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August 5, 2022

Utah House Democratic Caucus Statement Condemning Abuse of Power in Any Form

Media Statement
August 5, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democratic Caucus has the following statement:

“As a caucus, we condemn abuse of power in any form, especially in cases of sexual or physical abuse. It is difficult for victims to report and when they do we should Start by Believing them. We take very seriously the allegations of sexual and workplace harassment of any kind, in any place, including our workplace in the Utah State Legislature. We believe in creating and building an environment where every individual feels safe and supported to speak up and speak out, confident in knowing that there is a fair and equitable process for evaluating that information. We support a full, independent, and immediate investigation into the matter.” 

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June 24, 2022

Utah House Democratic Caucus Statement on Shameful SCOTUS Ruling on Abortion Access

Media Statement
June 24, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democratic Caucus has the following statement: 

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision marks a devastating and disheartening assault on the dignity and autonomy of Americans everywhere.  The high court’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent by stepping beyond the case before them and undermining basic reproductive rights for women that the majority of Americans have long supported and agreed was settled law. 

This decision will have lasting and harmful repercussions for American society, and for all Utahns.  The so-called “trigger law” passed by the super-majority of the Legislature in 2020 will soon ban access to all abortions across the state, except in extreme cases.  The “trigger law” is flawed in many ways.  Notably, it harms victims of sexual assault as we know most rapes are not reported to police and fewer than one percent of reported sexual assaults are prosecuted. 

This policy is doomed to fail.  No court, and no legislature, can stop people from seeking abortions, or from seeking care for their own bodies.  By denying women their basic dignity and right to make deeply personal decisions about their health, the high court endangers its own legitimacy in the eyes of our citizens. 

Republicans have had ample opportunities to support pro-family policies to reduce unwanted pregnancies and give women alternatives to abortion, such as paid family leave policies, equal pay for equal work, expanded contraceptive access, support for accessing childcare, and comprehensive sex education guidance, but they have continually chosen not to pursue them.  

Fortunately, rates of abortion have been declining in recent years, but we know from past experience that we can now expect abortion services to move underground and into other neighboring states.  The thousands of Utah women who seek abortions every year will be forced to surreptitiously seek treatments and reproductive care.  This decision is incredibly cruel and shameful.  Is this really “The Utah Way?” 

The decision about whether and when to become a parent is among the most important life decisions we make. No court, no politician should ever stand in the way of this basic freedom. The vast majority of Americans, including the majority of Utahns, support a woman’s right to choose.  We should all be able to live a safe and healthy life and be free to define our own path.  Only when people can make decisions that are best for their lives, can families thrive, and we can build communities where each of us can participate with dignity and equality.

We call on all Utahns to press their elected leaders to stand up for women’s basic rights to bodily autonomy.” 

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May 3, 2022

Rep. Angela Romero Statement on Leaked SCOTUS Decision on Roe v. Wade 

 

Media Statement
May 3, 2022

 

SALT LAKE CITY – Representative Angela Romero (D-House District 26) has the following statement on the leaked U.S. Supreme Court decision that would strike down Roe v. Wade.  

“If the leaked U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade stands, all women will be put at risk.  Such an unprecedented assault on everyone who can get pregnant everywhere, to deny women their dignity, and deny a basic right to make deeply personal decisions about our health, is shocking and shameful. 

Sadly, if this decision stands, Utah is one state where abortion services will be forced to move underground.  Banning abortions won’t stop people from seeking them.  Thousands of women will jeopardize their lives,  and many will face devastating and lasting consequences for themselves and their families.  In Utah nearly half of the people who have abortions are already parents.

The decision about whether, when and how to become a parent is among the most important life decisions we make. No court, no politician should ever stand in the way of this basic freedom. The vast majority of Americans support a woman’s right to make personal and private decisions about her health care.  We should all be able to live a safe and healthy life and be free to define our own path.  Only when people have the freedom to make decisions that are best for their lives, can families thrive, and we can build communities where each of us can participate with dignity and equality.

It is time for our elected leaders to take actions to protect this basic right.” 

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April 20, 2022

Utah Democratic Caucuses Congratulate Rep. Angela Romero for serving as President-Elect of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators

Media Statement
April 20, 2022 

  

SALT LAKE CITY – Today members of both the Utah House and Senate Democratic Caucuses congratulated Representative Angela Romero (D-House District 26), on her new position as President-Elect of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL). Rep. Romero will be serving as President-Elect for a two-year term and will become NHCSL’s President in December of 2023.

“We are extremely proud of Representative Romero’s continued leadership for not only all Utahns but also the millions of Hispanic and Latino citizens across the country.  Rep. Romero continues to be a fierce champion for Utah’s largest ethnic population on the national stage.   We are thrilled that she is working on Utah’s behalf with Congress and the White House to influence and convey our concerns and priorities on a national level to the benefit of our entire state.  We continue to stand with her and support her efforts to make Utah a model state for public policies that expand opportunities for all communities of color to thrive.”  

