Newsletter - Enough Already!
- Chair's Note - Enough Already!
- Major Party Share of Registration Declines Again
- Legislative Thoughts
- Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus Members Seek to End the Shutdown
Chair's Note - Enough Already!
The current federal government shutdown has reached an historic record. This shutdown is disastrous in its impact for several reasons.
- It is a humanitarian crisis for hundreds of thousands of government employee families who aren't getting the paycheck they need to pay for mortgages, food, and other basic necessities.
- It is fiscally irresponsible. The administration estimates a .5 percent drop in the GDP this quarter because of the shutdown. In an already uncertain economy, the nation does not need that kind of decline in the GDP. Also, we are paying federal employees not to work. They will get back pay, which they should because this is not their fault. But the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill, thanks to our politicians, particularly President Trump who should be leading out to solve this crisis.
- It is causing damage to facilities and programs. For example, our national parks are going to have to undergo extra maintenance to make up for the damage that has been done during this shutdown.
- Many people are losing valuable services. For example, this will have an impact on tax refunds that many low income families rely on.
- The image to the world of our nation is one of dysfunction. We cannot even run our own government. That is not the message we want to send to others.
The federal government's operations should never be a political tool for anyone - regardless of their agenda. Unfortunately, we have too many politicians, particularly Republicans, who do not seem to care whether the federal government shuts down or not. To them, this is simply a way to achieve smaller government.
In turn, Democrats also should commit to never use this tactic. They have come close to causing a shutdown over Obamacare. It is a tactic they should firmly repudiate.
Clearly, partisan gridlock is not working for the nation. We need a new approach. Help us start that new approach. Here's how you can do that.
Go to unitedutah.org/donate
Volunteer with us - unitedutah.org/volunteer
And register with the United Utah Party -
Major Party Share of Registration Declines Again
During 2018, the share of voters who are registered in the two major parties continued to decline. The only two nationally-organized parties that gained (as a percentage of the electorate) during 2018 are the Libertarian and Constitution Parties.
For the first time in at least 80 years, the share of voters registered Democratic is under 40%, and now stands at 39.82%. The percentage of registered independents increased, to 28.74%. Republicans are 29.22%.
Here is the percentage of voters who are members of both major parties:
Early 2018 69.33%
Fall 2018 69.04%
From Ballot Access News, November 2018
We’re two weeks out from the 2019 legislative session, and already it’s shaping up to be an interesting year. Some bills will be of interest because they include efforts to undermine, curtail, or otherwise thwart the will of the people. Others we’ll want to watch because they advance ethical government or other issues that are important to the United Utah Party, such as sound environmental stewardship or increased funding for education.
Among bills that are of concern, the most solidified at this point is House Bill 88, “Statewide Initiative Process Amendments,” by Rep. Merrill F. Nelson. As the title suggests, it addresses issues related to petition-created statewide initiatives, which require a certain threshold of signatures from registered voters. As you might recall, last May the Utah County Clerk mislaid a box containing thousands of signatures in favor of the pro-S.B.54 Count My Vote initiative, and the error wasn’t discovered until the statutory deadline. In the fallout from this error, there was some question as to whether the signatures were valid or not. The Lt. Governor’s Office oversees statewide elections, and Lt. Gov. Cox declared that the voters’ signatures would not be invalidated simply because of the county clerk’s mistake. H.B.88 would remove the ultimate decision-making power about the validity of signatures from the Lt. Governor and place it in the hands of the county clerks. Needless to say, it’s a bill we’ll be keeping an eye on.
Also from Rep. Nelson is H.B.89, “US Senator Midterm Vacancy.” Currently, in the event that a US Senator passes away or steps down from office in the middle of his or her term, the former-Senator’s political party would nominate three replacements, and the governor would pick a successor to fill the former-Senator’s seat until the next regular election. H.B.89 seeks to reassign that appointment power from the governor to the state legislature. Since the procedure for a midterm vacancy is part of the Utah Constitution, H.B.89 simply begins the amendment process. Still, if Utah voters feel it necessary to change the current procedure, we believe it would be better to call a special election and let the people decide.
There are bright spots to look forward to, however. For the last several years, Rep. Patrice Arent has proposed legislation to repeal straight-party ticket voting, and it’s reported that she’ll try again this year. Utah is one of only 7 states that still embraces straight-party tickets, and historically there hasn’t been much political will to change that. Ben McAdam’s win over Mia Love might help change that attitude, however. We’ll be watching developments on this in-process bill very closely.
Please help us in our efforts to be a strong voice at the state Capitol in favor of ethical government that empowers and protects the will of the people. Donate today!
- Hillary Stirling, Executive Director
Start marking your calendar for United Utah's big event - the state convention:
When: Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 10:00 am
Where: Mount Jordan Middle School, 9351 S. Mountaineer Lane, Sandy
Our county conventions will also be springing to life very soon . . . this spring. Watch for details to come.
Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus Members Seek to End the Shutdown
ABC News reports that on Wednesday, 16 January 2019, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from the House Problem Solvers Caucus (supported by No Labels) sat down with President Trump at the White House Wednesday as the president continues to demand funding to build a southern border wall as a condition for ending the partial government shutdown.
The meeting (Wednesday) with both Democrats and Republicans comes the day after (Tuesday) the president invited a group of rank-and-file Republican and Democrat members to the White House for lunch. No Democrats took the White House up on that invitation on Tuesday, which was viewed on Capitol Hill by some as an attempt by the White House to create fissures within the Democratic Party – though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave approval for Democrats to accept Trump’s invitation.
The seven Democrats who attended Wednesday’s meeting released a statement as they arrived at the White House saying they accepted the president’s invitation in order to relay their message that the government must be reopened as a precondition for further in-earnest conversations.
"There is strong agreement across the aisle and around the country: We must reopen the government. Our security, safety, and economy have been compromised, and millions of families are suffering,” the Democrats said in a group statement. "There is also strong agreement that if we reopen the government, the possibility exists to work together and find common ground to tackle some of our country’s toughest problems and fix them. But that conversation can only begin in earnest once the government is reopened."
Although this meeting did not end the shutdown, Sarah Sanders later reportedly said, "We look forward to more conversations like this."
It was good to see the Problem Solvers Caucus take action to supply some Democratic negotiating participants when other leaders failed to deliver. Let us hope that this Caucus will continue its work to end the shutdown through meaningful compromise.