Jay Evensen: Why was Prop. 3 changed? Voters contradicted themselves

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  • bluecollar Kearns, UT
    Feb. 19, 2019 8:19 a.m.

    To suggest that voters didn't understand Prop. 3 is degrading. There were, and are, numerous publications that analyze it in detail.

    The citizen's initiative came about because our state legislators have refused since 2010 to take advantage of an opportunity to expand health care coverage to persons earning less than $16,753 per year.

    Expanding coverage to more low-income persons would allow 90% federal funding. That is up to $800 million per year. Utah's additional obligation is provided for in Prop. 3 by an increase in state consumption tax. Is it enough for 10% of expansion cost? We understand that's an unknown. It is certainly enough, with a state budget surplus, to begin implementation and impel our legislators to make funding adjustments as necessary.
    HB 210 makes those adjustments and is included as a "backstop" if SB 96 doesn't receive unlikely waivers from federal officials. Expansion has many advantages including lowering the overall cost of private insurance by reducing the number of uninsured.
    Kudos to the 3 House Republicans who had the courage to stand against their party and vote with their constituents.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 15, 2019 5:39 p.m.

    I voted for this bill because I thought the small sales tax hike would pay for it.

    If what I'm reading now is correct that was not true, it was a bait and switch.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2019 11:45 a.m.

    RE: "Utah voters vote Republican because LDS are one party for well known reasons"...
    I partly agree with that today, but not in the past. But I bet the reason is a little less obvious than you think.

    To get a clue on the main reason... Google and watch President Benson's famous speech on "The Proper Role of Government".... That will explain it for you.


    I checked this the other day, and our number of Ds and Rs who have represented us in Congress is about 50/50 R vs D. It's been more one-sided lately, but that's not because the LDS people changed. They don't change much over time. The Democratic-Party changed, not us. Back in the 60s/70s.

    We didn't change in the 60s/70s, but the DNC sure did. And they've been griping about us not voting for them ever since they took the bait and took that hard-left turn.

    Google "United States congressional delegations from Utah - wikipedia"...
    There was lots of blue before 1977. What changed? Us? I don't think so.

    Make sure you google, "The Proper Role of Government"...
    PDF is available, or watch the speech on YouTube.

    That will explain a lot about us and why we vote how we vote.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 13, 2019 11:18 a.m.

    FT 9:18
    RE: "Mormon church or land developers the only way the general public can influence our legislators is thru ballot initiatives"...
    Utah is pretty much the same as any other State when it comes to Referendums.

    Have you ever lived anywhere else? Like California?

    They have Referendums in California all the time. And they aren't dominated by any church or profession. So maybe it's not just Utah that needs Referendums..

    And even if they pass, doesn't always mean they become law.

    Remember the majority in CA voted to amend their Constitution to not allow gay marriage. But it never became law.

    Google "2008 California Proposition 8 - Wikipedia"...
    Prop 8, was a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008.

    It passed, but it never became law. You know the history.

    Many propositions have passed, and changed before they became law (inside and outside Utah).

    You just need a more broad perspective. Almost everything that happens in Utah happens other places as well.

    Think auto industry doesn't have any influence in Detroit? They do.

    Think Financial industry doesn't have influence in NYC? They do.

    Same here

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 13, 2019 9:18 a.m.

    The legislators would not have addressed any of these issues if the public had not shown their utter disgust and passed the initiatives. Outside of the Mormon church or land developers the only way the general public can influence our legislators is thru ballot initiatives.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    Feb. 13, 2019 8:27 a.m.

    To "Maverick10" why don't you run as an independent? If things are as you claim you should have an easy time getting elected.

    To "patrioticAMERICAN" can you justify why we should give healthcare to an able bodied person who could work but chooses not to? Would you give your child everything they wanted without expecting them to do some sort of work?

    To "tabuno" I don't think you read the article very well. There is a contradiction going on, and this is the result of that. First, we elected people that don't want to expand medicaid, then people vote for Prop 3 to expand medicaid. So, which voice of the people should be followed, the votes for Prop 3 or the votes to put people in the legislature that don't want to expand medicaid?

    Here it is in more simple terms. We vote for a tax increase at the same time we elect people who want to limit taxes. Which voice is the voice that should be listened to?

    To "marxist" it won't change. Look at 2008, that was a Depression like market crash, and nothing changed in Utah. More likely Utah will swing further right because we don't want Socialism.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Feb. 13, 2019 2:28 a.m.

    2bits I'm normally in agreement with you but Props 2, 3 and 4 were actually for Laws. If the legislature did nothing, Those props would have all inserted new lines into the state Code and been the Law of the land.

    Luckily we have a legislature that will look over such poorly written laws and will make the fixes needed to make them workable and not let uninformed voters, mislead by shiny brochures, appealing slogans and flashy TV ads bind the state into unconstitutional spending that puts this state in debt.

    Question 1 was just that, a question, had it passed the legislature would have been asked to consider legislation to implement it, but it was not binding. 2, 3 and 4 were proposes laws that when passed became the law of the State unless the Legislature acted to prempt them wilth laws that are actually legally and fiscally sound.

