Press Release: Better Utah Condemns Callous Behavior of House Committee

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 6, 2018
CONTACT: Katie Matheson | Alliance for a Better Utah
katie@betterutah.org

BETTER UTAH CONDEMNS CALLOUS BEHAVIOR OF HOUSE COMMITTEE

Salt Lake City, UT – In a hearing this afternoon of the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee, members of the public commenting on Rep. Mike Noel’s H.B. 136, “Federal Designations,” were forced to testify under oath, a procedure allowed under House Rules but rarely used in committee hearings. Claiming the “need to have accuracy,” the chair of the committee, Rep. Stratton, required all those giving public comment to be sworn in, warning that giving false testimony would be a second-degree felony.

Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel with the Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement in response:

“This callous behavior toward members of the public was insulting and demeaning. Testimony under oath is rarely required during a legislative hearing. With such a sparse history, requiring this of the public solely because it is an ‘emotional issue’ can only be said to bear upon the character of the legislators themselves and their continued hostility towards those who disagree with their positions on public lands issues. If this action was meant to intimidate or otherwise demean certain members of the public, this committee and its members owe an apology to all those involved.”

An audio recording of the public comment portion of the hearing, with the testimony being sworn in, can be found here starting at 34:12. Pictures taken by Rep. Joel Briscoe, a member of the committee, can be found here.

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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.

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