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Home > Alerts & Updates > 2014 Bill Tracking Page > HB 303 S1: Arrest and Jail Innocent Vehicle Drivers

House sponsor,
Lee Perry
Senate sponsor, Unknown
House Bill 303 S1: Arrest and Jail Innocent Vehicle Drivers

by statuator Lee Perry, house district 29, "Republican".

Summary: HB 303 S1 grants new police power to profile, molest, arrest, and prosecute innocent drivers if they are suspected of "being impaired to the slightest degree".  Because it would dramatically expand the power of police to forcibly invade the persons and vehicles of gun owners to perform unjustified seizures and arrests, UT Gun Rights considers it a gun rights bill.

Status: This substitute bill was unanimously approved by House Monarchess Rebecca Lockhart's hand-picked law [sic] enforcement and criminal justice committee, and then unanimously (6-0-5) returned to the Monarchess' hand-picked rules committee "with a recommendation for further study during interim", where it died.

Note: When the House Monarchess wishes to kill decent bills, it is typically accomplished in three ways: (1) It is never heard by a committee; (2) it is "tabled" by a committee; or (3) it receives an "unfavorable" recommendation from a committee.

None of these has happened. UT Gun Rights asserts that this bill should never have been heard in the first place.  Barring that, the only acceptable outcome would be to "table" it, thereby effectively putting it beyond reach of rules committee manipulation.  According to HR3-1-101(3)(b): "In carrying out its functions and responsibilities under this rule, the House Rules Committee may not:... report out any legislation that has been tabled by a standing committee...."

Since the action to "table" was not taken, it has not been filed and/or its enacting clause has not been struck, this bill remains a major threat.  Rules committee manipulation is standard operating procedure. The fact that this committee felt that the sponsor and his outrageous bill was worthy of interim study, in and of itself demonstrates the fundamental contempt exhibited by the Monarchess and her minions for the most essential principles of justice.

UT Gun Rights opposed this bill.  See its bill status page.  To contact your statutators, click here.

"REFRESH" this page ("F-5" on most browsers) to see latest version.  Last updated: 3/14/14 at 1:00a.

Click picture to enlarge.
The Devilish Details: Lacking the "Slightest Degree" of Justice

It should be first noted that the sponsor of the bill is a Utah highway patrol lieutenant.  His employment as a statute enforcement agent (SEA) presents an obvious conflict of interest.  HB 303 S1 increases "business opportunities" for the vast SEA forces of which Perry is a part — along with their allies in the court, lawyer, and prison lobbies.  Perry's role is typical of statutators — he represents the government against the interests and rights of citizens.

Perry has directly indicated that the purpose of his bill is for an SEA to stop a citizen for an unrelated matter such as a burned out tail light and then charge the citizen with being impaired, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL DRIVING IMPAIRMENT.  The previous statutory language requiring evidence of being unable to safely operate a vehicle has been REMOVED.  See "New twists offered to Utah’s DUI, seat belt laws," via the Salt Lake Tribune, January 30, 2014.

As discussed in other threat briefings (example: HB 276: Violence Against Open Carry Gun Owners), Utah SEAs currently enjoy broad statutory latitude to harass, intimidate, and arrest gun owners in public situations.

Under current statute, one standard for "driving under the influence" is as follows:

"(b) is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle...."

HB 303 S1 would alter this standard to the following:

"(b) is impaired to the SLIGHTEST DEGREE by alcohol, any drug, any substance, or any combination thereof...." [bold italics added]

Lines 30-46 of the bill outline this proposed statutory change (deleted language has strikethrough and new proposed language is underlined and italicized):

(1) A person may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state if the person:
(a) has sufficient alcohol in the person's body that a subsequent chemical test shows that the person has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or greater at the time of the test;
(b) is [under the influence of] impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, any drug, [or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle] any substance, or any combination thereof; or
(c) has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or greater at the time of operation or actual physical control.
(2) As used in Subsection (1)(b), "substance" means any substance, preparation, or a combination of substances and preparations, other than alcohol or a drug, that is taken into a person's body, including vapors or fumes, that may result in a condition of impairment or intoxication.
(3) Subsection (1)(b) does not prohibit a person from operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state with any measurable or detectable amount of alcohol in the person's body.

What does "impaired to the slightest degree" mean?  As far as UT Gun Rights can determine, there is no statutory or court definition of this phrase.  It is certainly not included in HB 303 S1, as it would be if Perry’s intent was not to provide virtually unrestricted power to SEAs.

And what substances "other than alcohol or a drug" are included?  Again, there is no statutory definition provided.  What this means is that entirely subjective and arbitrary grounds may now be used by the police to apply the horrible force of government against innocent people they don’t like. 

How could we possibly go wrong giving one person such awesome power?
This is ominous for gun owners.  Last year, the entire statute enforcement lobby joined forces to stop HB 76 that would have provided greater ability for a citizen to carry a firearm for self defense.  By this and other similar actions, the interests and rights of gun owners are known to be held in contempt by the SEA lobby.

