Saturday, April 23, 2016

Governor Gary Herbert nice guy that has been in office too long

I had promised both campaigns that I wouldn't endorse either Gary Herbert or Jonathan Johnson before the convention. The County Convention was last week... :)

I had someone I respect today question why the delegates would possibly not vote for our current Governor Gary Herbert.

I will give you more than one reason. But #1: He has been in office too long. Perhaps not in years, but too long. (If he doesn't win another term he will be over 7 years as Governor, and almost 5 years as Lt. Gov).

Some will say that they will not pay attention to some State House Rep. that missed getting out of convention by 2 votes last week. I say, don't shoot the messenger.

Let me go back to 2009. I got my photo taken with then Sen. Hatch. I had decided that Sen. Bennett had been in DC too long, but in 2009, I was just fine with Sen. Hatch. By 2012, I had changed my mind. We had 2 candidates that year (we had lots more running) that I felt could do the job. One, I thought could do the job better, and I wrote this:

(OK, Dan has made some decisions since 2012 that I question, so no guarantees for 2018, other than Sen. Hatch has been in DC now very much too long. We will see who comes along).

I do believe the Governor is starting to do some amazingly dumb things to make himself look good. That is never a good sign. 

 First, lets start with this:
This group seemed to do a great job of getting both of our previous State AG's into trouble. Lets hire them to help my campaign?  NOT!!!

OK, not as dumb as it could be, but I am just getting started.

Why would Gary Herbert and Spencer Cox "miss" marking their 2016 candidate forms correctly and then going back the next week and changing them, when they had signed and specifically initialed on March 15 that they knew they could not change the form after March 17.

The election law broken: 20A-9-201(8)

The typical Penalty: 20A-1-609
"Except as provided ... a person convicted of any offense under this title may not:
(a)    file a declaration of candidacy for any office or appear on the ballot as a candidate for any office during the election cycle in which the violation occurred;
(b)    take or hold the office to which he was elected; and
(c)    receive the emoluments of the office to which he was elected."

The way out: 20A-9-202 (5) find someone to complain about the form within 5 days of March 17th

They both made the same "mistake" at the same time. 
Yes, a few others did as well, but very few overall and this was a very public item on the form

Notice that they added a check box saying which method of nomination they were seeking on 3/21/16. Notice on the 2nd page they initial that they knew they couldn't change the form after March 17th at 5pm.

It isn't too bad, as they found an exception, a way to legally fix the forms without getting charged with the Class B Misdemeanor, and being banned from taking office as Governor and Lt. Governor, which is the normal default for violating the election law in this area of the law.

More recently:
Why would Governor Herbert even risk violating the State Constitution and negotiate a deal for a special session vs a veto override session to save face during an election year?

Compare this to Utah Constitution, Art. VII, Sec. 8, (4),_Section_8.html 

Notice the words: Shall,  and also 60 days.There is no provision in the State Constitution for the Governor to have the legislature delay polling their body to create this deal, a Special Session.

And finally:

Today at the State GOP Convention, the Governor had his very expensive convention booth with signs that it is being sponsored by Coal and at least one other industry. He had sponsored very expensive events for delegates at both the professional basketball arena and the pro soccer stadium. 

And today he complained about attacks when the delegates just got in the mail in the last few days several letters from the Governor supporters trashing Jonathan Johnson. This included lobbyist, state school board member, and ballot nomination signature businessman Spencer Stokes. You can't write the stupidity. 

One attack was my good friend Lt. Gov. Cox hitting Jonathan about 2 adult magazines Overstock was carrying (they announced today that that is ending) when Jonathan was complimenting the state legislature for passing a resolution condemning Porn.

Governor Herbert has been in office long enough. Some think I have been too. I am saving my yard signs. Will the Governor?

More Recent updates:

Speed dating fundraising: 

Fundraiser with ties to even with taxpayer money:

Adding items to the special session call:

The corporation (working hand in hand with the Governor's department) credited with getting all the jobs the Governor has been taking credit for,  no filing taxes for 5 years:

It is one thing to hire the same political group that got our past 2 Attorney Generals in trouble, to appear to intentionally violate election laws on their candidate forms, to skirt the state constitution to save face, and then to toss out everything the attorneys are telling elected officials recently based on current federal election laws and how they are being enforced and make proposals that had lobbyists uncomfortable?

