FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 5, 2018
CONTACT: Katie Matheson | Alliance for a Better Utah
BETTER UTAH CALLS FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY AFTER LIMITED DEBATE ON HB205
Salt Lake City, UT – Earlier today, the Utah House of Representatives avoided debate on H.B. 205, “Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act,” resulting in a vote without ever reaching the merits of the bill.
H.B. 205 was brought up for debate about five minutes before the scheduled end of floor time, inevitably rushing legislators as they then had conflicting committee hearings to attend. Of the 30 minutes of debate eventually spent on the bill, a majority of the time went toward debate on parliamentary procedures determining the germaneness of a proposed substitute. After this, the “previous question” was called, resulting in debate being immediately cut off, going instead directly to a vote. The House Sponsor, Rep. Lisonbee, was the only representative who was able to speak directly to the bill as part of her introduction, although Rep. Marie Poulson spoke indirectly as part of her comments on the proposed substitute.
Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel with the Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement in response:
“Processes like this are what erodes public faith in our government institutions. All bills, especially controversial bills receiving attention in the public sphere, should have the opportunity to receive full debate on the merits of the proposed legislation. It is telling that representatives were not even given the opportunity to debate the constitutionality of this bill, which has already been questioned. Defending this bill could cost the state hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars in legal fees when it is inevitably challenged in court, but debate of whether that expense would be worthwhile was intentionally avoided. We call on legislators to ensure that the legislative process remains open and transparent.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.