Conservative foundation rates 2017 Utah Legislature, individual legislators

Image from American Conservative Union Foundation report, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — The American Conservative Union Foundation recently released its ratings for the 2017 meeting of the Utah State Legislature. Both the Senate and the House saw an increase in overall score from the foundation’s rankings of the 2016 Legislature.

According to a press release from the foundation, these ratings are designed to reflect how elected officials view the role of government and are one portion of the comprehensive and nationwide ratings released by the ACUF.

In addition, the release states, the ratings are helpful in illustrating how both chambers of the legislature, as well as individual members, prioritize a wide variety of issue areas that directly affect Utahns.

The ACUF was founded in 1964. On the foundation’s website, they refer to themselves as “an umbrella organization harnessing the collective strength of conservative organizations fighting for Americans who are concerned with liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and strong national defense.”

The ACUF has reviewed each piece of legislation voted on in both the Senate and House of Representatives to produce average scores for each chamber, as well as individual scores for each sitting member.

Utah lawmakers took pen to paper on various issues during the 2017 legislative session including charter schools, motorcycle helmet regulations, welfare benefits, teacher pay flexibility and even loosened up regulations on backyard barbecues.

For St. George News’ coverage of the 2017 Utah Legislature, click here.

The 2017 Utah State Legislature saw both chambers working closely together, passing a good number of bills in both the House and the Senate. According to the ACUF release, the legislature most notably voted to pass the following bills that were also supported by the American Conservative Union:

  • Require that a clear explanation be provided to voters for any ballot initiative that raises taxes, including the proposed tax increase.
  • Allow the State Board of Education to award a salary bonus to teachers who agree to work in high poverty rate schools and are deemed effective.
  • Create a provisional permit to carry a concealed firearm for those eligible between the ages of 18 and 21.
  • Raise the age at which an individual is allowed to operate a motorcycle without a helmet from age 18 to 21.
  • Disallow the state to restrict the use of wood or charcoal for cooking.

According to the ACUF report, the bills they chose to examine “focus on Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of the ‘three-legged stool’: 1) fiscal and economic: taxes, budgets, regulation, spending, healthcare, and property; 2) social and cultural: 2nd amendment, religion, life, welfare, and education; and 3) government integrity: voting, individual liberty, privacy, and transparency.”

The two chambers not only worked together to pass a handful of beneficial legislation this year but boosted their overall conservative score, suggesting the legislative body has seen moderate improvement this year per the ACUF standards.

The Utah Senate’s average score increased by 7 percent points this year – from 62 percent in 2016 to 69 percent in 2017. The House’s score also increased by 7 percent – from 57 percent in 2016 to 64 percent this year.

Of Southern Utah Sens. David Hinkins, Don Ipson, Ralph Okerlund and Evan Vickers, all four saw increases in their ratings per the ACUF scorecard.

Southern Utah Reps. Walt Brooks, Brad Last, Merrill Nelson, Mike Noel, V. Lowry Snow, Jon Stanard and John Westwood also all saw increases in their ratings.

To view the complete 2017 Ratings of Utah from the American Conservative Union Foundation, including individual legislators’ votes and how they compared with the foundations’ stance on the issues click here.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • comments June 19, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    They’re conservative only when it’s convenient to them or plays into their favor. The supposed “conservative” politicians of this state tax and spend every bit as hard or more than the “liberal states” that I’ve lived in. Other than about every single politician in this state being LDS mormon I’m not sure what qualifies them as conservative at all. tax and spend republicans

  • Not_So_Much June 20, 2017 at 7:25 am

    But if you say you are conservative, then you must be.

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