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Lezaic: S.B. 57 Paves the Road to Fascism

We cannot allow Utah’s apathetic and cruel lawmakers any more leeway to start taking away people’s constitutional rights.  
The+Utah+State+Capitol+Building+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah+on+Feb.+15%2C+2023.+%28Photo+by+Andrea+Oltra+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Andrea Oltra
The Utah State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City, Utah on Feb. 15, 2023. (Photo by Andrea Oltra | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

Utah’s legislators have decided to speed-run some of this year’s most harmful bills. Gov. Cox has happily accommodated them, eagerly signing off on dangerous legislation just a few weeks into this year’s session. By signing S.B. 57, Gov. Cox has once again thrown Utah’s most vulnerable communities under the bus to boost his chances at reelection with the red state’s voters.

The bill hides its dangerous implications behind the guise of state sovereignty. The federal government must step in to protect Utahns from their legislators.

Explaining the Bill 

S.B. 57, sponsored by Sen. Scott Sandall, allows Utah to order state officials and agencies to ignore federal laws. To do so, two-thirds of the state legislators must pass a resolution that finds a federal law or regulation unconstitutional. This is easy enough considering the scarlet-red composition of our legislature. It would only follow the federal law if the United States government takes Utah to court. But this sets a terrifying precedent.

In attempts to make S.B. 57 palatable, Sen. Sandall and the bill’s supporters have consistently brought up rejecting supposedly unfair environmental regulations as their reasoning for the bill. To use regulations like the Environmental Protection Agency’s “good neighbor rule” to soft launch a dangerous precedent is sinister and presents an unstable future for the civil rights we can barely cling to even now.

Floor sponsor, Rep. Ken Ivory, touted the bill as a means to restoring power balances between state and federal government. However, there’s nothing restorative about a bill that threatens the safety of Utahns.

Hypocrisy of the Bill  

Many groups have rightly called out the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which called the bill unconstitutional and in violation of the Supremacy Clause. The Supremacy Clause exists partly to guarantee everybody’s civil rights and individual liberties remain protected under the Constitution.

Several states that have previously attempted to cross that line have found themselves at an impasse. Although Utah legislators know this is the case, they continue to support the controversial bill.

“I don’t believe that Utah has the power to override the Supremacy Clause,” said Sen. Weiler to the Salt Lake Tribune. “But there’s nothing that I like better, and there’s nothing Utah likes better than sticking it to the federal government. If that’s the intent of the bill, I guess I’m all in favor of it.”

We cannot allow pure ego to dictate which protections we receive. Although the Supreme Court’s decisions to block former efforts may have been for more self-serving purposes, they have proven crucial in safeguarding some bare-minimum liberties. Sadly, some people don’t see it that way.

Why People Should Care 

“The liberty of people is in jeopardy,” said Rep. Ivory to Deseret News when explaining why he supported the bill. Funnily enough, neither he nor Sen. Sandall had any issue voting to take away the liberties of trans people.

S.B. 57 illustrates just how hypocritical the state of Utah is. Legislators claim to want as little government control in people’s lives as possible, yet continuously pass bills like this year’s notoriously invasive anti-trans laws.

Trans people have been an easy target for Utah’s lawmakers since they are still not protected by the Constitution. As a result, many cisgender Utahns have been okay with watching our trans community members suffer endless attacks. But make no mistake: with the passing of S.B. 57, the Utah State Legislature will just as happily come after the rights many have taken for granted.

The ACLU presented this argument to Gov. Cox in a veto letter, although it seems he chose to ignore these concerns. This remains unsurprising, given his support of Texas to ignore federal rulings to draw back on terrorizing refugees at the southern border. We cannot allow Utah’s apathetic and cruel lawmakers any more leeway to start taking away people’s constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court must block this abhorrent attempt at furthering Utah’s bigoted agenda. Unless the federal courts immediately shut down what’s sure to open a pandora’s box of aggressive legislation, we will find our rights at the mercy of our state’s ill-intentioned policymakers.

 

[email protected]

@angela_lezaic

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About the Contributors
Angela Lezaic, Opinion Writer
Angela Lezaic is a Serbian-American writer for the opinion desk at the Daily Utah Chronicle. She is a sociology major and greatly values community building and human connection. Much of her writing is influenced by her experiences as a daughter of a working-class refugee family, and she hopes her narrative resonates with those who share this experience. In her free time, she enjoys listening to angry girl bands and lovingly bullying her friends.
Andrea Oltra, Photographer
Andrea grew up in Spain and is studying psychology as well as documentary studies. She loves to travel and take photos wherever she goes.

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  • J

    John HedbergFeb 25, 2024 at 9:21 am

    More hyperbole, more hypocrisy, more Marxist-Equity fear-mongering, pointing the finger at innocent people for behavior they’re actually promoting themselves! Yay~

    “Legislators claim to want as little government control in people’s lives as possible, yet continuously pass bills like this year’s notoriously invasive anti-trans laws.”

    Lawmakers passed a bill which puts the safety and concerns of genetic (XX chromosome) women on an equal level with trans people. In modern times, people with male genitalia have never been allowed to share bathrooms or changing spaces with people with female genitalia as a matter of safety, based on centuries of observation about what happens when people are not 100% ethical in their behavior, and genetic women had to live with the consequences that some prudence could have helped avoid.