    Prop 2 and 3 were full of holes, the legislature had no choice but to act to change them. It could not leave them alone.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 11:48 p.m.

    Utah voters vote Republican because LDS are one party for well known reasons. This will change only if we have a Depression sized disaster. In the meantime Republicans have absolute rule.

  • Speakingforme Pikeville, KY
    Feb. 12, 2019 4:41 p.m.

    That's easy. They are going to vote for a Republican and the caucus system ensures that the Republican candidates toe the line.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 3:30 p.m.

    Don Bixby
    RE: "propositions are actual law"...
    No. It was not a law. It was a question. Questions are not laws.

    Google "Utah Proposition 3, Medicaid Expansion Initiative (2018)"...

    A "yes" vote supported this measure.

    A "no" vote opposed this measure.

    But the legislation wasn't written yet. They write it based on the results of the referendum.

    Referendums aren't laws themselves, they tell the legislature what we want. It's the legislature's job to go craft the actual law after they get the results of the Referendum.

    Laws have IDs. Like HB-xxx or SB-xxx. A referendum tells the legislature what we want. But voting yes did not pass a new law. It told them what the majority wants.

    The resulting legislation (HB 472) is a law.

    It passed and was signed by the Governor. That's how laws are passed.

    HB 472 expanded coverage to 100 percent of the federal poverty line. Not 138%. So they didn't totally follow the will of the people. But it was their response to the referendum taking into account tax revenue and budget realities.

    No new law went into affect the day we voted yes. That started the process of writing the law based on the referendum. HB 472.

  • cowshed Provo, Utah
    Feb. 12, 2019 2:43 p.m.

    One of the key challenges our nation faces is the sharp rise in costs for medical and dental treatment. Drug companies, hospitals and insurance companies appear to be unable to control their costs. Part of the problem is that we the people continue to demand the very latest treatments, which demand the latest, most expensive technologies.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 2:01 p.m.

    Yes, "Simple sound bytes, simple flyers, and dumbed down political speeches that contain little in the way of substance. Voters are rarely given sufficient information . . ." Like the information FOR proposition 3 that did not explain it was not appropriately funded, that did not explain how being open ended could cost the State hundreds of millions more, that if the Federal Gov. cut back or eliminated funds to the State the State would still be liable for that amount.

    "Simple sound bytes, simple flyers, and dumbed down political speeches" certainly did not state anything about the half million dollars that came in from a California Health Workers Union in support of Prop 3.

    At the very least people should have been told that in it's present form prop 3 would have to find an additional, ongoing revenue stream that would raise taxes or take from other funds.

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 1:56 p.m.

    I think that the people can vote anything they want to IF they will also vote concurrently to accept without complaint the tax increase that will accompany the funding of the bill. Also it would be nice if these "feel good" bills had a mandatory expiration date or re-authorization by also by plebiscite.

    Also since these are fiscal bills, maybe a super majority of say 60% should be needed to pass, because we are taxing everyone to pay for this change in state expenditures.

    Another idea would be to provide for charities to fund medical care or subsidize premiums for ineligible people. We used to have various charities who did, and still do, fund medical services for people. Supporters of these bills would be free to donate to their heart's content.

    Be careful of any government bearing or giving gifts.

    Ask not for whom the bill or toll is for, it is for thee, citizen.

  • DonO Draper, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 1:31 p.m.

    To take some liberty with your traffic analogy, Jay, voters are the tractor, legislators are the trailer, and the trailer is pulling the tractor. That's the kind of politics and policy you get when one party has a super-majority. I agree with @tabuno that voters really don't know who they are voting for; seems they will vote for anyone who has an "R" behind their name. 'Tis to weep.

  • Don Bixby Centerville, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 1:17 p.m.

    2 bits, in spite of your saying it something along the lines of a dozen times in your comment that propositions are an opinion for general direction rather than an actual law, propositions are actual law.

    Now, the legislature may interpret it the way you repeatedly said it, but that doesn't make it true. Why else would they have been so desperate to call the special session on medical marijuana just a few weeks before the regular session was to start? They couldn't wait to write an actual law based on our opinion? Nope. It was because we passed a law that was going to take effect before they came into session.

    Opinion question 1 about raising the gas tax was just that - asking for our opinion. It was very clearly labeled as different from the propositions.

    I will say that while I voted for medical marijuana, I felt like the changes the legislature made were not all that big of a deal. The implementation is a little different, but I think we got more or less what we wanted. What they've done here regarding healthcare coverage is different. This seems like a more significant deviation from the original law that was passed.

    They better stay away from redistricting.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 12:56 p.m.

    RE: "Why was Prop. 3 changed?"...
    Probably because we voted without any context of what was affordable in the State Budget.

    Referendums give general direction. They don't constitute law per se. We aren't a Legislature, making laws when we vote for a referendum. We are telling them a general direction we want them to go. There was no law affixed to the referendum we voted for, just a direction.

