovered it. This does not change the fact that the House refused to seat him, the Lt Governor ruled he was ineligible to retain the seat, and Judge Christine S. Johnson of Utah’s 4th Judicial District Court declined to order him seated or change the district boundaries so that he could retain the seat. Craig Frank had to be replaced to satisfy the rule of law. There was no dishonor to Craig Frank and I fail to see any dishonor in someone being chosen to replace him using the same process he himself used to become a representative.

    4. If Holly were to decide to resign today – who do you think would vote to replace her? The very same group of “political elites”, or rather, Utah County Republican Part county delegates that voted in the special election in January to fill the vacant seat.

    I wonder if you would respond to a hypothetical question. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Barack Obama was (unbeknownst to him) not actually born is the USA, and was removed from his office. If, after a replacement election, the law was changed to allow Barrack Obama to serve, would you call for the new president to resign? Would you claim that was the only honorable thing for them to do?

  10. Jacob Says:

    My point was Holly was not voted in by the people. That point would not be valid if she runs next year and wins.

    I don’t have any animosity towards Holly. I do have problems with some of her political beliefs/actions, such as her voting for, and the way she defended HB477…before she voted against it. My bigger point of “political elites” is that I dislike the way Utah relies so heavily on them. I don’t mind the results of this sometimes (getting rid of Bennet, and hopefully Hatch next go around), but the ends don’t justify the means.

    Thank you for pointing out that Rep Frank was appointed. I didn’t know that, but that doesn’t change the point.

    The fact that you bring up the birther issue is kind of telling, and while I hesitate to even respond to it, because I think it should have been dropped from the political discussion months ago or longer, I guess my answer would be no, as it would have required the current president to be complicit in the deception of the American voters.

  11. Jim Says:

    @Rule I seriously cannot believe you brought birther nonsense into this discussion. Please forgive the assumption, but, it’s moronic hypotheticals like this (and worse) that give the rest of us Republicans a bad name.

    But, staying on point, I think @Jacob’s issue is about the power of the delegates in this state. (please correct me if I’m wrong Jacob) Too often in this state it is the delegates (or party elites as Jacob called them) that decide who governs. It sometimes appears that if you are not an ideologue, there is no place in the party for you. I learned this at the last caucus when I declared myself a moderate. Instead of electing someone that wanted to research, discuss and then decide, the caucus went with “true believers” that only wanted Bennett out.

    Until power is removed from the caucuses it will be politics as usual in Utah.

  12. For the rule of law... Says:

    @Jacob

    Our nation is a representative democracy, the way the founders wanted it. We elect people who represent us, who vote on our behalf. That is part of the beauty and the strength of our country.

    Holly WAS voted for by the people. In the manner prescribed by law for a mid-term vacancy. Just as Representative Fred Cox, and Senator Aaron Osmond were. Just as the replacement for Senator Dennis Stowell will be shortly. I am not a county delegate in District 57 so I did not vote for Holly. But those who did vote for her were duly elected to cast those votes by the voice of the people during caucus meetings.

    Holly, Fred, and Aaron have just as much legitimacy as any other elected officials.

    I disagree strongly with any statement that any one of them “should” resign so that a new election can be held for the the sake of someone who was not eligible when they were elected. Let them finish the term they were elected to and all who are eligible at the next election are welcome to run against them.

  13. For the rule of law... Says:

    @Jim

    The power of the caucus system is that it doesn’t take a lot of money or important political connections to get elected as a delegate. Remove the caucus system and what replaces it? Political insiders and big money interests.

    I believe there was a swing to the right in the last election cycle, mostly as a reaction to national politics. More people to the right of the Republican party went to caucus meetings, resulting in more delegates farther to the right. If you don’t like that you should work to get more people in your neighborhood that have views more like your own to go to caucus meetings. None of us should feel helpless in the face of the caucus system – we should feel empowered. We can make a difference by talking to our neighbors and showing up.

    PS the reason I brought up Obama is that no one, even the left-most progressive, would suggest under that scenario, that the new president should resign. I personally do not believe there is anything to the “birther” claims.

  14. Jim Says:

    @Rule

    You’re absolutely right about the swing in the caucus meetings, as a Utah moderate I probably would have felt more at home at the Democratic caucus. Outside Utah my friends see me as a conservative and inside Utah I’m a progressive pinko.

    Whether you agree with the birthers or not, using their claims as a hypothetical only keeps that garbage in the conversation.

    cheers!

  15. Jacob Says:

    Thanks, Rule, for your opinion. It does not change mine, that I don’t like the delegate process in Utah. Just because it IS the law does not mean it SHOULD BE the law. I was responding to Sue’s comment that voters elected Holly, which she later clarified. I guess you are technically correct, the delegates are indeed voters, so in that technicality, I stand corrected.

    Do you think the delegate process in Utah helps people to feel more or less represented? Last time I looked our voter participation was pretty poor. I believe the delegate process assists the political extremes over the true representatives of the people.

    I am not familiar with the other examples you gave, but I can assume their circumstances are quite different than district 57.

    We’ve taken this on quite a tangent, and I am certain neither of us will influence the other person’s opinion. I don’t feel represented by my “representatives” and from Jim’s comment, I don’t think I am alone in those feelings.

    This last legislative session was the worst one in my memory as far as a damn the torpedoes mentality from the Hill.

    I’m getting even more tangential. Some of the “animosity” you perceived does indeed exist, though not for Holly personally, but for being part of a legislature, who seems to not care a wit about what the public wants. It seemed to me that Sue felt the same when she said people voted for one thing, and the legislature is doing another. The delegate process exacerbates the situation. If you feel well represented by that process, then am I wrong to assume that you fall into the republican ideologue group? The tent seems to be getting smaller. Are you comfortable that you will always fit in the shrinking tent? I once did, but find myself pretty disenfranchised now.

  16. For the rule of law... Says:

    @Jacob,

    You make some good points. Although I have self-identified with the tea-party movement since the beginning I find myself increasingly distancing myself from the the radical fringe associated with the movement.

    I am fiscally conservative with libertarian tendencies and thought that was what the tea-party movement was about. More and more I am seeing statists with little differentiating them from progressives in their desire to control the lives of others. They just want to control different aspects of others lives than the progressives do.

    I honestly believe that the delegate system serves the rank and file members better than completely open elections. Just look at other states like California. Who controls the election process and the agenda there? The party insiders and big money donors. There is little opportunity for the average citizen to have any influence on the system.

    I do not agree with many, perhaps even most delegates this cycle. However, that does not make me disenfranchised, it just means I am in a minority for the time being. I took the opportunity to participate, I ran for a delegate slot but was not selected. I voted for the other delegates, some I voted for won, others did not. That’s the way a democracy works, we are not disenfranchised because the people we voted for did not win. We are disenfranchised when we lose the opportunity to vote, or choose not to vote.

    The good news about the party being so far to the right this cycle is that there is so much room to swing back to the middle in the next cycle. I intend to be at my precinct meeting and I intend to recruit as many “moderate” republicans as I can to go with me.

    The caucus system de-centralizes political power making it far more difficult for special interest to gain (or keep) control of the process. Centralizing control over the process by eliminating the delegate system is only going to make it easier for those special interests to get (and keep) control of the party.

    I believe that that make up of delegates will be very different in the next cycle.

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