Saturday, December 22, 2018

The year Christmas Changed

The year Christmas Changed.

It was 14 years ago, that I watched my dad die. I called my wife Aleta from the hospital to go over to my mom's to tell her. I later took my mom to pick out a coffin. We didn't have the funeral until the 30th and we still "had Christmas" but some things were not done that year. No business related Christmas cards. Almost no gifts. Even though I knew and still know I will see my dad again, that  (cards and gifts) wasn't important. Family was important. Christ was important. I have no idea how many people were offended I didn't send them a card or gift.

Some things have caused me to still be more outwardly engaged with "the season". Several years my church ward has had a Christmas Card exchange. Aleta and I would print out a hundred or so one page Christmas Cards, and go over to the ward and help sort the many thousands of "cards" that would be delivered by our youth. Our ward didn't do it this year, so no cards again.

Our Rotary Club has had a Sub for Santa for the Family Support Center. We buy gifts for a few families. This year, as a club they didn't fit in a large SUV. One year I went with my wife to pick out a couple of coats. One on this lady's list was over $100. it was a coat a contractor would buy to stay warm. I realized I hadn't ever purchased that nice of a coat for my wife, but she didn't say anything. This year we got 20 stockings and a few items to go with others for our Rotary project. We had our annual wrapping dinner and party. I made a note that "Santa" would need a ride later this year. It was neat to see the kids sit on his knee.

Christmas includes a few gifts, some of my wife's Rice Crispy treats to deliver to a few in the ward. What it really is: reading a couple of chapters in Matthew and Luke, one in Helaman, and one in 3rd Nephi. It means that because of Jesus and his atonement and resurrection, I didn't lose my dad that year, I just don't have his contact info. We will still go see the lights, and visit family. That year many years ago, Christmas changed. It changed me. As I sit in tears, remembering the Son of God, I remember I am still a son because of him.

Merry Christmas. You are still loved, even without all the gifts.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Time to get rid of straight party voting in Utah

When referring to possible changes to elections I have stated:

"IF they really want to change elections, they should get rid of straight party voting as people can now get on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate with signatures bypassing the political parties, and have been able to for many years. They just have a harder time wining with straight party voting. CMV v2.1 does nothing to help unaffiliated voters. That would."

As far as I can remember I have not voted straight party for an election. That goes back approx. 40 years.

I started promoting getting rid of straight party voting at least by Sep. 2017. See for example the bottom of this post. 

When I updated the blog post after CMV amended their proposal it has the same suggestion at the bottom

When I wrote my op-ed for the Salt Lake Tribune in Feb. 2018, it had the same suggestion.

I realized I voted against 2016 HB 119 in committee Feb. 2, 2016, but I was very torn at the time (you can listen to my comments in the committee) have had time to reconsider.

That decision had nothing to do with the 2018 election.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Is Prop 2 ready to vote on

Is Prop 2 ready to vote yes on?

Just take 2 items for example.

$100 fine, but that isn't enforceable. You forget your license to transport or to be a patient, and they have to assume you are legit.

2 oz. of raw material every 2 weeks. Not in any form that has even been claimed to be medicine. You can't smoke the raw material (if they catch you) but you sure can legally heat and breath the vapors.

Two more for added measure, lets take away any city's say in where in their city locations can be. We don't do that for anything else, with the new exception of homeless shelters.

The green cross places can't advertise that they are selling, with the exception of the green cross and that they can advertise for employees.

Vote No on Prop. 2. It isn't ready. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Why voters Should Not vote for the Fuel Tax Shell Game

Why voters Should Not vote for the Fuel Tax Shell Game

Are we raising the Utah State fuel tax by 33% and somehow expecting it to go toward Public Education?
As you likely know by now a “Nonbinding Opinion Question #1” is on the ballot this fall which reads: "To provide additional funding for public education and local roads, should the state increase the state motor and special fuel tax rates by an equivalent of 10 cents per gallon?"   

