Saturday, June 18, 2011

Utah State GOP Convention Approves Resolution Urging Repeal Of HB116 Guest Worker Law, 833-739

On June 18th, 2011, delegates at the Utah State Republican Convention in Sandy voted 833-739 to approve a non-binding resolution urging the state legislature to repeal the contentious HB116, which basically allows illegal immigrants to work in Utah if they submit to a criminal background check and pay a fine. It was hardly a "narrow" verdict, as KSL Channel 5 and the Deseret News implied in their reportage. Both these media outlets, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have been subtly pushing for support of HB116.

Also at the convention was four of the five members of Utah's Congressional delegation; Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz. More details about their roles posted on the Utah GOP Twitter site. KSL news video below:

Video Courtesy of

Proponents of the repeal resolution were celebratory after passage, but downplayed the spectre of any split within the GOP. Gov. Gary Herbert also disagreed this was a fight for control of the party. "As the Republican governor, I think that kind of thinking is a bunch of bunk," the governor said after the vote. "I'm here to tell you the heart and soul of the Republican Party is alive and well."

So what happens next? Senate President Michael Waddoups (R-Taylorsville) said it's now up to lawmakers to decide what their constituents want them to do about HB116. Waddoups expects to see legislation to amend and perhaps even repeal the law next session. Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart (R-Provo) says some lawmakers are already scrutinizing the bill for possible changes. Considering that a strongly-criticized Dan Jones poll indicated that 61 percent of respondents "approved" of HB116, it's likely it will be amended rather than repealed, and that the next version will not violate federal law. As presently written, HB116 would require a federal waiver to take effect on July 1st, 2013.

Public Reaction: Comments posted to the media sites tend to be predominantly supportive of the delegates' action. From the Deseret News:

BoomerJeff | 5:19 p.m. June 18, 2011 Saint George, UT:
Awesome job, GOP delegates! I am impressed that you didn't cave into the pressure, and that you voted your own conscience. Its good to know there are people that understand right from wrong, honesty, and fairness to those who obey the law. I wish my church [LDS] still taught those things (sigh). Thank you, Thank you Thank you!!!!!

Adam | 5:23 p.m. June 18, 2011 Salt Lake City, UT
Well D-News, I think it's now your responsibility to post the names of all those who voted for and against this bill. We voters can then vote with a little more confidence in just who we are voting for. I'll be watching for the list or at least a link to the list from you D-News. [Link to House list HERE and Senate list HERE]

Upson Downs | 7:07 p.m. June 18, 2011 Sandy, UT:
I applaud the delegates who were brave enough to vote to repeal HB116 and not side with the power brokers of the Utah State Republican Party and the LDS Church . You can't shield Illegals from U.S. Law. For Illegals to "square themselves with the law" which is what these groups want, the Illegals still need to return to their country of origin and come here legally with legal papers. The statement from the Church even says that. Not just wave a magic wand and say they can work here.

jim l | 9:54 p.m. June 18, 2011 West Jordan, UT:
Why would the salt lake chamber of comm. have such a big interest in this issue other than trying to have a supply of cheap labor for their buddies at the country club?

Illegal immigrants do not have to be deported, jailed, or any such nonsense. Just take away the jobs, and they will go home on their own. No seperation of family or such sad stories.

I honestly believe that the margin of the vote was greater. I looked around the room while the vote was being taken and it sure seemed like there were alot more people in favor of repealing. They had trouble with counting and totaling of votes all day long. How many times did they have to adjust the numbers? At least 3 or 4 times.

CandaceSalima | 10:50 p.m. June 18, 2011 Orem, UT:
I think it is important to remember that those who oppose H.B.116 realize that the U.S. Constitution should not be shrugged off and on according to ones convenience. The Constitution represents every single American and provides protections to America's citizens, legislatures, states, and federal government. It is only when we stray from the Constitution that we find the pitfalls the Founding Fathers warned of. We simply ask that the Utah State Legislature find a solution, which we are only to willing to help them with, to illegal immigrants that remains within the restrictions the U.S. Constitution has placed upon the states, which are not many. I do not find that unreasonable, nor did the majority of delegates at the Republican State Convention today, of which I am one.


lawafterthebar said...

How is 833-739, or just 24% of delegates voting in favor, not a narrow verdict?

Deseret Dawg said...

It was 833 votes in favor of repeal of HB116, 739 against. That's a 94-vote margin in favor. Not as narrow as the media suggests.