Utah State Issues
We oppose government subsidies, unfair tax breaks, and other unnatural advantage for competitive business enterprises. It is morally objectionable and corrupt to use tax dollars to provide an unfair competitive advantage to one business over another at the expense of taxpayers. Moreover, using redevelopment agencies and eminent domain to take homes and businesses to give to other private parties is an intolerable abuse of government power.
A voluntary society is predicated on the ability to direct one’s resources however one sees fit. Government meddling in local markets distorts the natural feedback between consumers and merchants. The result is limited business opportunity and reduced variety in goods and services available to consumers, and from that higher prices. Good ideas do not have to be mandatory; neither should property donations or payment to big business.
Many regulations in Utah create an artificial encumbrance on local businesses. We seek deregulation, such as reduction in licensing requirements, in defense of personal and economic freedom, as well as in pursuit of prosperity and opportunity.
This is an area that clearly demonstrates how the free market has stepped up and done a better job than government ever did. Whether you are looking for home or auto repairs, a medical provider, or just looking for a restaurant or hotel, sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Tripadvisor give all of us faster and more useful information than regulatory agencies have ever provided. Much, arguably most, regulatory activity is simply outdated and redundant.
Assuming no fraud or harmful act is committed against non-consenting parties, businesses and individuals should be permitted to transact in a manner which they find suitable. Deregulation enables the natural standards, such as reputation and trustworthiness, determined by consumers and provide for a more robust market place of products and ideas.
Members of the medical, bar and other associations burden the people with excessively high charges for their services for which they have obtained a government-granted monopoly. We believe nurse practitioners, certified paralegals and others should be allowed to provide their services directly to the public to the extent of their training and competence. In particular, we note that expanding the prescription writing capabilities of will not only reduce health care costs, but also increase the level of care available in the rural areas of the state.
Taxation should be considered at most a necessary evil, used only in circumstances where no other option is available to achieve a collective end. Never should this form of justifiable theft be used to influence, or discourage, the behaviors of individuals. Whether it be an overly-burdensome tax on consumers, producers, or retailers, on such products as alcohol, tobacco, or tanning beds, these taxes reduce the liberties of individuals and imply an inherent moral righteousness in majority rule and government power.
Individuals should have the freedom to direct their actions in accordance with their own values. Neither the State nor Federal government are exempt from the ethical principles of non-aggression. While some may condemn the actions of others, the use of collective force must only be reserved for defensive purposes.
We advocate for absolute government transparency at the state level in matters of taxation and spending, to eliminate waste and fraud. Fiscal responsibility safeguards against unprincipled and flagrant misuse of tax dollars, while encouraging creative non-coercive solutions to meet community needs.
Our party supports legislation which calls for a reduction in taxes and to limit state endeavors to those within the legitimate purview of a libertarian form of government. For services requiring tax payer financing, we promote voluntary taxes, user fees and consumption taxes, wherever possible.
Civil Asset Forfeiture
We oppose civil asset forfeiture and believe it is the responsibility of criminal courts, following due process, to decide if property is to be seized. Allowing seizure of property based on unconfirmed probable cause creates a dangerous temptation and a conflict of interest for law enforcement agencies. In the rare cases where preemptive seizure is warranted, a time limitation for legal action and conviction must be in place, or the property must be returned intact.
Property is an extension of one’s own person and the confiscation thereof is a subversion of due process. Mere suspicion of a crime should does not give authorities the right to seize property, as such an action is antithetical to the core values of Liberty, the State, and the Nation.
Electoral fusion allows for smaller parties to have a greater influence by nominating the same candidates as other parties whenever appropriate. Utah’s ban against multiple-party nomination of candidates forbids voters from exercising their political free agency and restricts candidates’ rights to seek a broader base of support.
The marketplace of ideas need not be constrained due to the threat of good ideas defeating bad ones. Removing the ban on electoral fusion would incentivize candidates of larger parties to preserve and value the principles of Liberty and strengthen the voice of those who espouse such principles.
Straight Ticket Voting
We call for an immediate end to the straight party ticket vote on Utah’s ballots. Because Utah elects its constitutional officers in the same year as the presidential election, straight ticket voting gives an advantage to the down-ballot candidates of the party of the winning presidential candidate. Also, the vast majority of Utah’s ballots are either cast by mail, or at a touch-screen voting machine. We believe that asking voters to touch a screen multiple times or make multiple marks on a ballot is not an unreasonable imposition. The straight-ticket option was a 19th century innovation intended to allow the illiterate to vote: it’s time to put it to rest.
Count My Vote/Candidate Qualification
The Libertarian Party of Utah calls for a repeal of the election legislation that was passed in response to the Count My Vote initiative (SB 54, 2014), changing the manner in which political parties are required to choose general election candidates. Political parties are private organizations, and should be allowed to choose their candidates in whatever way that they wish, whether that be the caucus/convention system, primaries, or pulling a name out of a hat. If a voter objects to the way a candidate is chosen, they always have the option to cast their vote for another candidate, and to align with another party. As a corollary, we also contend that if a party has a primary election, that party should pay the costs involved and not place the burden upon taxpayers who are not members of that party. Even the largest political party in Utah represents only about one third of Utahns qualified to vote; the rest of us should not be forced to subsidize their internal party decisions.
