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 - 31 January 2022

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Dear Friends:

This is GrassRoots’ 2nd legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature. At this time (2 weeks into the session), there are about 450 numbered bills for this session on the Utah Legislature website. Here are some bills and issues that we consider to be noteworthy.

The Administrative State and its annual renewal

In our American tradition, Separation of Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Powers, has been an essential principle in preserving the liberty of the people. Of the importance of Separation of Powers, James Madison wrote:

“The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. . . . [And, quoting Montesquieu, Madison continues:] When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body . . . there can be no liberty because apprehensions may arise lest the same monarch or senate [or, we might add, administrative board] should enact tyrannical laws to execute them in a tyrannical manner.” Again “Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. Were it [the power of judging] joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with all the violence of an oppressor.” (Federalist No. 47, 3rd and 8th paragraphs).

Here in Utah, we have also written the principle of Separation of Powers into our state constitution: “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” (Utah State Constitution, Article V, Section 1).

But we frequently fail to adhere strictly to this principle. We frequently see bills proposed and passed that prescribe “rule-making authority” for various executive department agencies. We believe this practice compromises the Separation of Powers that is so important to the preservation of our liberty. And the last 2 years have given us an extra taste of the economic and other effects of so much executive and bureaucratic rule-making. Tyrannical vaccination and other mandates should be a reminder to us of the need for our state and national legislatures to jealously guard their constitutional powers, and to take back powers that have been wrongfully delegated to both unelected bureaucrats and to elected leaders in the executive branch. This tyranny is a direct result of legislators’ carelessness and-or lack of understanding in maintaining Separation of Powers.

Here is one bill that, we believe, merits additional scrutiny and skepticism this year:

*SB128, “Reauthorization of Administrative Rules”, sponsored by Senator Bramble, states: “All rules of Utah state agencies are reauthorized.”

SB128 is currently circled on the Senate 2nd reading calendar.

To the extent that any administrative rule is legislative in its nature, this would seem to be contrary to Utah State Constitution, Article V, Section 1 (see above quotation).

To the extent that any administrative rule is executive in its nature, the need for the Legislature to authorize it seems nonexistent. After all, "The executive power of the state shall be vested in the Governor who shall see that the laws are faithfully executed" (Utah State Constitution, Article VII, Section 5). If anyone needs to authorize administrative rules that are executive in their nature, it is the Governor—not the Legislature.

The annual reauthorization of administrative rules is, admittedly, a decades-old tradition. Should the Legislature put its stamp of approval on The Administrative State once again? We think not.

GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SB128.

Proposals to cut corporate and individual income tax rates

We currently are aware of at least 3 bills proposing to reduce corporate and individual tax rates:

*SB59Sub2, “State Income Tax Rate Reduction”, sponsored by Senator McKay and Representative Snider, would reduce the corporate and individual income tax rates from the current 4.95% to 4.85%. It passed the Senate 22-5 on January 28th, and awaits action by the House.

*SB62, “Income Tax Rate Reduction”, sponsored by Senator McKay, would reduce the corporate and individual income tax rates from the current 4.95% to 4.6%. It awaits consideration by the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

*HB105, “Reductions to Income Tax”, sponsored by Representative Seegmiller, would reduce the corporate and individual income tax rates from the current 4.95% to 4.75%. It awaits action by the House Rules Committee.

Given the size of Utah State Government, and the tax burden on Utahns, GrassRoots views the simple tax reductions of SB62 and of HB105 as simple steps in the right direction, and would support either bill (though the larger rate reduction in SB62 is preferred).

GrassRoots tentatively also supports SB59Sub2 as a step in the right direction with its rate reduction (albeit a smaller one). However, there are some property tax and sales tax exemptions written into SB59Sub2 that probably merit closer scrutiny. (Under the philosophy of Equal Treatment Under The Law, we tend to prefer broad-based tax rate reduction over multiplication of tax exemptions.)

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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