The 2019 legislative session is around the corner!

The 2019 legislative session is around the corner!

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– Hey everybody, Connor Boyack here and as we head into the
2019 legislative session, we want to take a moment
and briefly share with you five of the big issues that we’re gonna be working on this session. For the two or three of you
who aren’t familiar with what civil asset forfeiture
is, this is literally the ability of the
government to take ownership of your property without
convicting you of a crime. So legit, innocent people can
have their property taken. As most of you know, we’ve
been working on this years. We actually filed what’s
called an amicus brief, or friend of the court brief,
in the Utah Supreme Court earlier this year in a
case dealing with a guy who had hundreds of
thousands of dollars taken, never charged with a crime in
connection with that at all. And the state officers,
law enforcement tried to circumvent the protections
that were in place in the law, in order to hand the case over
to the federal government. Well why would they do that? Well in part, it’s
because under federal law, when you forfeit money, 80%
of the revenue goes back to the seizing law enforcement agencies so there’s a profit motive. There’s an incentive to
transfer these issues to court. So this person’s attorney fought back. We filed that case and that
brief in the case as well, and the Utah Supreme Court
ruled earlier this year unanimously in favor of the property owner or in other words, in
favor of the forfeiture law and against the state
for what it had done. So during this legislative
session, we’re gonna be working on legislation
with Senator Todd Weiler, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. And largely, what that bill
is gonna do is incorporate what the court said and add
some additional clarifications and protections, but we’re
gonna take the opportunity to also go in and add
some other tweaks as well. So you’ll be learning more
about that in the weeks to come. I know a lot of you are very
passionate about this issue. Last time it polled, 86%
of Utahans, I believe object to civil asset forfeiture. So this is an issue
that we work on closely, and you’re gonna be hearing more about it in the session to come. Another hot issue that
we’re gonna be working on deals with what’s called
the third party doctrine. And this deals with a case
from the Supreme Court as well except in this case, it
was the US Supreme Court, not the Utah Supreme
Court, where the justices a majority of them ruled
this year in the Carpenter case that you and I have the right to privacy in our cell phone location information. In other words, your phone is
tracking everywhere you go. But the federal government
was trying to make an argument that we don’t have the
right to privacy because a third party has that data. Your cell phone provider has it. This is a decades-old precedent
at the court saying that when you give your property, your information to a third party, that you have less of a
presumption of privacy and therefore, they don’t
need a warrant to get it. Well as you probably understand,
the problem with this is that everything that
we have in our phones really is going through a third party. Your Snapchat, your calendar events, your banking information, your notes, sensitive information, and
just because we’re storing it in a cloud doesn’t mean
that we don’t expect it to be private, right? So we’re gonna be working
on legislation to ensure that you and I have a
presumption of privacy in information that’s
held by a third party. Maybe you’re uploading
something to Dropbox, maybe it’s on your phone. That’s private, and if
the government wants to be able to get it, they need a warrant. That’s all that we’re
doing, is trying to say. That’s fairly reasonable. And a committee actually
favorably passed the bill unanimously, as I recall,
earlier this year. So we’re very excited by this bill. A related thing I’ll plug before I move on to item number three is we’re
gonna be working on a bill that says that law
enforcement cannot force you to give them access to your
phone using your fingerprint or using your facial scan. A lot of us have phones now
that we can unlock that way. And just like they can’t
demand your password, they shouldn’t be able
to hold your phone up in front of your face
and say, “Hey, look here” and thereby gain access to
your phone without having to decrypt it themselves, get
a warrant, and so forth so look for that one as well. This tax is probably gonna
be the most ridiculous one you’ve ever heard about
and a lot of people don’t know about it unless
you’ve owned a business. It’s been around since the pioneer days, since before Utah even became a state. This is what’s called the
Tangible Personal Property Tax. It applies to businesses
and literally what it means is that if you’re a business
owner and you buy a couch, a desk, a computer, a chair, a phone, not only are you paying sales
tax on it when you buy it, you literally have to
pay property taxes on it every single year. You have to count up and
keep track of all this junk that you’ve bought over the years, depreciate it on all these
different depreciation schedules, report in every year how much tax you owe year after year for stuff
you already bought long ago and paid for. It’s absurd and we’re gonna
try and get rid of it. We’re gonna repeal it. The problem is it’s in
the Utah Constitution. So we’re gonna be proposing
legislation for the legislature to consider that will just
try and get rid of this. The issue is that it’s
in Utah’s Constitution so it has to be a
constitutional amendment, it has to pass the
legislature by two-thirds in the House and the Senate, and then it will go to the public where you’ll have the opportunity,
hopefully, to vote for it on the November 2020 ballot. So this is important for
small business owners. Yeah, they’re paying a
lot of money for this tax. It’s actually about $220
million a year statewide for all businesses. But the biggest problem is the compliance. Think if you’re a business owner and the amount of time you have to spend actively going through and
tracking all your property and counting it up and keeping
track of what you bought and when you bought it so you know when to start depreciating it, the compliance burden is significant and that’s the biggest challenge
that business owners face is the wasted time and energy
having to deal with this tax. And so we’re gonna try and get
