Three protestors at a March Utah State Senate committee meeting were removed by state police officers after violating committee rules.
A few members of the packed committee meeting room were wearing stickers urging passage of a bill before members. “Vote yes on HB60,” was worn by several activist audience members and they were asked by officers to remove the political messages, according to the KUTV2News report. Utah Senate rules prohibit political messaging in committee meetings and people who refuse to comply violate state law.
HB60 makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone based on their immunity status; prohibits government agencies from requiring proof of immunity status; and, forbids government agencies from requiring an individual to receive a vaccine. There appeared to be almost one hundred audience members gathered to hear committee debate on the measure, as viewed in a video of the meeting posted on Twitter.
“There was a lot of people in there,” said audience member Diane Anderson, according to the “Western Journal” report. “He took off his sticker; he didn’t take his shirt off, and they had the Highway Patrol come and take him out, saying he was disrupting the meeting.”
Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee Chair Daniel McKay Friday said that was not true. He said no protestors were ejected because of their beliefs. They were removed because they violated the longstanding rule against demonstrations about bills being debated. Sen. McKay added the Senate campus is large and there are almost 12 acres of the property where citizens can express their views. Signs, stickers, yelling and screaming are not allowed during committee meetings. “You just can’t hold a committee hearing under those conditions,” said McKay.
McKay said he was at the front of the meeting room talking with another legislator when a trooper approached him, saying there was a rules issue. The committee chair put the meeting into recess at the point, which he said actually helped the person arrested.
“Had I not put the meeting into recess, he would have been guilty of a greater crime,” explained McKay. He added that, ironically, he supported and voted for HB60 — the bill they were there to support.
The senator added his committee has requested that man arrested during the March 1 meeting not be criminally charged. McKay noted, though, that the decision to prosecute is not up to legislators, it is something a judge will decide.
He expressed surprise that he has been targeted by people who think he supported different political views or legislation than he actually has.
“I’m the farthest-right Republican/Libertarian legislator in the state for the last 12 years,” he said. He noted that the mainstream in Utah hate him and, also, the people who hate the mainstream media hate him. “That’s how I know I finally reached political parity.”
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