Press Releases

New Common Core lawsuit announced against Utah State School Board

July 31, 2014  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  No comments

Salt Lake City, UT (July 31, 2014) — Libertas Institute announces a new lawsuit over Common Core’s adoption in Utah, being filed today in the Third Judicial District Court.

“Two weeks ago, Governor Herbert announced he had asked the Attorney General to investigate legal issues surrounding Common Core,” said Libertas Institute president Connor Boyack. “We have been conducting our own investigation since January and have identified several violations of the law.”

The lawsuit features six plaintiffs denied an opportunity to be consulted prior to establishing new education standards in Utah—an opportunity to which they are entitled by state law. The plaintiffs are:

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Fourth Amendment Forum to discuss law enforcement and civil liberties

June 16, 2014  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  No comments

Salt Lake City, UT (June 17, 2014) — Libertas Institute, along with ACLU Utah and the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, is hosting a “Fourth Amendment Forum” this evening to discuss issues relating to civil liberties, police militarization, and searches and seizures as they related to the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“While the NSA is invading our privacy and the other branches of the federal government have been complicit, state legislators have passed some really good laws this year to protect our rights and appropriately restrain agents of the government,” said Libertas Institute president Connor Boyack. “Because these are pressing issues, and because our rights are substantially threatened by policies that place too much power in the hands of government, we’re excited to hear from panelists this evening on what Utah is doing right, and what is wrong and still needs fixing.”

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Sean Reyes, Attorney General of Utah
  • Sim Gill, District Attorney of Salt Lake County
  • Jim Tracy, president of the Utah Sheriff’s Association
  • Chris Gebhardt, two-time multi-jurisdictional SWAT Team Leader
  • Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice

Date: Tonight
Time: 7-9pm
Location: Red Lion Hotel, 161 West 600 South, Salt Lake City (Wasatch 3 and Cascade rooms)

Libertas Institute Calls 2014 Legislative Session a “Resounding Success”

March 17, 2014  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  No comments

Priority bills all passed either unanimously, or with little dissent

Salt Lake City, UT (January 22, 2014) — In an effort to better protect both polices officers and the public at large, Libertas Institute has proposed reforms to Utah law regarding authorization over forcible entry warrants. House Bill 70, with both Republican and Democrat sponsorship and support, would establish a state-wide standard for judges to follow in making sure that authority to enter a citizen’s home is given only when absolutely necessary.

“While laws must be enforced, we are concerned that violent and confrontational methods to execute warrants are being authorized when not actually necessary,” said Libertas Institute President Connor Boyack. “Our goal here is to protect people on both sides of the gun—police officers and their suspects—such that the risk to life and property are minimized to the extent possible.”

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Libertas Institute Proposes Changes to Forcible Entry Police Warrants

January 22, 2014  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  No comments

Salt Lake City, UT (January 22, 2014) — In an effort to better protect both polices officers and the public at large, Libertas Institute has proposed reforms to Utah law regarding authorization over forcible entry warrants. House Bill 70, with both Republican and Democrat sponsorship and support, would establish a state-wide standard for judges to follow in making sure that authority to enter a citizen’s home is given only when absolutely necessary.

“While laws must be enforced, we are concerned that violent and confrontational methods to execute warrants are being authorized when not actually necessary,” said Libertas Institute President Connor Boyack. “Our goal here is to protect people on both sides of the gun—police officers and their suspects—such that the risk to life and property are minimized to the extent possible.”

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Utah Legislature Unanimously and Unknowingly Gutted Controversial 2000 Citizen Initiative

December 17, 2013  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  No comments

Salt Lake City, UT (December 17, 2013) — In a newly released policy analysis, Libertas Institute sheds light on a potentially deceptive change to forfeiture law in Utah. In the 2013 general session, the Utah legislature overturned several protections introduced through a 2000 citizen initiative—and evidently no legislator even knew it happened.

“69% of Utahns voted for an initiative in 2000 that restricted the government’s ability to seize property, and without even knowing they did it, the legislature has gutted several of the restraints that had been in place since that time,” said Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute. “Lawmakers were told that HB384 was a simple ‘re-codification’ bill, and with that assurance unanimously voted for the bill with no discussion at all. Once they read our analysis and realize what they were led to vote for, we imagine that many of them will be quite upset.”

