Our Top 8 List of Most Memorable Quotes From The 2013 Legislative Session

Why 8? Because 5 isn’t enough, and everybody else does 10. .

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#8: “If you build it, they will come.” Whispered into the mic on the House floor by Representative Jacob Anderegg (R, Lehi) in opposition to the bill which would have partially subsidized a convention hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. The comment was made to poke fun at the idea that a convention hotel would attract more visitors to the state. As a close runner-up, Representative Gage Froehrer (R, Huntsville) pointed out later in the debate that at the end of the movie “Field of Dreams,” which Anderegg was quoting, the people really did come.

#7: “We settled the issue of state constitutions vs the US Constitution about 150 years ago. You may remember, it was called the Civil War.” This one comes from Representative Brian King (D, SLC), arguing on the House floor against a proposal by Representative Briane Green which would have made it illegal for a federal law enforcement officer (FBI, DEA etc.) to enforce any federal gun laws in Utah.

#6: “This is like trying to pop zits with a chainsaw.” This one comes from Representative Dan McCay (R, Riverton). He was arguing against a bill that will change the fiscal year structure of municipalities. You’ve got to admit, it’s rare to hear such a clear and vivid metaphor.

#5: “Every eligible citizen has the right to vote. How can we, as a legislature, possibly do anything that would deny that right?” This comes from Senator Pat Jones (D, SLC) while she argued in favor of a bill that would have let people both register and vote on election day. The bill was supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties in Utah, and quite a few Senators from both sides of the aisle had similarly excellent quotes we could have used. But Senator Jones said it in the least amount of words.. and brevity is king.

#4: “I really like this bill, so I feel like I should speak against it so it’ll have a better chance of passing.” This one of many similar quotes coming from Senator Jim Dabakis (D, SLC), in his trademark quirky and self-deprecating humor, poking a little fun at the small number of Democrats in the Senate. Despite some loud concerns from many in the Republican Party before the session began, Dabakis has quickly become a highly respected Senator, and it’s not uncommon to hear stalwart Republicans like Senators Neiderhauser, Okerlund and Urquhart praising him in both private and public.

#3: “Dating is a time for discovery with each other to find out if you’re a match… You make a lot of mistakes in your first original encounter, a lot of times you rough house, and a lot of times you’re trying to determine your limits and where your limit is, and where her limit is. … I don’t like the idea of doing something that I think is in jest, and all of a sudden I have a court order against me and on my record.” This is from former Majority Leader, Senator Scott Jenkins (R, Plain City), while he was arguing against a bill that would allow people in dating relationships, who are being abused, to petition a judge for a protective order. Do we really need to add much?

#2: “People can afford healthcare without insurance, it really isn’t that hard. I once had a $10,000 medical bill while I didn’t have insurance, they put it on a 5-year plan and I paid it off without any problems.” Representative Jacob Anderegg (R, Lehi) makes our list a second time. The quote comes from a committee hearing after he had successfully substituted in a bill that would bar Governor Herbert from expanding Medicaid coverage to 131,000 low-income Utahns. The remark sparked a bit of outrage as low-income advocates pointed out that the Representative’s annually salary isn’t even close to the income of those qualifying for the expansion, and insurance bills are rarely as low as $10,000. You can see our editorial about it here.

#1: “During the Civil War, when the Federal Government was advocating slavery, it was the states who fought back against it for the freedom of African-Americans.” We’re paraphrasing this one, because the actual quote would take 3 paragraphs, but this comes from Representative Brian Greene (R, Pleasant Grove), in response to the quote we mentioned above from Representative King. In all fairness, things can spin out of control quickly during debates, when legislators are no longer reading from their prepared and practiced remarks. But still, it’s pretty odd for an attorney to spin that far out of reality.


Honorable mention goes to Senator Todd Weiler (R, Woods Cross). During the floor debate in the Senate over Rep Anderegg’s bill to flat out deny Medicaid Expansion, Weiler said during the debate, “It seems hypocritical to me that some of the same legislators who complained about HB477 (the anti-GRAMA legislation in 2010) being rammed through at the end of the session, are now trying to ram this one through.”

Honorable mention #2: What can we say? Rep Anderegg provides an abundance of comedic material. “I feel like I would like to see an amendment changing the name back to ‘Cock’ Mr. Speaker Pro-Tem.” It came out during the debate over SB52, Game Fowl Fighting Amendments.

9 Replies to “Our Top 8 List of Most Memorable Quotes From The 2013 Legislative Session

  1. “things can spin out of control quickly during debates, when legislators are no longer reading from their prepared and practiced remarks”

    Really? Other than possibly the initial talking points on a bill, who really has time to prepare and practice any remarks?

    1. That’s what I was referring to actually. The prepared talking points on the bill they’re presenting, and practiced- as in they’ve now repeated them 300 times in committee hearings, with the public, the media, stakeholders etc.

  2. Regarding quote #1 – My comments were about federal fugitive slave laws that many northern states refused to enforce and prevented federal officers from enforcing. It’s called history-look it up.
    I know that when trying to sell stories reporters often take literary license, but still it’s pretty odd for an organization claiming to report the news to stray so far into the realm of fantasy.

    1. If that’s the case Representative, we haven’t met a single other person who got that from what you said, sorry.

    2. By the way, for everyone watching, here’s Representative Greene’s actual quote (again, not the full thing because that would take 3 paragraphs, but you can go listen to it yourself on le.utah.gov), which he said while trying to illustrate his over all argument that it is the role of state legislatures to push back against the United States Government: “If we just rested every time the federal government made a decision we disagreed with, we’d still have slavery today. We’d still have a civil rights mess. Because after all, the Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott decision, that somebody of a different race could be property, could be constituted as the property of another. That was the law of the land. Should we not have challenged that?”

  3. Eric, now you’re referring to a different discussion altogether. How did you interpret the paraphrase you used from this statement? Where in this discussion do I imply that the Federal Government was advocating slavery during the Civil War and it was the states that fought against it? Accuracy and context matters.

    1. Oh good grief. No, sir. That is the quote taken from your summation on HB114 on the floor. I’m really not sure why you’re so upset, wouldn’t it just be easier to laugh it off and say, “Yeah, I misspoke?” Obviously you’re not an idiot, and don’t actually believe the United States Government was advocating for slavery, and we pointed that out pretty clearly in the piece. You’re a freshman, it was a major debate, and you accidentally misspoke. Take it as a funny moment, and move on.

      1. Excuse me, but I don’t find anything humorous about being accused of saying something that I didn’t come close to saying. Please explain to me how I misspoke? Exactly what, in the full statement you posted, is incorrect?

        1. Representative, you don’t have to be right all the time. We all know you weren’t trying to actually rewrite history, it just accidentally came out that way. Even if you don’t see it, go back on twitter and watch the reactions. Even a Tribune reporter laughed about it. No one (including us) wrote up any big stories about it, no one pushed it out to the national media that you were being insulting or whatever. It was just kind of funny. Have a good chuckle about it sir, and have a Happy St. Patty’s Day! Congrats on completing your first session.

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