I Like the New House Rules, Too

The people decide who represent them in the legislature. When the majority party in the legislature arbitrarily limits what legislation those in the minority party can introduce, this upsets the election balance established by the voters. A recent change in the rules permitting more fairness in the Utah House of Representatives is a welcome turn of events.

What shenanigans did the Utah Democrats pull on the Republicans when Democrats were in the majority? Were the Utah Democrats ever in the majority...?

We've recently seen what the Democrats in the US congress can do to limit the ability of the Republicans to do their jobs--the same thing the Republicans have been doing to the Democrats for the last 13 years. Similarly, current-gerrymanderers-in-power (regardless of party) have taken gerrymandering to a new art in an effort to perpetuate their power.

The kind of animosity and unfairness this engenders makes me glad, even though I'm a Republican, that Republican Representative Steve Urquhart made changes to House Rules to provide more fairness. When the people elect their representatives, they expect them to be able to introduce legislation; often in the past this has not been allowed by the majority party to happen. There are still hurdles for the Democrats; being in the minority, their legislation could still be voted down in committee by the majority Republicans, but at least under the new rules every representative on a committee "gets to pick a certain number of bills to be considered for debate."

Just because we think that something is not right doesn't give us the authority to squelch the voices of those who have been elected who have an opposite point of view. They should be able to fully represent their constituents as well. The bills being considered by the Utah legislature should be more reflective of the makeup of the legislature than they have been--due to Republican conniving--in the past.

Rep Urquhart said of the rules change:

I take some pride in how I've run other committees up here. I like to protect all members' rights — we are all elected, Republicans and Democrats, by constituents.

Democrats in the Utah House are pleased with the changes. So am I. I suspect this will lead to more collegiality, and to an overall better product, in the Utah legislature.


  1. Rep. Urquhart admits that his move has a somewhat less egalitarian motive as well: it reduces his workload. He is using free market principles in the legislative process. Not a bad idea.


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