Besides the 33% Utah State fuel tax increase being proposed, there are some other major problems with the proposal. While you can use state sales tax money in any of at least three state budget areas, Transportation, Public Education and Higher Education, Education money from Income Tax is limited by the Utah State Constitution to only Public Education and Higher Education.

Fuel Tax money is limited by the Utah State Constitution to Transportation and Transportation items only, not public education.

To advertise that you are going to move taxpayer money around so you are using Transportation only money somewhere else violates at minimum the intent of the Utah Constitution.

The other issue with this proposed shell game is Transportation related sales tax should also go to Transportation - based on the same section in the Utah State Constitution. It is the sales tax going to Transportation that this “shell game” plans to use to make this whole scam “legal”.
With more Utah State Fuel Tax, the promoters of this tax increase think the State Legislature will reduce the amount of State Sales Tax being invested in Transportation and move that to Higher Education and then move more Higher Education money to Public Education.

By using Fuel Tax to increase the Education Fund, at some point you are either directly violating the Utah Constitution or at minimum violating the intent.

Is the idea of asking the voters to agree to this shell game scheme supposed to let the Utah Legislature and the Governor off the hook for not following the State Constitution?

Utah State Constitution, Art XXIII Sec. 5,_Section_5.html?v=UC_AXIII_S5_1800010118000101
Income Tax only for Public Education and Higher Education:
“5)    All revenue from taxes on intangible property or from a tax on income shall be used to support the systems of public education and higher education as defined in Article X, Section 2.

Fuel tax and Transportation related sales tax only for Transportation:
“6)    Proceeds from fees, taxes, and other charges related to the operation of motor vehicles on public highways and proceeds from an excise tax on liquid motor fuel used to propel those motor vehicles shall be used for: (a)    statutory refunds and adjustments and costs of collection and administration; (b)  the construction, maintenance, and repair of State and local roads, including payment for property taken for or damaged by rights-of-way and for associated administrative costs; (c)  driver education; (d)  enforcement of state motor vehicle and traffic laws; and (e)  the payment of the principal of and interest on any obligation of the State or a city or county, issued for any of the purposes set forth in Subsection (6)(b) and to which any of the fees, taxes, or other charges described in this Subsection (6) have been pledged, including any paid to the State or a city or county, as provided by statute. “

There is already a major issue with the Education Fund when the Board of Regents can raise Higher Education tuition without approval from the State Legislature, when they don’t get all the money they want. This increase in the Fuel Tax will not solve that issue.

Vote No on Question #1. We don’t need any more “shell games”.

The most stable and most long term funding of roads in Utah is not the fuel tax. It is the transportation related sales tax. That includes electric cars and tires for any car. Based on the state constitution the transportation related sales tax also goes to transportation. Currently about $579 Million per year. The #utleg has been using the number 17% of the overall sales tax as the approx. value that is transportation related. Based on the 17% number there is currently approx. $18 Million extra money from sales tax going into Transportation. Question 1 proposes to move approx. $125 Million from the sales tax to Education Fund. That means it is in violation of the state constitution. That doesn't even get into that the fuel Tax can't be used for education, with the exception of drivers education.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Original Sponsored Bills from 2011 to 2016

Some comments in the current Election mentioned my effectiveness. I can make this bill list look much larger and pad this list with Co-Sponsored Bills, but those bills are sponsored by someone else and you just sign to endorse them. No other work is required.

Original Sponsored Bills

(Not including Substitute versions,  Co-Sponsored or Floor Sponsored Bills, or amendments to other bills or helping pass or defeat other bills)

HB0221S01    Classic Car Inspections (Gov. Signed)
HB0227    Test Driving Vehicles (Industry Changed)
HB0281    Sex Offender and Kidnapping Amendments (See 2012)
HB0377    Higher Education Textbook Fairness Act (Agency Changed Policy)
HB0380    Utah Lands Protection Act (See 2012)