Would this bill mean that if you encounter a traffic checkpoint after consuming diet Mountain Dew and are a "little jittery", that you can now be pulled out of your vehicle, handcuffed, and booked into jail, and have your vehicle impounded and firearms seized?  UT Gun Rights believes the answer to this question is yes and that this extreme power is in accordance with the wishes of the SEA lobby and Perry.

It is possible to imagine a similar outcome with consumption of 4 fluid ounces of Nyquil or an energy drink.  Even a person having red eyes or sneezing while suffering from hay fever or a similar allergy will not be safe when stopped by the police for any reason unrelated to unsafe driving.

Individuals suffering more serious medical conditions, such as diabetics, could be stopped, arrested, and thrown in jail for being impaired despite no evidence of unsafe driving. Given the propensity of SEAs to abuse and neglect citizens who have done no wrong, it is not hard to imagine innocent people with diabetes or similar conditions being ignored in an isolated jail cell, without any medical attention, and who thereby have their health and life placed in jeopardy.

It is also not hard to imagine them escaping accountability for their cruelty because SEAs enjoy special governmental immunity, particularly when "following proper procedure."  Learn more about the history of Utah's perverse government agent immunity statutes by studying SB 55 S1 enacted in 2004 and SB 225 S1 enacted in 2003.

Thanks to this sickening attack mounted by Perry, you may be stigmatized with a DUI even though your driving was not impaired, potentially lose your job, face dramatically higher insurance rates, spend up to 6 months in jail and pay a $1000 fine, and spend thousands of dollars in a futile effort to defend yourself in court.

The sacrifice of your rights by HB 303 S1 has nothing to do with prevention of unsafe driving.  If Perry was actually concerned about it, he would not have removed language now in statute that requires actual evidence of unsafe motor vehicle operation.

Under HB 303 S1, your life and financial resources could be devastated by malevolent SEAs who can create their own definition of "impaired to the slightest degree" as they please.  The only real limit is their imagination, and the near universal reverence of the court to abuses committed by government agents against citizens.

Rebecca Lockhart's Committees Propel Bill to House Floor

In another demonstration of her inordinate power and support of police state policies, House Monarchess Rebecca Lockhart employed her hand-picked committees to keep HB 303 alive.

HB 303 was assigned to her hand-picked law [sic] enforcement and criminal justice committee.  This committee approved this new substitute version, and then returned it to the rules committee (6 yeas, 0 nays, 5 absent).

Fascinatingly, supposed gun rights champion, Curt Oda, was one of those absent for this committee vote.  He could have made a motion to "table" the bill, thus putting it out of reach of further rules committee manipulation.  Oda was also less than impressive on UT Gun Rights' 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report, receiving a -75% rating to demonstrate his strong commitment to abuse of government power.

Note that, according to House Rule 3-1-104, Monarchess Lockhart can command her rules committee to indefinitely delay the bill from going to the second reading calendar (absent action by the house).  It would be unwise to count on that.

Appropriate Action: Contact The Two People Who Own the Statutarium ("legislature")

As the 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report amply demonstrates, two monarchs abuse and dominate the house and senate and work together to destroy your rights: house speaker Rebecca Lockhart and senate president Wayne Niederhauser. Contrary to what you learned in civics class, your house and senate statutators merely serve their gun control agenda.

How can two people possibly exercise such control? As one example, the house speaker and senate president alone appoint and remove EVERY member of EVERY committee. Lockhart and Niederhauser are empowered to do this without any review or confirmation process.
Sources: "The general duties of the Speaker are to:... appoint the members of committees…" (House Rules 1-3-102. Duties of the speaker) and "The general duties of the president are to:… appoint the members of committees…" (SR1-3-102. Duties of the president)

Consider the vast implications of this incredible power! No bill may be voted on in the house or senate without going through a committee. As a result, bills live or die almost entirely upon the calculated orders of these two monarchs.

Their powers are so extreme, no provision exists in the house or senate rules to fire the monarchs before their two-year terms are over. They lord over each body, trade favors, and sell your rights; all while pretending that decisions are made by the will of the majority instead of their monarchial authority.

The political buck stops with Lockhart and Niederhauser for failing to advance positive gun owner bills, and for every gun control bill enacted. Until more statutators are motivated to oppose the iron fists of the monarchs’ near absolute power, your rights will continue to be undermined.

Because your house and senate statutators merely serve their will and agenda, contacting them is often just a courtesy call.  Only two people hold the power over Utah's statutarium ("legislature"):

For House Monarchess Rebecca Lockhart's contact information (and the rest of the house statutators), click here.  For Senate Monarch Wayne Niederhauser's contact information (and the rest of the senate statutators), click here


Other views & opinions to compare and contrast: Utah Political Capitol


Click here to go back to The 2014 Bill Tracking Page: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.



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