Petition & Recall
Utah’s requirements for petitioning government add an unreasonable burden on the petitioners. Our party will support legislation to simplify the process of initiating referenda and recalling corrupt, incompetent, or non-performing officials.
Business owners should have the free agency to transact and make use of their own property in ways most advantageous to their personal interests, so long as the natural rights of another are not violated. Immigration laws, such as E-Verify, and anti-discrimination laws applied to private businesses, disregard the freedom of the many to pursue prosperity and happiness in their own way.
Views on immigration and discrimination are matters of individual moral choice. Though many may find the practices of another reprehensible or detrimental to social or political ends, the respect for property and the freedom to associate must be defended if any semblance of self-ownership is to be maintained.
Searches & Seizures
Holding true to the fourth and fifth amendments of the United States Constitution, our party adamantly supports the concepts of privacy and property rights. Therefore, the constitutionality of government controls, such as the FREEDOM Act and bureaucratic militarization, must be challenged to protect the rights of Utahns against federal invasiveness.
Living in a society does not make you the property of that society and concerns over national security do not invalidate this precept. Fear and sentiments will always be used to break the barriers set forth in the Bill of Rights and changing circumstances do not justify the neglect of these rights, but rather justify their codified existence.
We believe all citizens have the individual right to keep and bear arms and oppose any attempt to prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising that right. An individual’s right of armed self-defense should not be restricted in public areas and accommodations (save courthouses and jails). We also believe in the right of churches and owners of private business and residences to ban firearms from their premises.
Use of a firearm to threaten, injure, or kill another person should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The use of a firearm in self-defense may also thwart such misfortunes. (While we believe Utah’s concealed carry permit law is contrary to the constitutions of the United States and Utah, we recommend abiding by all current laws.)
Sunset All Laws
We believe all laws, save those against harming another person or property, should contain an expiration date forcing a review by the then-current legislature. Should a law prove to be unnecessary or ineffective, it should be allowed to effortlessly die without deliberation or vigilant activism.
All laws must be viewed as an extreme measure taken by a community to enforce a standard achievable through no other means. Law enforcement is the tool of last resort, not the first option. It must be remembered that these extreme measures often create conflict and power struggles: for these reasons, we must always remain skeptical of power and build in controls against its protracted abuse.
Rife with frivolous lawsuits, Utah and American courts are clogged, causing legal fees to rise. We support tort reform, calling for the losing party to cover legal fees. This would prevent abuses of the tort system and reduce the burden placed on an unjustly accused party. Further provisions, such as a requirement of a petitioner to post bond for the defendant’s reasonably expected legal fees, may also curtail overly litigious pursuits and provide for a more fair and just system.
There should be no prosecution in instances where there is no victim. Laws must be reserved to thwart bodily, economic, or psychological harm committed against citizens. The application of laws is a justifiable use of force, not to be exercised without serious moral internalization. A society which fails to qualify laws on the basis of victimhood is a society without boundaries.
Alcoholic beverages should be controlled and distributed by private business – the DABC is redundant from a retail perspective, and has proven itself for more than half a century to be rife with corruption and/or ineptitude. Regulation over the consumption, production, and distribution of alcohol is not a government function, save enforcing laws regarding the sale to minors. Our party supports legislation to liberalize alcohol laws in Utah, as well as to remove government presence from matters reserved for personal discretion and private enterprise.
We oppose government interference in private business. We affirm the right of smokers and non-smokers alike to patronize those establishments which cater to their preferences.
Freedom means the right to choose or deny any practice, belief, or life-style. Just because we enjoy the services of the market does not mean we own the right to make choices for the businesses providing those markets. Non-smokers always have the right to discontinue their patronage of a store or restaurant, or start a business of their own.
Utah code requires all children to attend a government-run school, with limited exceptions to home-schooling. Government approval of schooling ignores the fundamental right of the parent to act as primary steward for their child. We affirm the right of parents to educate their children in whatever environment they prefer, including religious or proprietary schools, and their own homes.
Gay couples deserve the same property rights as straight couples. Relationships of love should not be determined by the state, nor should any state certified marriage be given more legal protection than another.
Libertarians do not believe it is the government’s job to define marriage. However, as long the government is in the marriage business, the law should not favor one group over another. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices, personal relationships and marry whomever they want regardless of sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity.
We believe that government should not stand between doctor and patient. We support the decriminalization of marijuana for medical use. While proposed Utah legislation will impose limitations on the number of dispensaries in the state, as well as the availability to patients, we feel a regulated introduction of alternative treatments to illnesses may help us to move toward a more rational paradigm in future policy decisions. Nonetheless, our support for incremental improvements should not be construed as an acknowledgement that government has any legitimate authority to regulate what a person peacefully and voluntarily consumes. Government has no more legitimate authority to tell you that you cannot consume cannabis than it has to tell you that you must eat rocks.
We recognize that the U.S. Supreme Court has decriminalized abortion (Roe vs. Wade). We believe that it is unjust to use public funds to pay for abortion. Many Libertarian members and candidates hold either strong pro-life or pro-choice positions and do so without being in conflict with the Libertarian Party Ideals, Platform, and Principles.