Several Redistricting map proposals

HB0018S01    Kidnapping Offender Amendments (passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0067S03    Storm Water Capture Amendments (See 2013)
HB0209S01    Utah Lands Protection Act (Alternate Bill passed)
HB0262    Building Code Amendments (Modified in 2013)

2013 (Sponsored for 2013, Transferred, passed and Gov. signed)
HB0036    Storm Water Capture Amendments (passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0215    Water Quality Amendments (passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0262    Unaffiliated Voter Amendments (passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0338    Alimony Revisions (passed, Gov. Signed)

HB0029    Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board Amendments (Passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0126S02    Design Professionals - Amendments (Alternate Passed in 2016)
HB0162    Construction Trades Continuing Education Amendments (See 2016)
HB0177S02    Modifications to Voting Law (Passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0243    Vintage Vehicle Amendments (Passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0281    Revisions to Elections Law
HB0286    Building Code Amendments (Alternate Bill Passed 2016)
HB0448    Disabled Adult Child Guardianship (1/2 passed in another bill)
HB0450    Licensing Modifications (See 2016)

Alternate to moving the Draper Prison

HB0011S02    Referendum Amendments
HB0065S01    Exemption from Daylight Saving Time
HB0069    Qualified Political Party Amendments
HB0080    Vehicle Impound Amendments
HB0101S02 Disabled Adult Guardianship Amendments (Passed and Gov. Signed)
HB0108    Licensing Amendments
HB0109 Construction Trades Education Amendments (Alternate Passed)
HB0125    Fire Code Amendments (Alternate Construction and Fire Codes Passed)
HB0152S01    Voted and Board Local Levy Modifications (passed in HB1)
HB0256    Net Metering of Electricity Amendments
HB0261    Wood Burning Stoves Amendments
HB0269    Recycling of Copper Wire (Passed and Gov Signed)
HB0361    Air Quality Modifications (Included in other passed bill)
HB0429    Specie Legal Tender Amendments
HJR011    Joint Resolution Designating Utah as a Purple Heart State (Passed and Lt. Gov. Signed)

See also:

Also see the Session Update for each year

Monday, April 2, 2018

60 vs 70 percent threashold Are we really going to debate this again

60/40 vs 70% threashold - are we really going to debate this again?
For years, the SCC and State Delegates debated the threshold for convention to primary elections. I was and I am still a supporter of the 60/40 threshold we currently have, despite the fact that I lost getting 40%+ by 2 or 3 votes out of 70 delegates (100% voting) in 2016 and didn't make it to a primary.

This State Convention there is again a proposal to change the party constitution to 70%. If it passes, it would not effect the 2018 races  Do we still want to continue this fight? 

The 60/40 allowed a challenger to eliminate an incumbent in 2016 for at least 2 Utah House races, including me. I am running again this year and I am not getting signatures. I am willing to take the risk with the 60/40 again as I did in 2014 and 2016. I won in 2014 at convention and also won in the general election. If the threshold had been changed to 70/30, it is likely that a democrat would have won that year.

Remember that CMV in 2013 always had more than one demand. It was never just the threshold. Even though adjusting the threshold would not have helped Gov. Walker in 2004 or Sen. Bennett in 2010, CMV using Y2 polled the delegates in 2012 and found that the Sen. Bennett would still not have received 40%+ with the delegates that year either. (Information released by Quin Monson at the Young Republican Convention)

I wrote this in May 2013. It is still true.

The threshold to avoid a primary is a two way sword. An 85/15 would make it easier for a weak challenger to get to a primary, but impossible to eliminate the incumbent without large amounts of money or fame. That was the Count My Vote / Buy My Vote request originally. Added to that the eliminating of any kind of multiple round and you could have 6 candidates in the primary, one of which would always be the incumbent.

They couldn't get 85/15, so they next tried 75/25. Almost impossible for an incumbent not to get 25% and make it to a primary. Yes, the incumbent is going to have a harder time getting 75%, but if the goal is more primaries that cost more money, it is one step closer to Buy My Vote or Buy My Ads. Add the elimination of the multiple round and you could get 3 or 4 candidates going to the primary. 70/30 allows up to 3 and again makes it harder to eliminate an incumbent.

