Marc Roberts

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Marc Roberts is the Republican Party nominee and incumbent running for Utah Representative, District 67 in the November 2016 Election, Utah.

A solid small-government candidate.

In the 2017 race for the 3rd District congressional seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz, Marc Roberts endorsed Tanner Ainge in the Republican primary, stating, "I have known Tanner for many years ... He is someone with a strong work ethic and integrity. Among our three candidates in the Republican primary, Tanner is the best choice."[1]

Food Freedom Act

Introduced by Marc Roberts, the Food Freedom Act (H.B. 144) would have allowed for local producers to sell their goods directly to in-state end-users with many of the burdensome labeling and licensing requirements removed. (It's modeled after a law that has already been implemented in another state.) The bill was killed (taken out of circulation for consideration) around March 2016.[2]

The idea behind this bill is that modern food regulations were designed as large corporations began to grow and feed large population centers. Without oversight, the big opaque institutions started cutting corners to increase their profits. However, as a result of the current legal burden, I can't legally sell one of my eggs to my neighbor in any practical way. I can eat my eggs myself, and feed them to my family (and legislators pat themselves on the back for being so magnanimous as to allow me that), but I can't exchange them for some of my neighbor's peaches, even though we're not big opaque institutions and we can see each other's food production practices from our kitchen windows. Somehow, the government feels that it needs to protect me from my neighbor's peaches, or from the honey at the farmer's market being sold by the Johnsons. The result of all of this legislation is not only that we are protected from food poisoning (yet, it still happens regularly enough), but we end up being railroaded into buying food from those same big opaque institutions that the government was so magnanimously protecting us from. Your neighbor, as it turns out, can't afford to jump through the expensive and time-consuming government hoops. Small growers are forced out of business and are bought up by big opaque corporations. The big opaque corporations have found new corners to cut, and we are now stuck eating hormone meat, drinking repurposed chemistry set juice, and gobbling toxic-fish sushi.[3] Our freedom to control and understand what we eat has decreased. Our preparation in the event of emergency has decreased as our dependence on volatile supply chains and big corporations has increased. Our freedom to provide for our families and earn our bread by the sweat of our brows has decreased., and along with losing the ability to identify what that thing we're eating is made of, with any sense of certainty, we no longer know our neighbors.[4]

Opponents have claimed the the Food Freedom Act would cause a spike in food poisoning cases. However, in Wyoming, where a similar bill was passed, there has been no such spike.[5] Big food producers seem to have something to hide too since they have been working to get themselves exempted from the Freedom of Information Act[6] and have succeeded in getting a few Ag-gag laws passed[7], including Utah's H.B. 187 (AGRICULTURAL OPERATION INTERFERENCE).[8][9] With these facts in mind, we wonder what interests are keeping this common-sense measure from passing.

The Food Freedom Act is reported to be remaining a high priority for Marc Roberts, who said that if he could accomplish just one thing, he would like it to be this bill.[10]

He made another failed attempt to pass legislation related to food freedom in Feb 2017. (HB 277)[11]

In the 2018 legislative session, Marc Roberts introduced HB 181, which is a food freedom bill.[12]

Beekeeping Modifications

Introduced by Marc Roberts, Beekeeping Modifications (H.B. 115), in its original draft, appears to have lightly loosened up some of the regulations on beekeeping and promoted the dissemination of educational materials.[13]

Someone in the House Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture, and the Environment (specifically, Mike Schultz, representing District 12 out by the Great Salt Lake) proposed an amendment to H.B. 115 which would absolve state agencies working to control mosquito populations from any liability stemming from harm caused to people's bees due to distribution of relevant insecticides through the air, as well as allowing municipalities and counties to establish regulations preventing their residents from keeping bees on their property. (Possibly intended as a poison pill? Though, being out by the Great Salt Lake, perhaps his district has a special interest in being allowed to control mosquito populations more aggressively, and hence, to deprecate the rights of beekeepers. It is hard, however, to see how carpet bombing one's district with toxins, even if putatively to kill mosquitos, is a good idea.) Roberts seems to have reacted by introducing the substitute bill which followed his original bill, but also allowed that people with fewer than 5 hives were exempt from the licensing requirements. The committee then proposed an amendment which essentially gutted the bill, and then failed to pass it on a vote. It went back to the house rules committee, which filed it. (My ie. Took it out of circulation.)

In 2017, the Libertas Institute released a video featuring Marc Roberts designed to promote his goal of loosening up the registration requirements.[14]

Other

Marc Roberts introduced a constitutional amendment providing that end-user people have the right to grow food on their own land or purchase food directly from a farm without interference from the government. (He also has a bill repealing a minor regulation in the auto industry, another that regulates lobbying by state employees, and another relating to charter schools.)

In 2017 he introduced a bill designed to protect the rights of jurors from judicial abuses and obfuscation.[15] This bill made it to a vote but was voted down 45 to 29.[16] He also introduced a failed bill eroding SB 54.[17]

Was among a group of Utah County legislators who signed a letter calling for a Utah County Commissioner, Greg Graves, to step down. Greg had been accused of sexual harassment, and was widely seen as a workplace bully in the county offices.[18]

In 2018, he proposed bills to address some problems with forcible entries and warrant issuance and to create a pilot program for municipalities to use instant runoff voting for nonpartisan elections.[19][20]

External Resources

References

  1. Lisa Riley Roche, "Cruz coming to Utah to campaign for Herrod; Ainge announces state lawmaker support", Deseret News, 21 Jul 2017
  2. H.B. 144 - Utah State Legislature
  3. "Food fraud rampant throughout US restaurants and supermarkets, book reveals", Fox News, 13 Jul 2016
  4. Melodie Edwards, "A Full Harvest Season Since The Food Freedom Act Passed", Wyoming Public Media, 20 Nov 2015
  5. Baylen Linnekin,"Food Freedom Spreading Across States", Reason, 12 Dec 2015
  6. Ted Genoways, "Schmear Campaign", New Republic, 15 Jun 2016
  7. "Ag-gag" - Wikipedia
  8. H.B. 187 - Utah State Legislature
  9. Ben Winslow, "Utah’s ‘Ag-Gag’ law likely going to trial", Fox 13, 18 Oct 2015
  10. As reported by a delegate who spoke with Marc Roberts
  11. Marc Roberts, "H.B. 277 Direct to Consumer Food Sales Modifications", Utah State Legislature, 2017
  12. Marc Roberts, "H.B. 181 Home Consumption and Homemade Food Act", Utah State Legislature, 2018
  13. H.B. 115 - Utah State Legislature
  14. Libertas Institute, "25 Apr 2017 10:55am", Facebook, 25 Apr 2017
  15. "HB 332: Informing Jurors to Ensure Justice", Libertas Institute of Utah, 9 Feb 2017
  16. "HB0332 Substitute 1 - - Failed 29 - 45 - 1", Utah State Legislature, 3/3/2017 2:54 PM
  17. Marc Roberts, "H.B. 447 Political Party Amendments", Utah State Legislature 2017
  18. Annie Knox, "17 state lawmakers: 'All confidence lost' in Utah County leader", KSL, 13 Dec 2017
  19. Marc Roberts, "H.B. 35 Municipal Instant Runoff Voting Pilot Project", Utah State Legislature 2018
  20. Marc Roberts, "H.B. 83 Forcible Entry and Warrants Amendments", Utah State Legislature 2018