    “People are not always 100% ethical in their behavior, you say? That’s hate speech towards trans people!” Grow up! Every human being has the potential for better or worse behavior, usually with a lot of the worse (bruising and biting each other) while we work and mature towards the better: have you never seen kids on a playground? They’re a mess, and only a parent’s Love can make that necessary suffering (called “growth”) into something hopeful by forgiving the tantrums and errors that teach us compassion, better hearts, and better behavior as we become more self-aware of our own selfishness, or conceits, and our ability to ultimately treat each other the way we’d like to be treated by those we Love. True religion (by Whatever Name) teaches this Love, teaches that we’re all individual children of God, equally fallible and forgivable, equally lovable and beloved, with diverse gifts but equal great worth as we work our way out of childhood and become parents ourselves, as we continue to strive toward that same unfailing Love towards everybody.

    So, centuries of parenting have taught society that genetic women are more vulnerable to those who aren’t yet 100% ethical, especially if they share intimate spaces with people with male genitalia. It’s not a trans issue, but rather biology and safety, and the attempt of the Marxist-Equity hate police to suggest that putting genetic women’s safety and concerns on an equal level with those of trans people is somehow hateful to trans people, just for being treated equally, is itself hypocrisy and bigotry of the highest level.

    You say, “If you treat genetic women as if their safety and concerns matter the same as the safety and concerns of trans people, you’re advocating hate and genocide towards trans people!” Nah~! You’re having a tantrum while people are trying to find a compassionate compromise that doesn’t put genetic women in harm’s way while still allowing trans people full access and convenience. It was the Prophets of Equity who tried to shut down Chloe Cole when YAF tried to show a film in which she describes her lived experience of what happens when surgery and hormone blockers are not the right answer when someone doesn’t feel at home in their own body, which is actual compassion for people going through gender dysphoria. Equity ranters and ravers attempted to suppress her marginalized voice, which was actual transphobic hatred, even while we all enjoyed hyperbolic virtue signaling about how silencing marginalized voices was wrong – just not when the Equity Priesthood does it~! And you call innocent people trying to find a decent answer for everyone hypocrites! Again, “Yay”! 😂🤪😋

    Meanwhile, leading trans institutes in Finland, Sweden, and other European nations are now advising against Gender Affirming Therapy (surgery & hormone blockers) in favor of mental health therapy, and the American College of Pediatricians released a statement this month (““Mental Health in Adolescents with Incongruence of Gender Identity and Biological Sex”) advocating these new priorities. Look it up, before you swing that dead cat of a hypocrisy-label at those who are actually trying to practice equal compassion.

    As for “terrorizing refugees at the southern border”, you’ve clearly never spent any time in an impoverished community of migrants, nor have you ever had to pay your own way in life. I’ve worked nothing but entry-level jobs since I was a kid, and anyone who’s from an actual poor neighborhood would know that 7 million new migrants coming into neighborhoods where resources are already strained means that people who were already doing with little are now doing without! Competition for entry-level (unskilled) jobs means that wages go down and unemployment rises among the most vulnerable. Prices for rent rise as competition for housing increases with 7 million new people coming into the poorest communities. Prices for food and other commodities rise as more people try to buy the same available items at a time when supply chain issues are still unresolved. For families, classroom sizes skyrocket in already failing public school zip codes, and there are communities where migrants are now being housed in the schools (South side of Chicago, for instance), where migrant families are utilizing all the safety net resources: there are no beds for those already homeless, and yet the President continues to break his oath by not enforcing the immigration law a bipartisan Congress already passed. (That’s actual “Fascism”, by the way~😋)

    You don’t see any of this, because you’ve been privileged enough not to have to live, go to school, and find work in impoverished immigrant communities, so you can grandstand from where you sit, not having to live with any of the consequences of your empty hyperbole.

    You also don’t know the meaning of the word “asylum”. People by the hundred thousands are flying from Africa, Asia, and Europe to the Americas because they’ve been promised open “asylum” that was never promised or written in the law. Asylum is supposed to be relevant only in cases of severe persecution at home. Poverty is everywhere, so poverty is not grounds for asylum. Millions of migrants are therefore exposed to the worst human behavior imaginable from criminal cartels, including beatings, murder, raping people of all ages, human sex trafficking (slavery), extortion, forced labor after they arrive (more slavery), and then being housed in unfit spaces once they arrive, since they’re literally overwhelming poor communities at every step. This unlawful open asylum is the reason for the new bill, because this unlawful policy in contradiction to the Constitution is ruining the lives of the people who are being abused by the cartels, and it’s ruining the lives of impoverished communities all over the country who are now competing for resources and coming up short, as if their #Lives don’t matter.

    Furthermore, the Marxist-Equity fake climate crisis (Global Warming is real and goes in normal cycles of solar heating and cooling, but the crisis isn’t real) is being used to clamp down on farming and fossil fuel development. Modern farming fertilizers derive from natural gas, so less natural gas means food prices go up, and guess who suffers most? The people whose neighborhood you never lived in. Less fossil fuels also mean higher energy prices for harvesting food, transporting food, preserving food, and going out to work to buy food, so the most vulnerable people are being directly hurt by the fake crisis and the totally needless war on carbon. The Fake Climate Crisis agenda is killing the poorest most vulnerable families worldwide, every color and flavor!

    Anyway, other than being entirely complicit in all your hateful accusations towards people who are actually trying to mitigate the harms being pushed by the fraudulent Marxist-Equity priesthood, I applaud your compassion for vulnerable people. Too bad your solutions are causing the bulk of the problems you’re trying to redress, and they’re problems coming from the very Marxist-Equity “power structures” you say you’re trying to fight~! Food for thought?

    “We cannot allow pure ego to dictate which protections we receive.” Indeed~! “Physician, Heal Thy Self”. 🙂

    Thank you for your patience! Kindly,

    Reply