Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Senate President: The Best Deliberation Is No Deliberation

We're on week two of Utah's nearly 7-week Legislative Session, and we may already have the quote of the session.  And, it comes from Senate President Wayne Niederhauser.

First, some background:

SB100 is the current bill number for a bill that has been floating around the Utah Legislature for 6 years.  It is currently sponsored by St George Republican Senator Steve Urquhart.  It adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of things that you can't be discriminated for in the state of Utah.  The list currently protects people from getting fired (among other things) on the basis of race, religion, sex, and family status.

It's similar to laws passed by several cities in the past several years, including one in Salt lake City that was supported by the LDS Church.

Oh, and it's an issue that a recent Salt Lake Tribune poll says that 60% of Utahns support.  The Deseret News has the number at 72%.

However, Urquhart can't get his bill heard.

On Friday, he held a press conference encouraging Utahns to let their Senators know they want the bill to be heard.  He encouraged people to come to the Capitol and post "blue notes" on the Senate Door.And, people came.And by the time the Senate reconvened on Monday, the door and doorway were covered in blue notes.

And, what did that mean to Niederhauser?  Well, it was further proof that the bill SHOULDN'T be heard.That's right.  If you want a bill heard by the Utah Senate, don't tell anyone.  Especially the Utah Senate.

From the Tribune:
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said Monday the notes are proof "there is a lot of emotion out there" over same-sex marriage and related issues.
But, he added, the Legislature should stick with plans to let the issue cool down and not deal with more changes until the courts consider Utah’s appeal to a federal ruling that struck down its ban on same-sex marriage.
"This is an emotional time," Niederhauser said. "Let’s stop and pull our faculties together and address other issues this session and wait for the process [in court] … to take place and we’ll come back at another time to address religious liberties and other types of discrimination."
Because the Utah Legislature never, ever acts based on emotion.

Wait, what court process is he talking about? Oh yeah, the gay marriage lawsuit.

You see, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes told the Legislature that they shouldn't take up any bills relating to gay people because they don't want the state to show any animosity towards gay people, since the whole basis of the case hinges on "'The Utah Government is being mean to gay people.'  'No, we're not!'"Well, that's what it sounds like, at least.

And, what better way to prove that the state doesn't not like gay people than by keep the Legislature from talking about gay people.

Yeah.  That will work.

However, the killer quote from President Neiderhauser comes at the end of the Tribune article:
"It is most important for us right now to take some time," Niederhauser said. "Let’s not get too anxious. The best kind of policy is the policy that takes some time and has had a lot of deliberation."
Did you catch that?  We need to deliberate the bill, so we're not going to deliberate it.

It may just be me, but I would think that allowing the bill to be discussed over the remaining 37 days of the session would be a great way to deliberate it.

Especially a bill that's been around for 6 years.  How much deliberation will be enough?

1 comment:

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