OPINION - March 2, 2023
“Utah is a unique state in so many ways – with its beauty and so many exceptional residents who help their communities and neighbors. Yet, Utah is also unique in its legislative efforts to create local and statewide dictatorships – to move away from democracy and take control over us.
Some examples already in Utah law are its legal allowance of elected officials to have conflicts of interest and yet still vote on issues where they get a personal financial gain, and to even coerce their fellow legislators to support such. Then, should the public find out about this, we’re prohibited from recalling those elected officials. In essence, once elected, they’re dictators.
Now, the Utah Legislature wants to push this even further with Senator Mike McKeil’s (Spanish Fork) sponsorship of SB 199. In essence, this bill “disallows referral of a referendum to voters for a land use law that passed by a two-thirds vote of the local legislative body. “He wants to take away the ability of the public to decide whether to maintain the good culture of their community and to instead allow the dictators to drastically alter our local cultures to their own personal financial benefit or to do favors for select friends or businesses who prompt them, perhaps with financial gain, to allow the destruction of agriculture and our ways of life.
This legislator even has the audacity to say that the public is “weaponizing” the currently allowable referendums that permit the public to speak up and take action to oppose those elected officials who choose to represent themselves and a few business friends rather than the majority of the public. “Weaponizing?” Really? It’s called “democracy” and the effort to have a more pure democracy where the public plays a key role in major decisions rather than to allow elected officials to dictate to us once elected. The ones who do this are weaponizing a representative democracy by representing themselves rather than the voters.
What can we do to strive to allow the public to weigh in on our legislators’ decisions? We need to assure that all eligible voters actually vote in elections. We also need to do our homework and determine which candidates will actually support the majority’s wishes when they legislate. Then, we need to assure that bills such as SB 199 are defeated by contacting our legislators and telling them your wishes. Let’s get involved!”