rid of it, bring tax relief especially to small
businesses who need it. And you’re gonna be hearing
a lot more about this as the session ramps up. So earlier this year I
did a little experiment. I had to get my deviated
septum fixed for my nose and I wanted to experience
what it would be like as an ignorant consumer going
through the healthcare system. So I never asked my doctor
what the cost would be. I was never told what it would be. I was led, beginning to end, without any discussion of price, any encouragement to shop around;
none of that ever came up. At no point did they even
mention any cost, any estimate, any financial impact at all. So then the bill came and yes, I’m insured but at the end of the day
I have a high deductible. I had to pay for the
entire thing out of pocket and it was a significant sum, more so than had I shopped
around and gone elsewhere. But this was important
to me, to understand what this process is like
when you’re doing these bigger operations and procedures. It was astounding, and very
eye-opening that at no point, there’s no incentives for your doctor to talk to you about money. Oftentimes the doctors don’t
even have a clue themselves what it will cost to provide
you the services that they do. And I think to myself,
how ridiculous is that? You don’t go buy a car
or get your car worked on or go buy a book or whatever
it is without understanding what its financial impact will be on you. When it comes to our
bodies, why do we not know this basic information and why are there no market incentives to lower
the price by allowing you to go shop around and pit
doctors against one another and say, “Who’s gonna do it for $3,000?” “If you match that price,
then I’ll go with you.” Why can’t we do that? So we’re gonna start dabbling with that. There’s actually a number of
legislators who are interested in healthcare price transparency. It’s a big issue. It’s got a lot of moving parts. This is gonna be a
difficult thing to tackle but we’re very interested. We’re gonna be working on
that in the session to come, alongside several
legislators to see what we, as a state, can do within this world of complex healthcare
problems more broadly. So we’ve got a few ideas
that we’re cooking up and hope to share some of those
with you in the weeks ahead. For several years, we’ve
been working on policies connected to disruptive innovation. In other words, new businesses
trying to compete with established players and facing
protectionist regulations and high-powered lobbyists
who are trying to bend the law in their favor
to shut out the competition. And this is connected to the companies that we all know and love, right? You’ve got Uber and Lyft
and AirBnB and Zenefits. You have companies in Utah like Neighbor where it’s like AirBnB but
for storage in your home and they’re facing the same stuff. This happens time and time again, right? And we’ve been in the thick
of a lot of these battles. And there’s a new one. There’s an app called Turo, T-U-R-O, and there’s competitors as well. These guys are in the business of basically it’s AirBnB for your car where you can share your car, rent it to another person and
they can use it for a day, a week or whatever and
this app facilitates it. It’s insured, and it’s kind
of a fun way to go rent a car directly from other people;
just basically borrow the car for the day and give them
some money in return. Of course, the existing
rental car companies don’t really like this model
and especially not the airport, which is heavily subsidized
by these rental car companies who pay a lot of money to
have favorable location and privilege within the airport. And so now that you have Turo drivers, and before them Uber and Lyft, coming to the airport and chipping away at some of that protectionist cabal, they’re not happy about it. And there’s actually a big
battle about it right now. People in Utah are being
prosecuted for sharing their car at the airport using Turo. We’re aware of at least three active cases of prosecution right
now, class B misdemeanors that we’re looking into. We’ve got some body cam footage
that we’re gonna be sharing. And this is a big problem. Imagine you’re a tourist coming into Utah and you walk out and your first
encounter is with a cop who is there to write up this
guy whose car you’re borrowing and you have to sit there for an hour. That’s not the welcome mat I
think we wanna be opening up as a state, especially one
that like to pride itself for business-friendly atmosphere and free market and so forth. So we’re gonna be working
on this issue, making sure that disruptive innovation
is allowed to flourish, that we can have healthy competition and that these protectionist
systems cannot over-regulate and prohibit the activities
of the free market. Obviously, this is just
five of the 40 or 50 issues that we’re gonna be promoting and pushing in the upcoming legislative session. I encourage you to
follow us on social media on Facebook, Twitter and
Instagram; Libertas Institute. Make sure you’re checking
out our website, where as the session gets closer, we’ll be doing detailed write-ups. We’re gonna have our legislative tracker that we do every year
so that you can focus in on the bills that matter
to you by category and you can track their progress. Very handy way for you to stay up to speed during the rapid-pace
45-day legislative session. So lots of hot issues. This is just a small sampling
but we’re gonna be doing our best to keep you
updated along the way. Feel free to reach out with questions and let’s get through this
legislative session together.

2 thoughts on “The 2019 legislative session is around the corner!

  • Pioneer Valley Post author

    Thank you for fighting the good fight.
    There should be NO CAF without first a conviction.
    Be warned, many in that white palace on the hill want to halt or curtail the activities of so called 'first amendment auditors'. While those folks might be a bit annoying, they literally embody the first amendment. They shed light on what the petty tyrants want to keep in the dark.

  • Pioneer Valley Post author

    One other thing you might take interest in in the scam the UHP is pulling in conjunction with the ADOT along our southern border. UHP is handing off enforcement to ADOT in order to bypass UT law, like civil asset forfeiture. And ADOT is handing out citations like they were candy IN UTAH, and then using those citations as a prelude to searches and civil asset forfeitures.

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