Latest Updates RSS Feed or subscribe via email

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

A 2001 U.S. Supreme Court case, Kylio v. U.S., addressed the use of thermal imaging devices by law enforcement officials, and the ruling held that such devices could not be used without a warrant as they constituted a search.

“Where… the government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of a private home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a Fourth Amendment ‘search,’ and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant,” the majority opinion reads.

Interestingly, the ruling anticipated the development of more refined technology and held that the court “must take account of more sophisticated systems that are already in use or in development,” referring to radar technology that would be far more detailed than blurry thermal images, which would “enable law officers to detect individuals through interior building walls.”

Read more »

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Following town hall meetings, research, and significant deliberation, the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) offered a series of evidence-based recommendations to the legislature. Representative Eric Hutchings has sponsored House Bill 348 to attempt to enact the recommendations into law.

The reforms are intended to make criminal justice “smarter” in Utah, keeping people out of prison who don’t need to be there—saving taxpayers some half a billion dollars over the next 20 years by not needing to incarcerate more people. Lowering the penalty for drug possession is one of the recommendations that has received significant attention. Other proposals include:

Read more »

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

As revealed in our recent interview with a Utah mother, schools throughout Utah are forcing children to take assessments which their parents had legally opted them out of. They were supported in doing so by the Utah State Office of Education which authored memos directing schools to only allow parents to opt their children out of select tests, despite a law passed last session by Senator Aaron Osmond, which passed almost unanimously, that provided for an opt out for a “test that is administered statewide ”

To correct this issue, Senator Osmond has authored new legislation that would require schools to excuse children out of “any summative, interim, or formative test that is not locally developed,” or “any test that is federally mandated or mandated by the state.”

Additionally, schools would be prohibited from requiring parents to meet with the principal or other school official as a condition of excusing the child, or require the parent to sign a form of their choosing, rather than accepting the written statement of the parent. The bill would also stipulate that a parent’s written statement would remain in effect until further notice, or when the child is no longer enrolled at the school

Read more »

Several legislators are attempting to push back against protectionist laws that favor the car dealership industry. And the car dealerships are, unsurprisingly, pushing back.

Under current law, a new car dealership cannot be located within 15 miles of an existing dealership that offers the same kind of cars for sale. This protectionist provision prohibits competition within a specific geographic area, and excludes certain cities from qualifying for having a dealership locate in city limits—along with benefiting from the taxes it would provide. Representative Mike McKell is proposing legislation that would decrease this distance, making it easier for other companies to compete.

Following lobbying by Larry H. Miller in 2000, Utah law now prohibits car dealerships from operating on both weekend days—a legislatively creative way of saying that they must close on Sunday, since everybody will elect to operate on Saturday. This protectionist policy was introduced as a defensive response by Miller to thwart off national competitors whose policies would require them to open on Sunday, leading him to either require his employees to also work on Sunday, or continue to close on the Sabbath but lose business to competitors. Representative Marc Roberts is proposing legislation to repeal this requirement.

Read more »

Thursday, February 5, 2015 | No comments

HB260: Constitutional Carry in Utah

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Utah law prohibits a person from having a concealed firearm, imposing a class B misdemeanor as the penalty. Anybody who obtains a concealed firearm permit is exempted from this provision.

Two years ago, a bill passed the legislature unanimously which would also exempt the prohibition from any person 21 years or older “who may lawfully possess a firearm, as long as the firearm is not loaded.” The bill was vetoed by the Governor, and the legislature failed to muster enough interest in holding a veto override session.

Representative Curt Oda has re-introduced the bill. While we would favor reducing the age to 18—that of a legal adult—this bill is an important protection of the right to keep and bear arms; the government’s permission should not be needed to exercise a fundamental right.

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

We believe in the right of an individual to engage in an occupation free from government restriction or a mandate to first obtain a permission slip from bureaucrats. Too often, industries seek to create barriers to entry for new practitioners using government regulation via increased occupational licensing requirements. Some licensing requirements include arbitrary waiting times or requisite years of experience before a license is issued despite whether an individual can demonstrate actual competency in the field.