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Libertas Institute Statement on the Bigamy Lawsuit Decision

December 14, 2013  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  No comments

Salt Lake City, UT (December 13, 2013) — Libertas Institute President Connor Boyack released the following statement on Judge Waddoups’ ruling regarding the Kody Brown lawsuit over Utah’s bigamy law:

“We welcome this ruling as another step in the direction of individual liberty,” said Boyack. “Consenting adults should not be punished by the state for peacefully living in a way that others may disagree with.”

“With rare exceptions like Kody Brown and his wives, most polygamists throughout Utah have been living under a shroud of secrecy, forced into the shadows because the government has historically considered their lifestyle to be criminal activity. Today marks a new beginning, and an important invalidation of an unjust law.”

“While child brides, abuse, and other problematic activities should be dealt with and appropriately prosecuted, consenting adults in a plural relationship should not be threatened with punitive action. Judge Waddoups’ ruling will help integrate these communities into society so that when abuse does occur, it will be more willingly reported and investigated.”

Earlier this year, Libertas Institute conducted a lengthy interview with Joe Darger, another well-known polygamist in Utah. He expressed hope for decriminalizing his lifestyle: “I have no doubt that we will win. I have never thought of this as a sprint—it’s a marathon.” Read the rest here.

Libertas Institute Announces Program to Encourage Citizen Involvement

December 3, 2013  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  No comments

Salt Lake City, UT (December 3, 2013) — In an effort to involve more Utahns in the political process, Libertas Institute announces the launch of a new program to bring more citizens to the legislature. The Citizen Sponsorship Program enables interested Utahns to monitor and lobby for or against one bill during the general legislative session each year.

“We are looking to crowdsource citizen participation at the legislature,” said Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute. “Other than legislators, government employees, and tourists, almost all of the people at the Capitol are professional lobbyists. We intend to change that.”

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Majority of Utah Voters Oppose Anti-Discrimination Law

November 25, 2013  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  One comment

New public opinion poll erodes support for proposed legislation

Salt Lake City, UT (November 25, 2013) — A new poll conducted by Libertas Institute shows that a majority of Utah voters oppose punishing business owners or landlords for discriminating in employment and housing. 750 random Utah voters were contacted and administered a questionnaire. The margin of sampling error is ±3.57%.

Key findings include:

  • 86% of Utah voters believing that individuals have the right to do business with whomever they choose.
  • 66% believe that business owners should be able to employ whomever they wish based on whatever criteria they establish.
  • 71% oppose punishing landlords for discriminating against persons based on their religion.
  • Only 31% of Utah voters support punishing business owners or landlords for discriminating against gay or transgender persons. 55% oppose.
  • 44% believe that anti-discrimination laws violate property rights. 34% believe that they do not.

Click here for additional questions and breakdown of all results based on political affiliation, age, and religion.

Majority of Utahns support the state taking over national parks

October 8, 2013  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  No comments

New public opinion poll highlights anger towards park closures

Salt Lake City, UT (October 8, 2013) — A new poll conducted by Libertas Institute shows that a majority of Utah voters oppose the closure of national parks throughout the state. 500 random Utah voters were contacted and administered a questionnaire. The margin of sampling error is ±4.38%.

Key findings include:

  • 81% of Utah voters believe that the park closures were not necessary due to the “shutdown.”
  • 48% support acts of civil disobedience to gain access to closed parks. 41% oppose.
  • 68% support state funding of parks to keep them open. 68% would also support forcefully opening parks if the offer of funding was rejected.
  • 50% believe that the park closures will have a negative or very negative impact on Utah’s tourism industry.
  • 55% support Utah taking over national parks on a permanent basis. 23% oppose.
  • 58% of Utah Republicans blame the Obama administration for shutting down the parks, but roughly the same percentage of Democrats blame Congressional Republicans.

Click here for the full results.

Majority of Utah Voters Support Medical Marijuana

August 28, 2013  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  One comment

Salt Lake City, UT (August 28, 2013) — A new poll conducted by Libertas Institute shows that a majority of Utah voters favor legalizing cannabis for medical use. 500 random Utah voters were contacted and administered a questionnaire. The margin of sampling error is ±4.38%.

While 57% of Utah voters oppose a general legalization, 61% approve of legalizing the drug for use in medical situations. Only 28% oppose the effort.

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