Monday, March 24, 2008

United Women’s Forum Meeting – Minutes, March 19, 2008

Debra Poulsen welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the program.

Invocation was offered by
Karen Tucker
Pledge of Allegiance led by
Jennifer Bertin

Debra Poulsen introduced United Women’s Forum new board members:
Janet Seamons, Becky Nelson, Jennifer Bertin and Diane Prince.

Presentation on “A Principle of Freedom” – Electing Virtuous Leaders: Diane Prince
Diane gave us an inspiring message with many thoughts taken from the book, “Learning From the 5000 Year Leap”. She said that in our Pledge of Allegiance we say “one nation under God” and that we must do all that we can to honor and serve that God for our nation to flourish. In doing so, we mush elect virtuous leaders. To be a virtuous leader one must be guided by the source of true virtue – God. She also quoted Proverbs 29:2 as the Founding Fathers favorite scripture:

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Diane reiterated that when the righteous are in authority great things happen. The Founding Fathers wanted leaders to be elected who:

1. Were not after office for the love of power or money.
2. To have modest pay or no pay at all, so that money was not the motivator.

Leaders who serve with all of their might, raise people to a higher level. We need to serve God with all of our hearts, might, mind and strength. Diane shared a wonderful personal experience, when as a young mother; she was called by a friend for help fighting a bill before the state legislature that would keep religious music referring to God out of the public schools. She attended the session the day this bill had come up for a vote and listened carefully to the opinions expressed by those supporting both sides of this bill. At the end of the debate there was time for one more opinion and Diane’s name was called. Courageously she spoke up and said that in supporting this bill we are in fact, “afraid of offending an atheist, and in the process we are offending our God.” At the conclusion of her remarks those present stood and applauded, including our state legislature. At that moment she knew that we had elected virtuous leaders.

Thank you Diane for a wonderful and inspiring presentation.

Debra Poulsen recognized Dalane England and Laura Bunker for their countless hours spent with the State Legislature during the Legislative Session.

Report on Utah’s 2008 Legislative Session: Laura Bunker and Dalane England

Laura Bunker enjoyed attending the State Legislative Session and learned so much. She encourages all of us to take the opportunity to attend next year and let our voices be heard. She mentioned a number of bills that were before the legislature including three bills that would forward the gay and lesbian lifestyle:

* B89 – an anti discrimination act that was put on hold and not voted on
*HB318 – allowing unmarried, co-habiting, homo-sexual and lesbian couples to adopt children. This bill did not pass.
*SB73 – Wrongful Death Amendment: allowing co-habiting or same sex partners to sue for death benefits if the partner were killed. This bill did not pass as well.
*SB299 was sponsored by Senator Greg Bell, in the last 4 days of the legislature, with the intent of prohibiting the Salt Lake Domestic Partnership Registry. It included a compromise so that it would pass, allowing adults who live together to name an “adult designee” on their insurance. This included mother-daughter relationships, sister-sister relationships, etc, but also had to include unmarried cohabitants and same-sex partners. However, it did strictly “prohibit a city or county registry from giving legal status or effect to a domestic partnership, civil union, or other domestic cohabitation other than marriage.” It protected the effect of our marriage amendment on all levels of government in Utah. It passed the Senate 21-7, passed the House 61-9, and was signed by the Governor last Friday, March 14

Laura invited us to sign up at to receive e-mails that will keep us informed on issues that affect the family.

Dalane England reported that there were 1100 bills presented during the Legislative Session and 463 were passed. This is during a period of 45 days. Our presence at the legislative session makes a difference and she encouraged us to make our presence known and to be heard. She reiterated that the bills from the gay and lesbian community will be back. They are a very strong force and will not give up. She touched on a number of the bills presented, including:

• A car seat law that means all children under the age of 8 must be in a car seat. This bill passed.
• ID theft – 96% of crimes have to do with ID theft. Many involved in these crimes are going after children.
• Human trafficking
• Waiver of immunity
• Transparency in Government Bill – How money is being spent
• Sex offenders bill
• Child Welfare Amendment - If a child is taken out of the home they must first be allowed to go to family or friends before being sent to foster care.
• Henry’s Law – regarding animal rights. Crimes intentionally torturing pets would be considered as serious as the rape/murder of a child.
• Home Schooling – a bill stating that if a parent does not have a teaching certificate they would not be allowed to teach, patterned after the State of California.