House Bill 235, sponsored by Representative Norman Thurston, aims to reduce these barriers to entry from waiting times by giving prospective licensees the opportunity to demonstrate skills competency in their field in lieu of a waiting time. Under the bill, the Utah Department of Occupational Licensure would offer alternative testing for license applicants who wish to demonstrate skills competency. While we are opposed to licensing in general and oppose increased barriers to entry, we see this bill as a common sense way to reduce existing licensure burdens and provide more opportunity for individuals to obtain requisite licenses.

A recent nationwide study found Utah to be the 12th most onerously licensed state in the nation. This is a metric that harms free enterprise in our state and the liberty of Utahns to engage in an occupation of their choice. Utah should continue to find ways to reduce the burden of licensure. HB 235 is a good step in that direction.

Yesterday morning, we published an interview with Heather Gardner, a Utah mother of five young children, who was told by school administrators that her children were no longer welcome on campus because she had opted them out of assessments the school believed her children were required to take.

By the afternoon, the situation became worse.

First, some context. Last year, Senator Aaron Osmond sponsored a parental rights bill that, among other things, requires a school to “excuse [a] student from taking a test that is administered statewide” upon written request of the parent. In other words, with this bill having been signed into law, a parent can legally opt out their child from “a test that is administered statewide.”

However, a legal opinion offered last September by Assistant Attorney General Chris Lacombe (who is representing the school board in our lawsuit over their adoption of Common Core), led the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) to advise schools that parents can only opt their children out of some of the assessments.

Read more »

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Currently, Utah law prohibits beekeeping unless the individual first registers with, and pays, the state government. This mandate has led many beekeepers to “go underground” by defying the requirement and doing it without the government’s permisison or knowledge.

House Bill 224, sponsored by Representative Marc Roberts, proposes carving out the registration requirement for those who operate five bee hives or less, leaving the burden to the commercial beekeepers and others with a large operation. Those exempted from the registration requirement would, under the bill, still be able to voluntarily register to receive services if they so desire.

The bill also:

Read more »

Editor’s note: Heather Gardner is a parent of several children attending school in Utah. A few days ago, using a legal opinion from an Assistant Attorney General that contradicts the purpose and intent of a “parental rights” law in the state, her daughter was forced to take an exam that she had opted her out of. 

This morning, Heather filed a formal complaint with the Utah State Charter School Board. Below, she recounts this and other experiences her children have had being told by teachers to do what her parents said she didn’t need to comply with. The comments in this interview do not necessarily reflect the views of Libertas Institute. 

Libertas Institute: Tell our readers a little about yourself.

Heather Gardner: My husband and I are the parents of five children. I’m currently a professional photographer, and own two book review websites. I also teach at Liberty Hills Academy, a private school in Bountiful. I ran for the state school board during this last election, and did not make it on the ballot because the Governor’s nominating committee ended my candidacy. However, I did petition Judge Waddoups to put myself and all the other rejected candidates on the ballot once he ruled that the process was unconstitutional, but my petition was denied. I was appointed by Senator Niederhauser to the standards review committee for Fine Arts curriculum in Utah.

I’ve tried to stay very informed about educational issues, related legislation, and to attend my local school board meetings and legislative sessions. I’m a special needs mom and advocate for students and parents.

Read more »

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill.

A woman clearly has the right to birth her own child. She does not need to, but may (and usually does) request the assistance of one or more people to ensure the process goes well—doctors, midwives, a husband, or friend. Midwives, of course, are quite popular, and in Utah they need not be licensed in order to offer their services to interested expecting mothers.

A midwife may elect not to become licensed in Utah for a variety of reasons: because it is restrictive, because she prefers not to be regulated by the government, because she doesn’t use drugs or practice in a manner that would require licensure, or because she views birth as a normal physiological process—and not a medical event. Whatever the reason, there are many unlicensed midwives in Utah, catering to an exploding market of women choosing to birth their babies at home.

New legislation sponsored by Representative Carol Spackman Moss aims to crack down on these unlicensed midwives. HB202 is sound in overall principle, but utterly fails in execution.

This bill would mandate unlicensed midwives to require their prospective clients to sign an informed consent form that states that:

Read more »

Featured

Google+