About NHCSL:

NHCSL is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization representing over 400 elected Hispanic State legislators throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Since its founding in 1989, the NHCSL's primary mission has been to organize Hispanic state legislators who advocate on behalf of Hispanic communities across the United States.  State Representative Mark Wheatley (D-House District 35), State Rep. Ashlee Matthews (D-House District 38), and State Senator Luz Escamilla (D-Senate District 1) are also active NHCSL members representing Utah.

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March 25, 2022

Utah House Democrats’ Statement on Passage of HB3001

 

Media Statement
March 25, 2022

Utah House Democrats’ Statement on Passage of HB3001

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah House Democrats have the following statement following the passage of 2SHB3001 in the veto override session today. 

“By overriding Governor Cox’s veto of H.B. 11 and replacing it with 2nd Sub. H.B. 3001 today, the legislature spent nearly $50,000 for a special session to put Utah taxpayers on the hook for millions in lawsuits.  This bill is designed to score political points at the expense of kids who just want to play sports.  It causes nothing but undue harm to transgender girls and boys across our state, when what they really deserve is support, reassurance, and love.  

The Utah High School Activities Association already has a procedure in place to address these very rare cases.  As Gov. Cox said in his letter explaining his veto, out of 75,000 high school kids participating in high school sports in Utah, only 4 are transgender, and only one transgender student plays girls’ sports.  Everyone deserves to have the legislature fighting for fairness for them, whether it is 4 transgender girls participating in sports, or 400.  

This is a culture war battle designed to exploit people’s fears and misunderstandings about transgender people in this election year.   Is this really the Utah Way? Just let the kids play.”

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March 4, 2022

Utah House Democrats Statement on Passage of H.B 11

 

Media Statement
March 4, 2022 

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democratic Caucus has the following statement:

H.B. 11 4th Substitute is an awful bill brought about by an abhorrent process.  For the Senate to spring this bill on the legislature in the final hours of the legislative session is a terrible process neglecting responsibility of thoughtful deliberation with public input and constitutional considerations. The needless energy spent on this bill has caused many important bills to forgo a hearing and the opportunity to pass.  We applaud the Governor in his promise to veto.  Because of that and the late hour, the House Democratic caucus made a strategic decision not to speak against the bill more than needed.  We know where we stand, and our constituents are with us.   

This bill hurts our families, our friends, and our children.  This sends a message to all transgender and intersex kids that they don’t belong.  It creates an atmosphere of fear for young people who don’t fit a certain expectation of size, strength, or physical abilities to have their sex challenged.  It gives permission for a set of kids to be excluded and bullied into not participating.  And if one group of kids can be singled out and bullied, can any group feel safe?  Is this the Utah Way?  

The bill is clearly unconstitutional, and it would be immediately enjoined by the courts.  It also does not cover the significant legal costs that would ensue if it passes.  Contrary to the baseless claims of its proponents, this bill has nothing to do with protecting women’s sports and everything to do with fighting a culture war battle.  Utahns deserve better.”  

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February 17, 2022

Utah House Democrats’ Statement on H.B. 331

 

Media Statement
February 17, 2022

Utah House Democrats’ Statement on H.B. 331

 “Utah House Democrats are united in opposing H.B. 331, “Hope Scholarship Program.”  Public funds are for the public good and should stay in public schools.  Although the bill purports to give Utah students more education choices, this idea is significantly flawed.  It lacks accountability to ensure public dollars are well spent, and it lacks accountability that students will have equal access to opportunities for a good education, including special education.  The bill would deprive the Education Fund every year of $36 million in critical funds for our already deeply underfunded public education system.  The vast majority of Utahns want to invest more in our children through public education, not undermine our public schools.” 

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January 21, 2022

Utah House Democrats’ Statement on the Passage of SJR3

 

Media Statement
January 21, 2022

Utah House Democrats’ Statement on the Passage of SJR3

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democrats have the following statement after passage of SJR3. “Joint Resolution to Terminate Public Health Orders Pertaining to Face Coverings.”

“SJR3 is a slap in the face to our healthcare workers still struggling to save lives during this public health crisis.  It is disrespectful to Utahns who are trying to do their part to follow public health guidelines to weather this pandemic.  Despite the misleading rhetoric, the CDC still says high-quality masks ARE an effective tool against spreading this virus.  Other areas that have experienced omicron variant surges have thankfully seen cases and hospitalizations subside after a few weeks. Now is a time for leadership and unity, not aggressive, divisive fights, targeting local efforts to protect the community during this temporary crisis.  This move feels cynical and pessimistic at a time when Utahns are calling out for collective leadership.  

Public health and county officials took reasonable actions in accordance with policies set by this legislature last year to mitigate the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19. S.B. 195 was meant to let local authorities decide public health policies - NOT out of touch legislators who don’t live in these communities.  The bill passed with an understanding and respect for the authority of local health departments and elected officials and their ability to put in place public health orders to help keep their residents safe. 

The decision among Salt Lake and Summit County leaders and elected officials was based on the rising number of cases, increased hospitalizations – especially among young children, and record wait times for testing in the community.  For this legislature to now undermine that process, by overruling local and temporary mask requirements, conveys apathy that erodes public trust in state leadership. 

SJR3 sends a clear message that the legislature cares more about power than good process.   At this moment, the people of Utah demand that their elected officials lead – not create more hostility in the face of this challenge.”  

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