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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Salt Lake City, UT (August 26, 2013) — In an exclusive interview with Libertas Institute, a Utah mother discusses her son’s severe seizures and how he is being denied one medical option that may help. Having tried 25 other treatments prescribed by doctors, Jennifer May now wants to try medical marijuana.
Recently, a CNN story went viral highlighting a Colorado girl named Charlotte who had strong seizures many times daily, and after other options were exhausted, was given cannabis as a treatment. She immediately responded, and went from hundreds of seizures daily to only one per week.
Salt Lake City, UT (August 8, 2013) — The results of a new survey of Utah voters were released today by Libertas Institute. Three areas were covered, each relevant to current events: the NSA, alcohol policy, and polygamy.
54% of Utah voters expressed support for the NSA facility operating in Utah, though 46% believe that the NSA’s activities violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, 48% of respondents said that the federal government’s anti-terrorism policies have gone too far in restricting civil liberties, while only 18% said that they haven’t gone far enough.
Salt Lake City, UT (March 28, 2013) — In an attempt to determine where Utah voters stands on a variety of relevant subjects, Libertas Institute surveyed 425 random Utah voters on May 22-23, 2013. Potential survey participants were screened to ensure that they were currently a registered voter in the state of Utah. Sampled voters were contacted and administered a questionnaire over the telephone. The margin of sampling error is ±4.75%.
Some of the results were expected, while others were surprising. Only 19% of Utah voters believe that the federal government is heading in the right direction (and few of them are Republican). Similarly, 57% of Utah voters believe that the federal government regularly or frequently exceeds its constitutional limits.