On Friday night, apparently timed to dodge the Friday news casts and hit the weekend news cycle, the Utah Legislature passed two controversial bills (HB 116 – Guest Worker Program Act* aka “Bramnesty” and HB 477 – Government Records Amendments). Both were developed behind closed doors, had negligible time in the public for review or debate, and it is highly unlikely that either was read before being voted on. It seems like a spitting image of the Obamacare process. Right now, the media is only reporting on HB477 and ignoring HB116.
Plenty of State Legislators made hay about the process used to cram Obamacare down our throats but then effectively followed suit. It is hypocritical (also noted by Mr. Boyack) and deceitful.
On both bills, legislators are spinning that they received years of debate. It’s laughable as neither measure’s actual language (the details) was available until a few days ago and were still being amended (in the case of HB116, up to the last minute). By their standard, simply bringing up a topic mentioned a few years ago (like banning trans fat) would mean it has been debated for years (despite the lack of specific legislative language). It’s pure sophistry.
While there are things I agree with in HB477, the process used, makes the bill toxic. I may agree or love some legislation but I expect an honest, transparent process to be used.
Rumor has it that Governor Herbert is going to sign these bills but public pressure could change that. The best immediate thing to do now is to conatct his office (includes e-mail form) and request that he veto both bills…NOW:
Phone: 801-538-1000 or 1-800-705-2464 Fax: 801-538-1528
Take note for the future when election time rolls around (including for Governor).
UPDATE: ABC4 indicates that Gov. Herbert and Legislators are backing away from HB477. On Twitter several legislators have voiced their regret for rushing it. Now let’s see if they have the same regret for HB116…I understand Gov. Herbert’s Facebook page is also getting calls to veto HB116. Last year he was poised to veto SB251 but citizen calls saved it – keep it up on HB116.
UPDATE (2). HB477 has been recalled by the legislature (watch what they do…). HB116, however, is still on the Governor’s desk and being heavily pushed by several big interest groups and lobbyists. Speaker Lockhart expects Governor Herbert to sign it. Continue to contact the Governor’s office on HB116!
UPDATE (3/9): The legislature “re-passed” HB477 with a new effective date and the Governor has signed it. I may agree with a good portion of the legislation, but the process still stinks and it should not have been passed nor signed. HB116 is still on his desk. Continue to call the Governor and ask for his veto.
MORE: I realize that a special session will be held for this bill and the Governor states he only signed it because the votes were there to override his veto. I think it would have been better to save us the cost of a special session and stick it back in legislators lap – based on the outcry I highly doubt the would have overridden the veto. Then we could have had a fresh start next session.
*HB116 is Senator Bramble’s bill – they substituted his bill in HB116 and changed sponsors in what looks like an attempt to whitewash him from responsibility.