I have seen the Governor for almost 12 years, more times than I can count. He started out as the person that would go anywhere to represent the then Governor. The recent actions show he is willing to do anything to stay in office. Even skirt the State Constitution? The recent comment from the Speaker "The legislative branch has not been grafted into the governor's re-election campaign" is what I am feeling.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Floor Power rating and bill sponsor batting average

During the last couple of weeks, I noticed a few people asking about a floor power rating and a bill sponsor batting average. Neither of these statistics are very accurate in my opinion, but first lets look at where the numbers come from and what they are supposed to mean and what they really mean.


for 2016, I started more bills than I typically would have. 15 are listed.

Several of these were of the same subject as other legislators' bills and  typically they would have been sent out of House Rules at the same time to the same committee to have them deal with them, but this year the policy was changed and the rules committee only sent one of the bills out per group and let the sponsors try to deal with that. For that main reason, only 6 were voted on and 3 passed both houses and were signed by the Gov. or Lt. Gov. (Several of my bills that didn't leave rules had language that was discussed and included in other bills).

But this stat looks like 20% overall or 50% for those that were voted on in 2016. 

Back to the first link. For 2016, about 1/3 of the legislators passed fewer bills than I did. About 1/2 passed more. Some sponsored as many as 9 bills and had 0 pass while some sponsored one and it passed. 

For 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016, I had 8 pass, not including the 4 that passed in 2013 that I had sponsored in 2012 for the 2013 session. That makes 12 total.

For 2015, I sponsored 9 bills, 3 were voted on and 3 passed both houses and were signed by the Governor.

It should be noted that the legislature rules allow a legislator to prioritize 3 bills per session.  While there are those that get more passed each session, many of those start in the senate. On average there are about 4 to 5 bills passed per legislator per session. For example 4.5 x 104 = 468 bills.

Some bills take multiple years to either get right or to get everyone on board, where possible. Some are very simple and everyone agrees to start with. This statistic doesn't take that into account. If you look at the list, you will note many very good legislators that do not do well with this statistic alone.

Again, if you look at my overall rating and the overall legislature, you will see things differently. 

Floor Power Rating.

in 2011, I first saw this stat. At least a few of the ones with a very high floor power rating, were not the leaders, they were the followers. They literally looked at the board and voted which ever way most were going on some bills. I also noticed that those that voted "no" a lot were often not high on this score. I have averaged about 68.8%, for 4 sessions, in the middle of the pack. I typically have a higher "no" rating, and that doesn't help, and I am willing to be the only "no" on a given bill if I believe it has problems that hasn't been fixed. There are others that will do that, and they typically do poorly with this statistic.

There are some that have a very high power floor rating for some issues, but they don't show up that way just looking at the stats. Rep. Chew (for example) doesn't score really high, but you look at a bill dealing with ranchers and farmers, and his opinion on that bill matters at lot. My number for 2016 was lower than my other years. Some of that could have been because of my opposition to the prison relocation last year, but it is common for those numbers to vary year per year.

For different ratings or rankings for me in 2016, see:

[update: One of the other things you will not see in the ratings/rankings is how many bills a Legislator kills with a great question, or amends or substitutes to make the bill better, what bills they helped create in a committee or advice they gave a sponsor of a bill. It is very hard for statistics to really show everything going on in the legislature]

Friday, April 15, 2016


"I believe we must stand up and be heard or watch our constitutionally protected rights disappear. As a current member of the State House, I have been heard, standing up to protect your rights. That fight continues. "

Education Excellence, Clean Air and Water, Your Rights, and a Stable and Growing Economy

Education Excellence
As a taxpayer and architect, I see the money spent on buildings. We can reduce costs while still maintaining the quality. Teachers often do not have the supplies they need, and in most cases deserve more pay for the critical work they do. Education funding is too complex and enough funding doesn’t make it to the classroom. I will work to bring more money to the classroom.

Clean Air and Water
As part of the Utah Legislature Clean Air Caucus, I sponsored legislation and fought for and against bills effecting our air and water. We should be good stewards of the land, Extremes on both sides of this issue hurt our ability to live and work in our great state.