Yes, the goal of 60/40 may have been to help the incumbents, but after Jason Chaffetz almost won in convention and Bennett and Gov. Walker lost, those that wanted to protect the incumbents realized they made a mistake with the 60/40 and many for years have wanted to switch it back. Two legislators were eliminated at convention this year. And yes, we still have some primaries, but not as many as we get with 2/3 or 70%.

In 2012 Utah, we have primaries: Hatch/Liljenquist, Dougall/Johnson, Swallow/Reyes, McCartney/Valdez, Okerlund/Painter, Vickers/Anderson, Perry/Galvez, Redd/Butterfield, Anderegg/Moore, Handy/Crowder, Macdonald/Bagley, Sagers/McCoy, Kennedy/Nitta, Muniz/Hendrickson, Stratton/Murray, Christofferson/Kane, Greene/Stevens, Layton/Daw, Nelson/Wright, Westwood/Carling, and Crockett/Winder, to name a few. Not every race had a primary nor should it. Most of those were GOP primaries.

Since 2000, 1/2 of all state wide and congressional contested GOP races  have gone to primary. 44 races, 30 were contested and 15 went to primary.

Yes a 2/3 threshold would have made a few more primaries, but the risk of an incumbent losing, or someone rich or famous losing would also go down.

Some that spoke for the 2/3 or 70% may believe what they have said, but I totally disagree and many in the SCC and also many of the delegates disagree as well. 

I have always said, The 60% threshold to avoid a primary works, allowing a shot of a challenger to eliminate an incumbent and yet requires a challenger to be a strong candidate. 

The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing.  
Finely tuned balance. It won today.

(originally posted 18 May 2013)

Fred C. Cox

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Town Hall Meetings and SLCOGOP Meet the Candidate meetings for 2018

Recent Past and Upcoming Town Hall Meetings:
Sat., April 7, 2018, 11:00 a.m.-Noon  Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 West 4100 South
Sat., March 24, 2018, 2:00-4:00 p.m.  Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 West 4100 South

Sat., March 17, 2018, 11:00a.m.-Noon Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 West 4100 South
Wed, February 28, 2018, 7:00-8:30 p.m.  Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 West 4100 South
Sat., February 17, 2018, 11:00 a.m.-Noon Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 West 4100 South
Sat., January 13, 2018, 2:00-3:00 p.m.  Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 West 4100 South

Salt Lake County GOP Meet the Candidate Meetings for 2018

3-27-18 Herriman Library, 5380 Main St, Herriman, UT 84096, 6-8 pm
4-2-18 Riverton Library,   12877 S 1830 W, Riverton Utah 84065, 7-9 pm
4-4-18 Sandy Library, 10100 Petunia Way, Sandy, UT 84092, 6-8 pm
4-7-18 Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 W 4100 S, West Valley City, UT 84120, 1-3 pm
4-9-18 Whitmore Library, 2197 Fort Union Blvd, Salt Lake City, UT 84121 7:15-8:45 pm
4-10-18 Millcreek Library, 2266 E Evergreen Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84109, 6-8 pm

County Convention
Friday, April 13th Meet and Greet 7 pm to 9:30 pm
Saturday, April 14, 2018, Meet and Greet 7 am
Call to Order, 10 am
Cottonwood High School
5715 South 1300 East, Murray 84121


Monday, March 12, 2018

Voting Ratings for 2018

Note: I was not in the legislature in 2018.  (I am running in 2018 and hope to be back in 2019)

 Below is what I posted last year. As the ratings/rankings come in for 2018 for my current representative, I will be posting them below. See the bottom of this post for additional links.

These will start with Rep. Winder for 2018 and me for 2016 and be updated for 2018 as the ratings/rankings come in.