Dalane encouraged us to attend our Caucus meetings to be held this Tuesday, the 25th of March in our neighborhoods. Thank you Laura and Dalane for all of your work at the State Legislature and for educating and inspiring us in the process.

Debra Poulsen spotlighted Richard Wells of “National Write Your Congressman”. Richard mentioned that he could feel the passion present in the hall and applauded the efforts and goals of the United Women’s Forum. He emphasized that we have the potential as a nation to lose our freedom through legislation because of the darkness that we as a people are in. One of the goals of “National Write Your Congressman” is to empower people in every state to be heard by their leaders, that the leaders may know the voice of their constituents. The mission statement of this organization is:

“To encourage Responsible Americans to use their influence in government to preserve the freedoms set forth by our Founding Fathers.”

He encouraged us to communicate with our congressman regularly and to compare his voting record with what he tells you he will vote for.

Leslie Swartwood gave an announcement regarding the first anniversary of The United Women’s Forum coming up in April. We will celebrate with a fundraising event in which Ike Fergusen will be our speaker and a light buffet luncheon will be offered. This will be held at the Bountiful Library on April 9th at 10:15 AM. A donation of $10-15 is encouraged. Please come and contribute to this great organization.

Marge Clayton introduced our special guest and speaker Congressman Rob Bishop. He has spent most of his life in the Utah North area. He graduated from Davis High School and from the University of Utah. He is a resident of both Brigham City and Washington D.C. while he serves us in Congress. Congressman Bishop served 16 years in the State Legislature representing Brigham City and the last two of those years as Speaker of the House. He is currently serving on the House Rules Committee in Congress as well as the Arm Services Committee, Natural Resources, Education and Labor Committees. Marge stated that our political leaders can lift us to a higher level and Congressman Bishop is truly a virtuous leader.

Congressman Bishop began his remarks by stating that a virtuous electorate is necessary to put into office a virtuous leader. He said that the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions. In order for us to understand the Constitution we must understand the history of the time period in which it was written. He stated that there is an abundance of ignorance regarding our history when it comes to understanding the constitution and he strongly encouraged us to read and study the history of the men and the issues facing our government at the time the Constitution was written. There is a book written by Akhil Amir that is very good about the words used in the constitution and their history. He was not sure of the title, but it refers to the words of the constitution and is yellow!

There are some years that the state of Utah sends more money back to the Federal Government than we receive in return. This is money for federal mandates in return for state needs that has nothing to do with what the state needs in the first place. Congressman Bishop feels that we as a state do not need to send as much money to Washington just to get things back. The states are the laborers of the democracy. They have the ability to be creative and cost-effective and empowered to solve the local needs of the people. The federal government tends to be enamored with rules and procedures and to forget the very purpose of why they are there. He feels strongly that the Federal leaders should want to lose power to the states.

A virtuous leader was never intended to do everything for everyone. It starts at the local and state level. His goal as our elected official representing us in Congress is to come back after his service in Washington with less power in National government and more power for the State levels. It is a systemic form of government that he strongly advocates and feels that he has a few back in Washington that are catching on and supporting this as well. He recommended reading the book, “Rebirth of Federalism” by David Walker.

Congressman Bishop addressed many issues in a question and answer session following his speech. Some of these were as follows:

*Candidates for President: You are in good company if you have a problem with all three. Vote for one that will do the least amount of harm.

*Doomsday forecast for our Nation: This would happen only if the people allowed it to happen. A virtuous electorate keeps this from happening.

*Utah is the best state in the union for appropriating money. Congress wants to model this. We need to cut spending!

*Regarding Primary Elections: Congress needs to go to a regional Primary concept.

*Global Poverty Act: He has voted against any funding for the United Nation. The United Nations doesn’t work.

Some of Congressman Bishop’s favorite issues he is working on are a land conveyance issue regarding 1600 acres to be traded between Bountiful and the forest service and the Clean Water Act. He gave an example using the Clean Water Act of how good people are hurt inadvertently by the federal government. He strongly reiterated that an educated electorate needs to get the systemic form of government brought about. He will feel successful at the end of his term in Congress if he has been able to bring this power back to the states.

We appreciate Congressman Bishop for his very motivational speech and are grateful for the virtuous leadership and work that he is doing for his electorates.

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