Your Rights
The US Constitution specifically says: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people". This is an area that is worth fighting for Utahns. We can't continue to let government take over our lives. We can be safe and free.

A Stable and Growing Economy
Utah is among Forbes best fiscally managed States and one of the best for business and careers. Many families are still struggling. We need to continue to improve. The Economy will grow when Government will allow it. In many cases Government is holding business growth back with too many regulations.


We should play a role as responsible citizens in our communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections. We should engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that others come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion for solutions to our challenges.

Solutions not Parties
I have no problem working with different political parties. All four bills that I sponsored that passed the House in 2011 and 2012 were floor sponsored by a democratic senator. I was the only member of the Legislature that sponsored a bipartisan congressional redistricting map, co-sponsored by a member of another party I don't look at bills as republican or democrat sponsored bills. I vote on bills based on what the bill says and would do, and I have spoken against bills and spoken for bills based on the bill and not the sponsor or party. A bill has to improve things, however small the steps, or should not pass. I really appreciate representing the great people of this area of West Valley City. As your State Representative, I have worked hard to read the bills, speak up, and also vote on the bills, taking into account different viewpoints. This year I was again able to have bills pass the legislature and be signed by the governor. Many of the bills I sponsored were at your request.

For 2015 and 2016, I was given a 100% rating from the Utah Taxpayers Association for voting against tax increases and looking out for the taxpayers. I also received a Salt Lake Chamber 2015 and 2016 Business Champion award for working to help Utah businesses grow. I worked hard this last year to make sure the legislature didn’t ignore the idea of replacing the prison in Draper, which I believe would have saved over $100 Million.

 Be involved. Public officials can't know what you are thinking if you don't tell them. The best way to contact me is to write via email, or come to one of my Town Hall Meetings.

2016 HB 11 Referendum Amendments

Based on a recent story in the Deseret News, there has been some questions re: a bill I ran (HB11) this last session that didn't pass.

"Cox, on the other hand, has experienced some friction within the Legislature. During the 2016 session, he ran into some trouble when a bill he sponsored failed to pass in the House after very brief debate, even though it had support from interim and legislative committees. The bill would have allowed Utahns to wait to circulate a referendum petition until after the governor takes action on legislation."

"The year before, Cox helped opponents of the Utah State Prison relocation start a referendum and spoke in favor of keeping the facility in Draper. The prison move was a top priority of House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper.

Even if Cox gains more than 60 percent of delegate votes, he would still have to face Winder in the primary. Winder has collected enough signatures to guarantee a spot on the primary ballot. Cox, however, did not gather signatures and would need at least 40 percent of delegate support to qualify for the nomination."

About the bill I ran (which got more than brief debate):

Interim Session audio,
August 2015

November 2015

2016 Session Committee audio 

Floor Videos:
Day 4 
Day 8
Day 9
Day 11
Day 17

Back to the Deseret News Article:
First, I didn't sponsor the referendum to repeal 2015 HB 454, even though I did vote against the bill. 

It fact, the referendum application was never even accepted by the Lt. Governor's office. I felt the deadline (that the group of 5 sponsors missed) was not constitutional. I didn't know if they could get the signatures or not, but I did think they should have a chance to try.  For more information on that:

Why did I vote against 2015 HB 454 and also 2015 1st Special Session HCR101?

I am an architect. I worked years ago for a firm that did the drawings for the Gunnison Prison and also the Oxbow "Jail". I worked on the floor plans and site plans, putting them in the CADD system. I also worked on proposed jails or drug rehab centers in several states.

I also was a volunteer for 2 years at Draper Prison.

When I looked at the Draper Site, I could clearly see how you could replace the Prison working "outside the fence". For more about that see:

"At Draper, we could phase it over a much longer time period, reportedly saving $Hundreds of Millions, but if we are going to build a brand new prison somewhere now, it is my opinion it can be at Draper, and I believe at a savings around $100 Million, and be closer to current employees and not be further from current volunteers."

I do agree, if we are moving the Draper Prison, and that has now been decided, the SLC location from the Short List was the best option. While not everyone agreed with me, I did believe most people in the legislature had not considered keeping the prison in Draper and I felt we should, taking in to account $100 Million in possible savings and the location of many of the prison officers' homes.