Winder 2018 Votes for the General Session are at:
Unlike what I have always done, there are no public postings yet for all votes together, but you can look up each bill vote at

Cox 2016 Votes for the General Session are at: 
(2011, 2012, 2015 votes are also shown on this blog. Look in March of each year)

Winder 2018 Utah Grassroots, 31%, tied for 53 of 75, Average House 46%
Winder: 34% lifetime average, tied for 53 of 75, Average House 46%

Cox: 2016 Utah Grassroots, 57%, tied for 11th of 75, (Average House 36%)
Cox: 69% lifetime average, tied for 11th of 75, Average House 47%

Winder: Libertas 2016, 66% rating. 
Cox: Libertas 2016 Defenders of Liberty Award, 94% rating.   

Winder: (BYU/UtahDataPoints #55 most conservative ranking in House, Top 20 Liberal (2018)

Cox:       #31 most conservative ranking in House (2016)

Winder:  2018 Utah Taxpayers Association, 88.2% rating, tied for 19th place, 25th lifetime. 
2017 Utah Taxpayers Association, 83.3% rating, tied for 33rd place

Cox: 2016 Utah Taxpayers Association, 100% rating, tied for 1st place

Winder, Utah Republican Women’s Liberty Caucus, 2018, 43%, tied for 42 of 75 most conservatives or tied for 23 most liberal.  (no 2016 ratings).

Winder 2018 Floor Voting Attendance 7 missed of 734 votes. 1.0%
Cox 2016 Floor Voting Attendance 2 missed of 657 votes. 0.30%

Winder Number of "No" Votes on the Floor, 28 votes or 3.8% #61 in the House (2018)
Cox: Number of "No" Votes on the Floor, 61 votes or 9.3%  #19 in the House (2016)

Winder: Party Line Voting 75.4%, 60th in the House (2018)
Cox: Party Line Voting 70% 68th in the House (2016)

Utah Planned Parenthood
Winder, 2018, 75% or more (sponsor of one bill not totaled)
Cox, 2012, 0% (last rating given out)

 Winder: 2018 UEA, 92% rating, 
Cox: 2016 UEA, 50% rating,
2017 rankings/ratings not updated yet.

Winder: 2017 Heal Utah, 100%, A rating

Cox: 2016 Heal Utah, 92%, A- rating

Winder: 2017 AFP-Utah, 84.48%, B rating, #38 in the House[]=UTL000295&dist=30 
(no 2016 rating)

Winder: 2017 Salt Lake Chamber Business Champion. 
Cox: 2016 Salt Lake Chamber Business Champion, 89% rating (Also 2015, 2012 Business Champion.

Cox 2016 Ratings/Rankings:

For 2015 Session Ratings/Rankings and votes for previous years, see:

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Statement from Utah Republican Party Constitutional Defense Committee

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Don Guymon
for Constitutional Defense Committee - Utah Republican Party

Statement from Utah Republican Party Constitutional Defense Committee

Republican leaders clarify intent of special meeting and new bylaw language

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - Salt Lake City, UT. Don Guymon, spokesperson for the Utah Republican Party Constitutional Defense Committee (“CDC”), released the following statement to correct false information, reported in the news, regarding the purpose and outcome of the Saturday, February 24, 2018 meeting of its governing body, the State Central Committee (SCC):

The SCC meets regularly, and sometimes monthly, as needed, to address Party business, including organizing for caucuses and elections. The 2018 Caucus takes place on Tuesday, March 20. For this reason, in accordance with our rules, the SCC members called a special meeting on Saturday, February 24, to address Caucus preparation, budget issues, and bylaw modifications, including modification of an existing bylaw that has been under discussion since 2013.

State statute authorizes political parties to challenge the candidacy of any candidate who violates party rules.

