Press Releases

Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide

June 26, 2015  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  5 comments

Salt Lake City, UT (June 26, 2015) — In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion this morning, legalizing same-sex marriages throughout the nation, Libertas Institute president Connor Boyack issued the following response:

“Our LGBT friends have good reason to be happy today, but those concerned about our laws and legal structure have great cause for alarm. As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, ‘The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent… Just who do we think we are?’

“Today’s opinion—and let’s be clear, that’s all it is—provides an opportunity for lawmakers to reconsider their long-standing support for government intervention in such an important societal relationship. In the coming months, we will be encouraging elected officials to consider a proposal to repeal government licensure of marriage, allowing churches, notaries public, and others to privately officiate and sanction these unions.

“Despite what some lawyers think, there is no ‘fundamental right’ to a government permission slip. The long-standing violation of the sacred union of marriage—encouraged by those looking to shape society to match their vision—needs to be fixed.”

A similar proposal recently passed the Alabama State Senate 22-3, but the legislature adjourned before it was considered in the House. Libertas Institute is encouraging supporters to sign this petition.

New Public Policy Brief Encourages Opposition to EPA

June 3, 2015  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  One comment

Lawmakers interested in protecting private property rights in Utah

Salt Lake City, UT (June 3, 2015) — Libertas Institute has issued a new Public Policy Brief in the wake of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalizing its highly controversial rule, expanding their authority over intrastate bodies of water—including small streams—inside Utah.

The Public Policy Brief has been sent to lawmakers and other interested parties, with encouragement to begin planning opposition to the rule, and legal protection for property owners in Utah. Libertas Institute has spoken with several lawmakers interested in working on this issue in the coming months.

“The EPA needs to be put on notice that its unilateral expansion of bureaucratic authority will not be tolerated in Utah,” said Josh Daniels, policy analyst for Libertas Institute. “Several states have already begun pushing back, and Utah needs to join them; property owners throughout Utah need to be protected from burdensome regulations, bureaucratic hoops, and unreasonable compliance costs to peaceably and productively use their private property.”

The Brief contains analysis of the rule itself, the case law and legal issues surrounding EPA’s governance over the “waters of the United States,” an analysis of what other states are doing to resist the rule, and recommendations on what Utah legislators can and should do.

 

Libertas Institute Announces Series of Public Meetings to Discuss Medical Cannabis

May 14, 2015  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  One comment

Libertas Institute has scheduled several public forum meetings to discuss Senator Madsen’s proposal to legalize medical cannabis in Utah. The first meeting, the details of which are below, will focus on law enforcement, criminal justice, and banking regulatory issues.

We expect this to be a standing room only event with over 300 people showing up. We will save a few seats for media in the front; please arrive early.

  • Where: Wildcat Theater, Shepherd Union Building, Weber State University
    3848 Harrison Blvd, Ogden, UT 84408
  • When: Tuesday, May 19, 7-8:30pm
  • Who: Senator Mark Madsen, sponsor of the legislation; Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill; 22-year undercover Utah narcotics agent Allen Larsen; Christine Stenquist, director of Drug Policy Project of Utah; and Representative Marc Roberts, president of a high-risk payment processing company.

Future meetings will discuss patient stories, medical research, regulatory issues, PTSD, and other topics.

“Few legislators oppose this policy, but there was some legitimate concerns during the previous legislative session that it was happening too quickly and that there were unanswered questions,” said Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute. “As a result, we’re holding meetings statewide to openly discuss the bill, field questions, resolve concerns, and educate the public about the importance of and need for medical cannabis as a treatment option for many sick and suffering Utahns.”

Senator Mark Madsen commented, “I’m eager to participate in these meetings. For Utahns like me who sincerely believe in individual liberty and limited government, and who are interested in learning about medical cannabis, these public forums will be invaluable. People need to become informed and weigh in if we are ever going to stop government from making decisions for people that are better left to them and their physicians.”

A poll conducted by Y2 Analytics earlier this year found that 72% of likely voters in Utah support the proposed legislation.

Libertas Institute Announces New Vice President

May 4, 2015  |  Posted in: Press Releases  |  One comment

Free Market Think Tank Strengthens Its Resources

Salt Lake City, UT (May 4, 2015) — Libertas Institute announced today that DJ Schanz has joined the Institute to help further its goals of advancing the cause of limited government and the ideals of the free market. DJ Schanz brings with him a wealth of experience, relationships, and foresight to add to Libertas’s recent successful initiatives, both educationally and legislatively.

Speaking of his new role, DJ commented, “I’m excited to be part of the Libertas team and the dynamic energy the organization has for bettering our society in real, pragmatic ways. Few organizations can boast the same success and effectiveness Libertas has shown in such a relatively short period of time.”

Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute said, “DJ’s experience and knowledge, both politically and philosophically, line up perfectly with the direction Libertas is headed. We view his addition to our team as a sign of not only our growth and success, but of our vibrant future as a positive influence on public policy.”

DJ received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In addition to his duties with Libertas, DJ owns a medical records company and a political phone bank. He currently sits on the Utah GOP State Central Committee. In his spare time he coaches Little League, conducts Cub Scout meetings, cycles, and enjoys spending as much time as possible with his wife and four children.

About Libertas Institute

Libertas Institute’s mission is to advance the cause of liberty within the State of Utah by supporting and defending individual liberty, private property, and free enterprise. The Institute promotes liberty by generating non-partisan analysis and commentary on public policy issues relating to Utah, and recommending our findings to opinion leaders, policy makers, media, and interested Utahns.

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:

Read more »

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.”

Read more »

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.”

Read more »

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.”

Read more »

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.

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