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Home > Alerts & Updates > Update for 3/10/2015: Meet the Two Bullies Who Are Stealing Your Rights

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Meet the Two Bullies Who Are Stealing Your Rights

(Update for 3/10/15): In the final hours before the 2015 session ends at Midnight this Thursday (March 12), hundreds of bills most statutators have never read, let alone understand, will be passed in drone-like fashion.  Among these bills will be numerous attacks against your natural rights.

This will not happen by accident.  Two men, house speaker Greg Hughes and senate president Wayne Niederhauser, bully the entire statutarium (i.e. "legislature") and run roughshod over your elected officials.  They set the agenda and your statutators obediently follow it.

How can this happen?  Why do your statutators tolerate such an abusive arrangement?  And what can be done to stop it?

Jump down to any topic:

1. They Hold Enormous Power

2. They Abuse & Manipulate People

3. Their Agenda is Gun Control

4. They Intimidate Those Who Resist

5. Appropriate Action: Tell These Bullies to Grow Up

How could we possibly go wrong giving one man such power?
They Hold Enormous Power

As UT Gun Rights explained in its 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report and elsewhere, two playground bullies abuse and dominate Utah's house and senate and work together to destroy your rights: house speaker Greg Hughes 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. Hughes 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.  Hughes and Niederhauser each control a "rules committee" that can prevent a bill from going to a committee to be heard.

And if a bill survives a committee hearing, it is again "prioritized" by the same rules committee for any floor action.   As a result, bills live or die almost entirely upon the calculated orders of these two bullies.

Previous House Bully Becky Lockhart candidly admitted her power to the press:

"I empower [house] committee chairs..." [bold added]
Source: "Bill banning enforcement of federal gun laws 'stuck in limbo'," by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News, February 22, 2013.

Lockhart's successor, Greg Hughes, now empowers the chairs of each house committee because he appoints and fires them at his will alone, as does Niederhauser for every senate committee.  And these hand-picked chairs control each committee agenda.

Their powers are so extreme, no specific provision exists in the house or senate rules to fire these bullies before their two-year terms are over.  Akin to an elected despotism, these bullies lord over each body, trade political favors, and sell your rights; all while pretending that decisions are made by the will of the majority.

These two bullies also have enormous influence on how these sources donate vast sums of money in Utah political races.  Niederhauser is the first officer listed for the "Utah Republican Senate Campaign Committee".  Hughes is the first officer listed for the "Utah Republican House Campaign Committee" and has established the "Hughes Leadership PAC".  Both have significant influence with other PACs and also with the Utah Republican Party, of which they are voting members of its exclusive "Executive Committee".

Both bullies are enabled by a spider web-like network of corruption.  Corporations and elitists who desire to advance their agendas "pay to play" in Utah's capitol.  See some of them in in Niederhauser's 2014 year-end campaign disclosure report (and 2010 to 2013 year-end reports), and in Hughes' 2014 year-end campaign disclosure report (and 2010 to 2013 year-end reports).

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"Have we got a deal for the public!"
They Abuse & Manipulate People

As a demonstration of their power, House Bully Greg Hughes' hand-picked rules committee recently held a secretive meeting and actively prevented the press from attending.  Hughes' obedient rules committee chairman Mike Noel demonstrated the prevailing attitude of contempt for the rule of law and public access.

Utah Political Capitol, an alternative news source, reported the following:

"…Reporters were puzzled as to where the Rules Committee would be meeting to conduct the mandatory business prior to getting the procedural amendments approved. When the location was eventually determined, press representatives from several media outlets were not allowed access to the area where Rep. Mike Noel (Republican – Kanab) was conducting the meeting… a clear violation of 'open meeting' requirements in the state law.

"Lisa Roche of the Deseret News told Noel, 'Mr. Chairman, may I just make a protest here; we were kept out in the hallway and not allowed in here… I don't know why that was but it was really frustrating. We were kept out in the hallway by the communications director and not allowed in. When there's a meeting in the part of the [Capitol] that we don't have access to, we need someone to make sure that we can get here.' Her concerns were met with incredulous, non-verbal responses but no apologies or explanations until Rep Noel said, 'Well that's unfortunate, did you have some questions about the bill?' …he agreed to address her concerns but not until after he had adjourned the meeting." [bold added]
Source: "Utah House Rules Committee Receives Media Protest After Closed Meeting," Michael Orton, Utah Political Capitol, March 9, 2015.

Even Utah's corporate gun control media appear annoyed at their first-hand taste of the abuse gun owners have experienced for many years.  It is obvious how flagrantly these bullies defy statute and any semblance of fair play.

In 2013, Senate Bully Wayne Niederhauser's stooge, John Valentine* pushed through a fraudulent "procedural reform" to expand Niederhauser's domination of the entire statutory process, by de facto eliminating one of the only mechanisms for senate statutators to act independently.  See UT Gun Rights' 2013 threat assessment, "SR 1: Crushing Resistance in Monarch Niederhauser's Senate".
Valentine recently retired from the state senate, and was unanimously confirmed by Niederhauser's senate to head of the Utah Tax Commission.

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These bullies have an agenda.
Their Agenda is Gun Control

Niederhauser also participated in the infamous deception regarding HB 76 in 2013, wherein officials kept their anti-gun agenda from becoming full public knowledge.  After promising gun owner activists he would stand firm, Niederhauser voted against holding a veto override session for HB 76.  For more information, see the article, "HB 76: Political Theater for Suckers" in UT Gun Rights' 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report.