Additionally, Justice Scalia in the U.S. Supreme Court decision on California Democratic Party vs. Jones stated:

In no area is the political association's right to exclude more important than in its candidate-selection process. That process often determines the party's positions on significant public policy issues, and it is the nominee who is the party's ambassador charged with winning the general electorate over to its views. The First Amendment reserves a special place, and accords a special protection, for that process...because the moment of choosing the party's nominee is the crucial juncture at which the appeal to common principles may be translated into concerted action, and hence to political power…

Since 2015, candidates have been required to certify they will not violate the party rules, but the bylaw lacked enforcement language. Under the new bylaw language, a candidate who willingly files to run, using a method contrary to Republican Party rules, temporarily forfeits membership in the Party, for the duration of the election cycle.

 These changes were made in consultation with legal counsel and in compliance with U.S. Supreme Court precedent and Utah Code Section 20A-8-401-(2a) . This Court precedent was confirmed in the Party’s recent successful constitutional challenge to election law changes, which the Utah Legislature passed in 2014 (Senate Bill 54). It is SB54 that is unconstitutional and is the subject of the current lawsuit.

If the Republican Party Executive Committee chooses to enforce this bylaw change, it does not affect any candidate already filed to run, and during the 2018 election cycle, it only applies to U.S. House Districts 1 and 2, so that no already filed candidate will be impacted.

 For more information, Contact Don Guymon

[Update: Some additional comments from me]

For a week, prior to the  February 24, 2018 SCC meeting, I told backers of the amendment for Bylaws 8, that I would not vote for it as it changed the rules in the middle of the election and could cause my opponent to forfeit his party membership this election. They came back with a narrower change, but I still said no. the next morning, Saturday, the had a new version that didn't directly affect any existing officeholder or candidate and I said I would look at it.

It is hard to fire an attorney you never hired. The questions raised were IF the SCC ever approved him in September. Other questions were if he was working for the party or the chair and if his opinions were for the party or the chair, and what his fee was. It is very possible if the vote was taken at the January meeting the results would have been the same.

There are 3 attorneys helping with the lawsuit. They are still there. The SCC finally was given a chance to consent or not for an Attorney the chair wanted as the party attorney and had been using since last fall without SCC approval. That approval was asked for on February 24 and voted down.

Both 20A-8-101 and 401 say the party did not violate state law by passing the bylaw changes re: membership.

Neither the Utah Supreme Court or the initial federal judge would take away our QPP status because of the party Constitution and Bylaws and the Democrats tried. That is still pending in Denver. Until the party acts, and not just threatens, there is no case.

I specifically stated that the first 2 versions of the bylaw proposal I told them I wouldn't vote for it and gave them nightmare reasons why I would not. When they sent me the last version prior to the meeting that didn't affect any existing office holders or candidates directly, I said I would look at it. I did ask questions at the meeting and was TOLD that the Lt. Gov didn't have the specified authority to remove us from QPP status. They were quoting attorneys not in the room, and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox memo from 2016. I am not an attorney. I have read and sponsored bills dealing with Title 20A in state code.

 The 14th amendment also uses the word State and not Political Party. How did the state allow a pilot program allowing some county clerks to have same day voter registration and not other counties?

I want to give the Utah Policy credit for this update: "Editor's note: A previous version of this article said Mitt Romney would be kicked out of the party because of the bylaw change. The Utah GOP State Central Committee wrote the change in such a way that nearly all of the 2018 candidates would not be affected. We regret the error."

No current 2018 candidates are affected, including Mitt Romney,

For 2018, Only congressional District 1 and 2 where no GOP candidates are currently gathering signatures including Rob Bishop or Chris Stewart.

It is not a new bylaw.

‎The state party has required, in the past, candidates to state if they agree with the party platform, etc. and if they didn't, what they didn't agree with. Some counties have had that as well. What passed Feb. 24th was that has extended to races not just multi-county, with some teeth to those that don't follow our C&B for elections, with that going into effect for the 2018 election for just the US House Congressional District 1 and 2 races, where no GOP member has filed using signatures at this point.

There is no purity club. Bernie Sanders could apply to run, register as a republican say that he agreed with none of the bylaws and run in 2018 for the 3rd congressional district and get elected if the voters wanted him and if he moved here before he was elected. If he ran in the 2nd this year, and followed the party rules to get elected, and was elected he could. All that was asked re: party platform was to publicly disclose what they agreed with and what they didn't with the party platform. That requirement has existed for years. 