    Democrats keep pretending we passed a law when we voted yes or no on the referendum. Malarkey. What we told them is... we want you to write a law that goes this general direction. We didn't pass a law when we voted for it. We voiced our opinion. It's up to the legislature to take the feedback from the Referendum and write the law. We didn't pass a law when we passed the referendum.

    The legislature did go the general direction we gave them in the referendum. They also took into account the State Budget, and things we didn't know when we voted.

    I think it's OK to let the legislature legislate. And we give general direction in referendums.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 12:31 p.m.

    Direct Democracy government, IE Propositions is bad and dangerous. Laws need to be carefully thought out and implemented. Using the shotgun approach to governing results in bad government.

    I read Prop 3 and studied as I did the other props that got passed. After research, I didn't vote for any of them.

    Yes we should have a safety net for those of us who are in great need. But the safety net shouldn't be permanent unless there is an individual need such as disability.

    When I was a kid, my parents had Catastrophic Health insurance. We paid our own way to the doctor and for minor stuff. Maybe that is the type of insurance that would benefit most, especially the young. Insurance shouldn't be designed to pay for everything.

    That type of insurance would be much cheaper that all encompassing.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 12:04 p.m.

    One can debate special interests influencing legislators more or voters more; but it does seem that propositions do galvanize the legislature to take action on an issue instead of dodging it. Maybe that's a plus.

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 12:01 p.m.

    The problem here is exactly what I argued before the election...a ballot proposition does NOT outline implementation. Everyone around me, in November, interpreted the proposition as an implementation plan. Now people are screaming because it's turned out differently than they expected.

    We have not acted intelligently in past elections where propositions are concerned and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

  • Legal? Saint George, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 11:42 a.m.

    @Maverick10...Your heartfelt concerns also concern me (a conservative), as you ask for leaders of courage.

    I wish there was a way we could help those really in need IF they commit to a consistent level of personal responsibility when receiving that help.

    Medicaid tax dollars should not be going to those who engage in a myriad of bad health habits, are grossly overweight, drink and smoke, abuse drugs, make poor food choices, refuse to work when able, and/or are in the country illegally. It's not fair to taxpayers and it has nothing to do with religion or party affiliation. It's just commonsense fairness. I don't see the state asking people to change their destructive lifestyles in order to receive taxpayer assistance.

    As a young parent years ago, I stood in many grocery checkout lines with fresh or frozen vegetables, meager meat purchases and no desserts. Almost always, I was behind young mothers with many unkempt children buying foods with food stamps that I couldn't afford, yet I was buying (through taxes) their prepared foods.

    The "government" can only GIVE to someone what it TAKES from someone else.

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 11:03 a.m.

    There is a glaring flaw in reasoning here regarding voters electing their state legislators who then vote against the public's wishes. The real problem is how our voters are limited in their being informed as to who they are voting for as their representatives. Simple sound bytes, simple flyers, and dumbed down political speeches that contain little in the way of substance. Voters are rarely given sufficient information by the candidates and the information that is available to voters are oftentimes created and submitted to news outlets by the candidates themselves. The voters are seen more as numbers and statistics in an attempt to manipulate their votes based on emotions and minimal disclosure of policy positions.

    If there is any fault when it comes to voters, the primary blames falls back onto the electoral system and the little space or time that news outlets such as this newspaper devotes to state and local candidates that makes it too easy for candidates to get elected without committing to anything at all. No wonder the public can't trust many of their state legislators, they don't really know what their legislator stands for at all. This is the real contradiction.

  • patrioticAMERICAN South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 10:19 a.m.

    Funny--this is the same thing I said yesterday when I read several nat'l online news articles abt Utah legislators ignoring (again) what the public mandated in the recent election. Elections do have consequences--app. if you vote for Repubs, you can count on them ignoring what the public has mandated (0/2 so far) & also apparently being stingy (they like to call it "frugal") towards the poor & the needy, at least in using govt funds (regardless of what they do in their personal lives).

    They were quick to use this as an excuse to tack on a work requirement. People in Red states that have already implemented this have been dropped off the rolls in record #'s, (according to numerous reports I've read), as the paperwork required for such a requirement has proven to be complicated & onerous. Instead of adding thousands more vulnerable people to the list of those being saved, the good intentions of the maj. of Utahns will likely be turned against them, & we'll likely see the same thing happen here--I don't see why Utahns would have diff exp. than other beleaguered citizens have had.

    You know what they say abt the def. of insanity. I can't wait to see what they do w/redistricting!

  • Maverick10 Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 9:41 a.m.

    It matters not what the voters say or do. If the Central Committee of the Utah Republican Party does not like it; It will simply not happen. The power that this group of Republicans holds over this State is very, very sad. I would wish for the day when all parties would be abolished and all people running for any office could say what they really felt. So often we have no idea what someone running for office really believes or thinks. So often they just spew the party line. We need people who are independent of the a party; who have courage to say what they really believe not what some party says they should say. We will never come together as a county, state, city, etc. until we have leaders who have courage. We need people who are willing to bust the party lines; what ever party that is; it matters not. I fear that will never happen.