This session, a nearly identical bill, SB 256: Carry "Unloaded" Firearms Concealed, languished in Niederhauser's senate until yesterday, March 9.  The session ends Thursday, March 12, and it must still work its way through the house.

Compare the snail pace of SB 256 with the pace of gun control bills in UT Gun Rights' 2015 Bill Tracking Page: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, including:

* SB 214: Veterans Disarmament Courts

* SB 37: Gun Control by Bureaucrats

* HJR 7: Convention to Finish Destroying the U.S. Constitution

* SB 122: Deny Gun Owners Access to Surplus State Firearms & Ammunition

Niederhauser received an abysmal -200% rating on the 2013 Utah Government Corruption Report.  Hughes received a -33% rating.  Both bullies are no friends to Utah gun owners.

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They Intimidate Those Who Resist

Those who attempt to fight these two bullies are often intimidated into compliance.  Consider the following incident that took place on January 27, 2015, described by statist Paul Rolly of the Salt Lake Tribune:

"When the floor vote took place on HB74, 74 House members voted for the bill and one member registered a 'no' vote. Those votes are displayed on an electronic board at the front of the chamber.

"The one 'no' vote came from Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, a freshman who took Lockhart's place in District 64.

"Glances from around the room quickly darted in Thurston's direction. Some colleagues mentioned to him that a 'no' vote on that issue was ill-advised. Thurston, who already made news by proposing a bill to allow gun toters to carry firearms on TRAX and buses, didn't budge.

"A funny thing then happened.

"Hughes, who as speaker controls the board, did not close the vote. He instead kept it open and glared down at Thurston.

"Two minutes went by. Three minutes. Four minutes. Hughes did not look away.

"Finally, Thurston blinked.

"He changed his vote to 'yes,' and Romero's bill went to the Senate with, eventually, a unanimous nod from the House." [bold added]
Source: "Rolly: New Utah House speaker wins staredown as freshman blinks on rape bill," by Paul Rolly, Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 2015.

This statutator was publicly bullied to change his vote by the one man who could make or break his future political career.  Statutators like Thurston are bullied to believe that "resistance is futile."

This indoctrination was also evident in a recent procedural tiff between Democrats and Republicans surrounding Gary "BB Gun" Herbert's health care initiative.  Democrats wanted to bypass Hughes' unfriendly committees, bring the bill directly to the floor, and debate it openly.  During the emotional back-and-forth that ensued, statutator Jake Anderegg was quoted as follows:

"'We have a process up here that we follow, and that process vets and weeds out both good and bad legislation,' said Rep. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi. 'If this body really chooses to ignore our processes and bring this back, why did we hold it in committee to begin with?' He said it wastes time with a week left in the session." [bold added]
Source: "Dems force Healthy Utah vote in House, igniting fight with GOP", by Lee Davidson, Salt Lake Tribune, March 6, 2015.

Notice that Anderegg, a relative newcomer (elected in 2012), already refers to house procedures as "a process" and "our processes".  He does not refer to it as "the process" based upon rules that are fair and equitable.  Anderegg has been brainwashed to confuse Hughes' Soviet-style hand-picked committee sham with a just and legitimate law.

The drama evident in this procedural tiff also demonstrated that minority Democrats are only interested in confronting "the way things are done around here" when it goes against their core agenda.  Consider what Democrat house minority leader Brian King had to say after the debate was over:

"King said, 'I don't know if there will be retribution' to Democrats, 'but I would hope not.' He added he has had a good working relationship with GOP leaders. 'I hope it continues, but if it doesn't that’s the price you pay in politics on something as important as this.'"
Source: ibid.

He "hopes" there won't be "retribution"? He has a "good working relationship" with his supposed opposition who regularly quelch debate and dictate terms with an iron fist?

Why wasn't King and his Democrats ready to "pay the price" and fight against this fraudulent process a long time ago?  Are we to believe that Gary "BB Gun" Herbert's health care initiative was the first time something came along that was important enough to oppose the blatant bullying?

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"I could learn a thing or two from Utah's leaders!"
Appropriate Action: Tell these Bullies to Grow Up

If Greg Hughes and Wayne Niederhauser tried this sort of nonsense on a school playground, parents would be up in arms to have them expelled, would immediately alter the rules that empowered them to be bullies, and would adorn the grounds with "Hazing Will Not Be Tolerated" signs.  Why should it be any different in Utah's capitol?

Clearly, the political buck stops with House Bully Greg Hughes and Senate Bully Wayne Niederhauser for failing to advance positive gun owner bills, and for every gun control bill enacted. Until statutators and citizens are motivated to oppose their power, your rights will continue to be undermined.

Because your house and senate statutators merely serve their will and agenda, and are too cowardly to stand up to these bullies in any meaningful way, contacting them is often just a courtesy call.  UT Gun Rights asserts that if you want something to happen, you should focus your political communications on the two men who hold the real power.

For House Bully Greg Hughes' contact information (and the rest of the house statutators), click here.  For Senate Bully Wayne Niederhauser's contact information (and the rest of the senate statutators), click here.

Ultimately, for the bullying to end, people like you must take concerted political action.  For ideas on how to reclaim your rights, see UT Gun Rights article, What You Can Do.

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