There were 6 items on the agenda, and only one was bylaw changes. There was a vote to stop the meeting after the 1st item and that failed, there was a vote to stop after the top 4 items and that failed to pass. Same with after 5 items. The people that wanted to stay, stayed.

Carrie Dickson insisted on creating a proviso for the 2018 election at the bottom vs having the language in the middle of the bylaw.  Bob Bernick either doesn't understand that, has been given bad info, or is intentionally misleading. Also, there was no vote on Saturday for the caucus committee as Rob didn't have a list to present. Bob is reporting that was voted on Saturday, where it wasn't.

If you are concerned about the SCC, you do have to realize my State Representative was also elected last year to be a member of the committee, but resigned prior to the first meeting we had. His sister has been a good moderating, win-win, influence on the committee. He has not been involved, one way or the other, even though he could have been.

Some thoughts from others

Thursday, January 25, 2018

2018 SB 87 School Security Locks

[Update: The bill was amended to remove the ADA concern for the bill, but it still has a major life safety concern as stated below]

In 2011, during my first session as a new legislator, I heard the phrase, Dead kids make bad laws. I asked for more information and found that legislators, wanting to protect kids, have sometimes over reacted when a child dies in creating new laws. The goal was good, but they didn't take take to look at the different ramifications of the proposed law. In some cases it has taken years to undo the damage of the bad rushed bill.

Yesterday I became aware of a new such bill.

S.B. 87 School Security Locks

What does the bill do? 

This bill: amends the International Building Code and International Fire Code regarding: hardware height on a door for certain occupancies in lockdown or during a lockdown drill; and door operations provisions for locks and bolt locks, and latching and unlatching, for certain occupancies in lockdown or during a lockdown drill.

But there are dead kids, so the bill has to pass to make parents feel safer.

If the bill were to pass, is there a simple amendment that would save lives?

Lines 48 and 102. Change the words "two operations" to "one operation" on both lines.
What will that do?

It will allow children to get out of a classroom faster during an emergency and could save lives.

Won't that gut the bill?

No, there are already countless existing building code approved "barricade classroom function" locks on the market and many of the existing classroom looks can be field modified to allow the door to be locked from the inside of the room and not just the outside.

There is only one lock manufacturer that makes an aftermarket barricade classroom lock that can be opened from the outside with a special key that is the target of the bill. If the bill is amended, that lock won't be installed in schools, but other building code approved locks can be installed.

Won't that cost the school district more money? Not necessarily. The more expensive "Mortise" type locks, can be field modified saving money, providing the security and safety. The less expensive "Cylinder" type locks can be replaced with less expensive locks that allow the door to be locked from either the inside or the outside with a key, but allow the children on the inside to get out without a key or slowing them down.

Is there any other problems with the bill? Yes

for decades, the US Department of Justice has determined that the combination of the current International Building Code and the Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities ICC A117.1 is equivalent  to the building design requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAG) without dragging the architect into a civil rights law for liability.

As currently written, I believe SB 87 violates both ICC A117.1 and ADAAG and would NOT allow someone in a wheelchair to lock the door, but more importantly unlock the door to get out of the classroom.

Are you saying that in your opinion that SB 87 as currently drafted violates ADA and could open architects, district and the state to lawsuits re: ADA? Yes

So is the bill as originally drafted worse that than passing nothing? Yes

Is any related bill needed? Good question.

Any classroom I have ever seen has a lock on it that can be secured to protect the occupants, but the traditional "Classroom Function" lock requires a key to be used to lock the door from the outside (protects the teacher from being locked out and protects students from being dragged into a classroom and locked in and harmed. That isn't bad, but in the new age of shootings, it doesn't allow the door to be locked from the inside. The door always opens from the inside without a key in one operation.

