12/6/14 State Central Committee Meeting Report

The Utah Republican Party State Central Committee met in Sandy on Saturday, 12/6.   There were 110 credentialed members in attendance (out of 180).  We enjoyed an informative and productive meeting.  Following are my notes summarizing the major agenda items addressed at the meeting:

  1.  2014 General Election Recap — Republicans enjoyed terrific success, both nationally and locally.   In Utah, our Republican ‘Vote By Mail’, ‘Get Out the Vote’, and individual candidate campaign efforts were very successful, and we picked up three House seats in Salt Lake County that were previously held by Democrats.  Chair James Evans noted that two of the new Republican representatives are self-described moderates, and 1 is a self-described conservative — indicating that delegates and voters are looking at the overall quality of candidates, not necessarily at single issues, as they choose representation.  63 out of 75 Utah House members are now Republicans.  Bruce Hough, our National Commiteeman, noted that we align ourselves together as Republicans because we share values, beliefs and vision.  We can all look forward to supporting and working with our elected officials as they represent us.

    Utah GOP Chair James Evans addresses the SCC.

    Utah GOP Chair James Evans addresses the SCC.

  2. Update on Caucus Preservation Efforts — Chair James Evans and legal counsel Marcus Mumford shared as much information as possible regarding the Party’s lawsuit over SB54. For a bit of background information, following is an excerpt from a 9/14 letter from Chair James Evans, outlining what the lawsuit is about:

    As you  may be aware, last year an initiative petition called Count My Vote was sponsored; if passed, it would have completely eliminated our current caucus/convention system.  CMV organizers indicated they would abandon their initiative if the legislature changed the law in the way they wanted.  This resulted in Senate Bill 54 becoming law.  The Utah Republican Party’s position has always been that we are a private organization and the state does not have the constitutional authority to reach in and mandate the specifics of how we select those nominees for various elected offices who represent our political platform on the general election ballot.  We believe this applies to all political parties who have properly filed with the state.  The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that “[a] political party has a First Amendment Right to limit its membership as it wishes, and to choose a candidate selection process that will in its view produce the nominee who best represents its political platform.”  With that in mind, the State Party is moving forward to obtain constitutional clarity and legal certainty by challenging SB54 in federal court.  In doing so, the Party hopes to obtain answers to 2 important questions: 1)  Can the government impose on political parties the specifics in how they select nominees for elected office who best represent their political platforms, substituting its judgment for that of the parties? 2)  What are the constitutional boundaries with respect to government and political parties? The Party is calling on all elected officials, political parties, and other stakeholders to support our efforts in securing the answers to these questions to that we can move forward with the legal certainty we need to plan for future elections.

    Here are a few informational items shared with the committee on Saturday:
    *  The lawsuit was filed on 12/1.
    *  The Republican Party hopes to affirm our constitutional rights as a private organization to determine our own candidate nominating process, rather than having our processes dictated by the state.  This suit is about more than the nominating system itself — it is about Utah political parties’ (not just the GOP’s) constitutional right of association that allows us to determine our own candidate nominating processes, whatever we decide that process should be (caucus, convention, primary, dual track, etc — the type of system is a debate to be had and decided within the Party by all who wish to be involved in the debate).  The type of nominating process is secondary to the main question of constitutionality.
    *  The Utah Republican Party was in no way involved in the “compromise” legislation that became SB54.
    There are unintended consequences of SB54 which will affect our candidates, which Chair James Evans recently outlined in a letter to Republican legislators.
    * Governor Herbert’s political director, Derek Miller, said, “The governor believes that there is a legitimate, legal and constitutional question on the lawsuit, and it is appropriate for it to move forward to once and for all resolve that.”
    * Time frame — legal actions can be quick or slow.  The Lt Governor’s office has stated they hope for a quick resolution, and I’m sure all interested parties agree.
    * The Party has received dozens of statements from members of the legislature expressing support for our efforts seeking constitutional clarification of SB 54.
    * It is anticipated that a stay will be requested to block the implementation of SB54 while the lawsuit is addressed.
    * The Salt Lake Tribune was present and reported more on this topic, and you can read that article here:  Gov. Herbert lauds GOP for suing him

    Representative from Utah Teenage Republicans reports to the SCC.

    Representative from Utah Teenage Republicans reports to the SCC.

  3. Constitution & Bylaws change proposals – As anticipated, the two submitted bylaw change proposals that addressed changes to election bylaws were postponed, because election law is currently in flux (due to the SB54 suit and due to changes that will likely be proposed during the upcoming legislative session); they will likely be addressed at a later date after these legal issues are settled.
  4. Resolution to Support the Right of Religious Freedom — This resolution reiterates that the Utah Republican Party supports, sustains and defends the constitutional right of freedom of religion (submitted by Arturo Morales, Utah County) — After a few wording changes (mainly, adding an additional reference to the Utah Constitution; addressing the resolution to “all public officials” rather than just Republican elected officials), this resolution passed unanimously.
  5. We heard Officer, Committee, Delegation and Auxiliary reports.

    Representative from Utah Young Republicans addresses the SCC.

    Representative from Utah Young Republicans addresses the SCC.

    Next Meeting – March 7, 2015

One Response to 12/6/14 State Central Committee Meeting Report

  1. Bonnie Pence says:

    Great report Keri. Thanks for all you do.

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