Grass Roots
Committed to Promoting the Principles of Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government,
Participatory Republic, Free Market Economy, Family and Separation of Powers

Legislative Updates - 24 January 2022

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Dear Friends:

This is GrassRoots’ first legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature. We hope to be sending weekly updates on legislative happenings during the session, and will be concentrating on bills that we find to be friendly to the principles of limited, constitutional government on one hand, or, on the other hand, friendly to big, intrusive government. As you may know, the principles of GrassRoots are summarized as Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government, Free Market Economy, Participatory Republic, Family, and Separation of Powers.

We would encourage and challenge you, if you see one or more bills that interest you, contact your representative and/or senator about it/them. We think they usually hear enough from paid lobbyists (some would say more than enough), but they may not hear enough from you.

At this time (one week into the session), there are about 370 numbered bills for this session on the Utah Legislature website, maybe about half of the bills that will be numbered by the end of the session which, under the Utah Constitution, will go for 45 days. Here are some bills and issues that we consider to be noteworthy.

Do we want a police state?

Especially considering the “emergencies”, lockdowns, and various mandates of the past 2 years, this is a serious question for freedom-loving people. There do seem to be some influential people and institutions in Utah that are not overly concerned with the idea of human liberty as an inalienable right. A recent Salt Lake Tribune editorial declared, “Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere” (The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, “Utah leaders have surrendered to COVID pandemic”, Salt Lake Tribune, January 15th, 2022).

While we urge respect for the beliefs of the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, we would also urge those who value human liberty not to follow the advice of said Editorial Board. Rather we should make this a time for remembering our country’s founding principles, standing for Rule of Law, respecting human agency, and, ultimately, dismantling the many elements of the Administrative State that have attacked (and are likely to attack again) our liberties.

Bills catching our attention

*HB16, “Emergency Response Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Dunnigan and Senator McKell, would provide that the Division of Emergency Management may enter into an agreement with “a sponsoring agency” (meaning “an entity that executes a memorandum of understanding with the United States Department of Homeland Security to organize a National Urban Search and Rescue Response System task force as described in 44 C.F.R. Part 208” (see lines 136-138)) to operate an emergency response team.

HB16 passed the House 73-0 on January 18th, and is currently scheduled as Item 6 on the agenda of the 2pm, January 24th meeting of the Senate Business and Labor Committee at 220 Senate Building.

Should we allow or encourage said Division to enter into agreements and understandings (or shall we call them “treaties”?) with Federal government departments? Such allowance strikes us as an example of granting legislative powers to an executive department entity. This appears to us to be expressly contrary to Utah State Constitution, Article V, Section 1, which states: “The powers of the government of the State of Utah shall be divided into three distinct departments, the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial; and no person charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments, shall exercise any functions appertaining to either of the others, except in the cases herein expressly directed or permitted.”

Also considering what has passed for emergencies and excuses for blatant attacks on individual liberties in the past 2 years, it does not require a vivid imagination to think that HB16 is a recipe for implementation of additional tyranny.

GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB16.

*SB65Sub2, “Asset Forfeiture Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Weiler, would:

  • amend the definition of "interest holder";
  • address the recovery of property by an interest holder from the seizing agency;
  • provide that property of an interest holder cannot be forfeited;
  • require an agency to conduct a search of public records to obtain the name and address of each interest holder of property that the agency seeks to forfeit; and
  • clarify that property is forfeited to the state not the agency.

SB65Sub2 passed the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee 4-0 on January 20th, and is on the Senate 2nd reading calendar awaiting consideration by the full Senate.

SB65Sub2 protects property rights of interest holders in forfeiture cases. Also, by clarifying that forfeited property goes to the state rather than to the law enforcement agency, SB65Sub2 reduces the danger of the forfeiture process distorting and corrupting law enforcement priorities. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on SB65Sub2.

If you have any questions about these bills, GrassRoots’ position on these bills, or related matters, please contact either of us or any other member of the Board of Utah GrassRoots.


Steve Stromness
Vice-Chairman, Bill Review Coordinator, Utah GrassRoots

Don Guymon
Chairman, Utah GrassRoots

PS Do you want to contact a legislator? Go to and click on “Legislators”.

Do you want to read and follow legislation yourself? Go to and click on “2020 General Session Page” then click on “2020 Bills”.

Do you have other questions about how to effectively participate in the political process? Please contact us, and we will try to help as appropriate.

Do you have friends that would appreciate this legislative update? Please feel free to forward it to them.

Would you like to help us with review of legislation in a small or large way? Consider taking a special look at bills sponsored by your own representative or senator. Please contact us with your findings and/or with any questions we might be able to help you with.

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