The newer building code complaint "barricade classroom function" locks are the same as the old ones, but also allow someone on the inside to lock the door with a key. In a shooting situation, this is quicker and safer, but still allows someone on the inside (including in a wheelchair) to open the door with one operation and no key.

IF the Utah legislature wants to require certain new school classrooms to have the barricade classroom function locks, the ones that meet current code and allow only one operation to get out of the room and requires no key to get out of the room, they could substitute or amend the bill to require that.

Should the current bill pass? No

Can it be amended? Lines 48 and 102. Change the words "two operations" to "one operation" on both lines.

Is there a better option? Yes, debate whether or not it is good policy to require certain new classrooms to have the newer code complient locks that allow locking from both sides of the door.

What about the State Fire Marshall's office? If you go to the Governor's office, you limit what the state fire marshall's office can say and do, and they can not create policy. I personally met yesterday with the person in the office that gave the sponsor the language to change the building code. If Lines 48 and 102 were changed from "two operations" to "one operation" on both lines., he would not be personally opposed to the bill.

Disclaimer. I am an architect who has be using the building codes and has been designing to meet ADA and ICC A117 for decades.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why the 2017 Homeless bill should have been amended before passage

In 2016 I voted FOR 2 Homeless bills, designed to help the homeless and AGAINST the one taking away Midvale's right to have any say in the shelter they had being year round or not. This last year, 2017, I was not in the House of Representatives and did NOT vote for the bill taking way West Valley's or South Salt Lake's ability to have any control as to where Mayor McAdams wanted to put the new shelter.  The proposed locations were terrible. 

As a Rotary member, we have been helping a center with a great record of helping single parents get housing and employment.

After the bill passed in 2017, I provided specific location issues for sites proposed, and even the size of some of them. See:

I didn't say it shouldn't be in any one city, including ours. I personally spoke to Mayor McAdams more than once on this issue and attended all the public meetings. Each city had a place that would actually work, but they were not asked as I stated. Proposing on locating a homeless shelter next to a school for teen age girls that were expecting or recently became a single parent was more than silly, and that was just one of the several locations proposed. The Legislature voting to give the county mayor that power was dangerous. (Disclaimer, Sen. McAdams was the senator sponsor of several of my bills in 2011 and 2012 including my bi-partisan congressional district redistricting map proposal).

Did anyone realize that the  H.B. 441 Housing and Homeless Reform Initiative Amendments was going to be a bad bill and not just a funding bill? Yes. 

West Valley City officials told their representatives in the House and Senate that the Homeless Bill had this problem and not to vote for it as drafted.  All House Members voted for the bill initially, (one in Utah County eventually voted no) including the ones that heard George Chapman in the House Standing Committee tell them what the bill would do to city rights and that it needed to be amended. Our local State House Member voted for the bill.

One West Valley City State Senator, Sen. Thatcher, brought this issue up to the Senate during floor debate and had the bill passage put on pause, (circled) until the Governor's office promised that the cities would not be railroaded if the bill passed. It is surprising the House didn't have the same discussion.When that did happen, Sen. Thatcher was one of the first to cry foul.

Now that the proposal is to build the facility near the Jordan River Parkway, there is a new proposal to turn the Parkway over to the State as a State Park, with the main reason the Homeless near the river. It would have been better not to locate the facilities near the river in the first place.

It there any one thing that started the problem to where Homelessness in the areat got out of hand? 
I believe yes.

Many of the homeless that were downtown until the recent relocation were from out of state, and they were sent by other cities to Salt Lake City when past Mayor Becker announced: in 2014 to 2015:

"We are 90 percent of the way with the housing-first model toward eliminating homelessness for our chronically homeless in this city. It is an incredible national achievement that is recognized every day."—Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, at the Poverty Summit, Aug. 29, 2015

Utah has its own share of problems in this area, without trying to solve it for other places in the nation. We will do better to follow programs that work, such as the Family Support Center LifeStart Village and not removing state and county funding for it and providing for programs that have not been tested or have proven to fail.