Here are some of the bylaw changes Utah Republicans may consider at Saturday’s convention

Utah GOP Convention

The 4,000 or so state GOP delegates meeting Saturday in their convention will not only be electing a new chairman and other party leaders, they will be asked to consider 24 bylaw changes and four resolutions.

That is, they MAY be asked.

For it’s uncertain if any of the proposed bylaw changes – which generally break out along the lines of for or against the “Gang of 51” – and resolutions will be considered at all.

Notorious for delegate shouting and aggressive arguments, it is unclear if this convention will have time for such discussions and votes, or whether a delegate quorum will be lost later in the day or delegates just sick of the lengthy proceedings will adjourn without considering most of the intra-party decision-making.

But here are a few of the party internal changes that at least some of the delegates want to be considered.

Listed first are some of the proposals that could make it easier for the “Gang of 51” (a group of archconservative delegates who continue battling over SB54) to better control internal party workings:

  • The SCC (the 187-member main party governing body) will decide “party membership.” And the current guidelines on what constitutes party membership is repealed.

This could be a big deal down the road. For the SCC alone would decide whether this or that candidate or rank-and-file registered Republican could, in fact, be a party member.

If this bylaw change is adopted Saturday, the door would be open for the SCC to set up a so-called “truth commission,” which could decide who is a “real” Republican and who is kicked out of the party.

Also, any candidate who got on the primary ballot via SB54 signature gathering could be kicked out of the party.

  • Changing the State Central Committee’s approval-threshold of any bylaw from two-thirds to a majority vote.

This would make it easier for the “Gang of 51” to pass controversial bylaw changes.

  • Make the party chair do whatever the SCC orders him or her to do. Current chair Rob Anderson refused to send to the Utah Elections Office a bylaw change that would have violated SB54, a state law – which, in turn, could have resulted in some GOP candidates being kicked off of the 2018 ballot, and thus fueled another round of party lawsuits against the dual pathway law.
  • Paid party staff MUST do whatever the party. secretary and treasurer tell them to. Anderson told staffers they didn’t have to do what secretary Lisa Shepherd ordered them to do, which included Shepherd trying to get into Anderson’s party email account to see what he was up to.

Party interns signed a public letter saying Shepherd bullied and verbally abused them, and asked delegates not to re-elect her Saturday.

  • The SCC hires the general counsel. When, at one “special” SCC meeting, Anderson’s lawyer tried to tell some “Gang of 51” folks that they couldn’t pass a bylaw that conflicted with state law, the delegates “fired” the attorney, leaving the Utah Republican Party without legal counsel.
  • There could be no “teleconferencing” at SCC meetings. Only SCC members physically present could vote, which could mean “Gang of 51” advocates, who in recent years have attended meetings more often than other SCC members could have more voting power.

Proposed bylaw changes that perhaps could harm the “Gang of 51″’s power on the SCC:

  • A “special” meeting of the SCC can only be called by a majority of voting members (93). Currently, 40 SCC members can call a special SCC meeting, and the “Gang of 51” got its name because back in December 2017 51 archconservative members called such a meeting – which started that group’s attempted takeover of intraparty operations.
  • Once the agenda for a SCC meeting is adopted at the start of the meeting, the agenda can’t be changed later in the meeting.

“Gang of 51” members would stall SCC meetings, dragging them out, with other members later leaving, and then the “Gang of 51” would try to change the agenda to take up stuff not originally on the meeting’s agenda.

  • SCC members’ votes would be publicly recorded. Thus, obstructionists’ votes would be available to county party delegates, and the “Gang of 51” antics could be used against them at re-election time.

Some bylaw changes that don’t necessarily fall along pro- or anti-“Gang of 51” operations:

  • SCC members would be expected to help in party fundraising and would be required to report back to their county party officers how they have voted in SCC meetings and otherwise helped the party.
  • Any amendment to the state party’s constitution – voted on in annual conventions – must be cosponsored by at least 240 delegates, thus an amendment sponsored by just one or two delegates couldn’t be considered.
  • State party officers couldn’t hold any partisan elected office. In the past, at least two party chairmen were also members of the Utah Legislature.