Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TEA Party Power in Utah

Via Instapundit

This is the story in the paper - GOP delegates to governor: Veto guest-worker bill

This is the behind-the-scenes story as posted on Instapundit:

Oh the power of an Army of Davids with access to the internet! The Utah Legislature tried to sneak through an amnesty bill in the dark of night over the weekend. The bill, HB116, passed the house and the senate on Friday and was sent to the Governor’s desk yesterday. Today the Utah Tea Party arranged a meeting with Governor Herbert at 12:30 pm. We met with Governor Herbert and Lt. Governor Bell to urge Herbert to veto the bill. We brought up our strenuous objections to the bill as it is unconstitutional on its face. The bill grants amnesty and work permits to anyone illegally in the state before May 2011. Immigration is a federal issue and a state can’t grant amnesty or issue work visas. This would, of course, cause havoc with employers who had to face ICE. The most unbelievable line spoken in the meeting came from Lt. Governor Bell, (an attorney), when we raised the bill’s unconstitutional provisions, “Everyone concedes it [HB116] isn’t legal as it is.” You could have heard a pin drop…we were dumbfounded. Why on earth are our representatives even considering a bill that in their own words “isn’t legal?”

We continued flanking maneuvers even as we were in the first meeting. We sent a call out on Facebook and emails for any Republican state delegate to immediately come to the capitol to meet with the Governor at 4:00 pm. This was headed up by Brandon Beckham (who did a fantastic job). The media was called. Within 5 hours we had 100 Republican state delegates show up at the Capitol! A representative told me he had never seen 100 state delegates in one place at one time for any reason (besides committee meetings or convention). State delegates are extremely powerful in Utah. They each represent (very roughly) 500 people in their neighborhood. (We organized the state delegates last year to defeat Senator Bennett in convention.)

In the attached photo we asked everyone who is a state delegate to raise their hand before we went into the meeting (delegates were still arriving when we took this photo). We wanted the media to know we are all state delegates. The meeting with the Governor was standing room only. Unfortunately, the Governor’s staff asked the media to leave (why do they always want to conduct business in the shadows?) We apologized to the media and told them we weren’t the ones asking them to leave. One camera man replied, “We know. We KNOW who asked us to leave.” The meeting was tense and emotional, but polite. If Governor Herbert signs the bill, he will pay a heavy price at convention. We told him, “The moment the ink dries, the 2012 elections are on.”

The photo in the Salt Lake Tribune was taken as everyone was arriving, right before they asked the media to leave.

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