Approved 08/17/2021

The purpose of this caucus is to advance progressive political policy throughout Utah by way of a strong grassroots network of progressive Democrats working to enact policies that promote social justice and equity for all people. We support candidates and elected officials who espouse the following values in their platforms and policies:

1. Healthcare

a. We believe that healthcare is a human right, and we support the establishment of a single-payer national healthcare system.

b. We also support the immediate expansion of Medicaid in Utah.

2. Air Quality and the Environment

We support bold efforts to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions and CFCs. We also support bold initiatives to protect drinking water; public lands; and threatened and endangered wildlife.

a. We support Utah’s Community Renewable Energy program that permits municipalities to request that energy from Rocky Mountain Power be 100% renewable.

b. We object to the establishment of an inland port in Salt Lake City and satellite ports throughout the state that would add to air pollution.

c. We support the expansion of public transit, especially lines that connect rural communities to the rest of the state. We also support renewable energy including, but not limited to, electric vehicles and high-speed electric rail.

d. We believe that clean drinking water is a human right.

e. All wildlife play critical roles in our ecosystem, and their decline is a signal to us of a larger environmental problem that impacts humans. As stewards of this world, we support the protection of federally threatened and endangered species including their habitats.

f. We acknowledge that 20th-century heavy industry and oil emissions are contributing to negative changes in the world’s ecosystem, which have begun to quickly accelerate in recent years. Climate change is a reality, and we support a bold and prioritized policy, in coordination with international partners and the best scientists and technologists, that would effectively curb harmful pollutants in an effort to maintain average regional temperatures, preserve coastal cities, reduce natural disasters, and protect farming, food production, and wildlife habitats.

g. Pandemics like Covid-19 have been predicted by experts for years. We encourage local, state and federal governments to develop or expand emergency preparedness programs to include rainy-day funds; backup medical supplies; and a network of services to assist the poor and elderly, as well as minority groups, who are more vulnerable to disease.

3. Housing

a. We believe that housing is a human right. Every man, woman, and child deserves safe housing, and we support the development of a standard Tenant’s Bill of Rights to protect renters from predatory practices.

b. One in eight Utahns spend more than 50 percent of their household income on housing costs, which is almost double the 28 percent recommended by financial experts. We support the repeal of the state-mandated rent control prohibition in Utah and the implementation of housing solutions through private/public partnerships to do the following:

1. Utilize vacant lots and other unused properties to develop affordable housing units where feasible.

2. Incentivize developers to include long-term, subsidized units in all multi-unit plans.

3. Increase social services to assist people experiencing homelessness through private and public grants.

4. Reproductive Justice

a. We support Roe vs. Wade and seek to bar legislation that would limit a person’s ability to receive reproductive care. We believe that body autonomy is the right of every person.

b. We support the availability of free contraception, comprehensive sex ed and other measures to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. We also support assistance programs that would enable women with unwanted pregnancies to choose adoption over abortion.

5. Jobs/Labor

a. We demand the end of right-to-work laws that require individual employees to pay out-of-pocket for their union representation. However, we affirm and support labor unions and the rights of workers to engage in collective bargaining.

b. As we become more reliant on green energy, we recognize that changes in the workforce may displace some workers. We support federal and state jobs programs that re-educate workers for participating in new, sustainable industries.

c. We support an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and wages that better reflect the cost of living. We also support an end to preemption by the Utah legislature so that municipalities have the choice to raise the minimum wage within their borders.

6. Education

a. We believe it is the right of every person to receive a quality education that prepares them to function in a global economy, fosters an understanding of their civic responsibilities, and instills the ability to share ideas and relate to an ever-changing world.

b. In today’s global economy, a K-12 education alone is insufficient to prepare our youth to compete in the global economy. We support access to an affordable, debt-free secondary education for all who seek it.

c. We support an increase in educator salaries. K-12 teachers should earn a living wage and should not have to work multiple jobs or use their personal income to educate our youth.

d. We believe that state income tax revenue should continue to be appropriated for funding education.

e. We recognize that early childhood education encourages a pattern for lifelong learning. We support the expansion and funding of early childhood education and full-day kindergarten for all who seek it.

7. Tax Policy

a. We support efforts to end the sales tax on food, which negatively impacts low-income residents.

b. We encourage the reform of tax incentives associated with affordable housing development projects to better support municipalities, as well as state and federal subsidization programs.

c. Current income tax laws benefit the wealthy and perpetuate inter-generational poverty. We support a progressive tax plan that unburdens the working class and requires the wealthy to contribute more to the general welfare. Why trickle-down economics is a farce

d. We support the elimination of the Social Security benefit deduction cap for the wealthy, which presently stops at $137,700 of income.

8. Rights of the Disabled

We support state and federal legislation that assists and provides tools for those with disabilities, that they may more equally fare in our competitive world. We also commend businesses that employ and pay fair wages to people with disabilities and encourage others to do so.

9. Racial Justice

a. We demand an end to police brutality and the targeting of racial minorities in Utah, where impoverished people of color are imprisoned five times more frequently than white people.

b. We support the requirement that all on-duty police officers be equipped with active body cameras, with the requirement that body-cam footage be released to the media within 10 days of an officer-involved shooting, unedited with sound.

c. We believe every police officer should be equipped with less-than-lethal tools and that their use should be encouraged over lethal means. We support mandatory annual training in de-escalation tactics and implicit bias training. In addition, officers fired by one agency for violent offenses should not be eligible for rehire by another law enforcement agency.

d. We support the utilization of other skilled professionals as emergency first responders, such as social workers and mental health providers to reduce the burden to police and EMTs, assist with de-escalation, and provide targeted assistance.

e. We support the release of racial data of the arrests made by police agencies, that the information may be studied to help end the profiling and wrongful arrest of people of color.

f. We recognize that government policies, enacted largely by the white majority throughout history, have led to intergenerational poverty among people of color. Therefore, we support a reparations program for descendants of slaves and displaced indigenous peoples.

10. Immigration

a. We believe in the humane treatment of all immigrants upon entering this country, whether legally or illegally, and we recognize an immigrant’s right to request refugee status, as international law requires.

b. We appreciate the value of migrant workers to the U.S. economy and support measures to protect their work status.

c. We recognize the status of DACA recipients as established by President Obama.

d. We acknowledge that the immigration process often faces barriers and delays rooted in discrimination based on race, and we support immigration reform that would recognize all humans as equal despite race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.

11. Criminal Justice

a. We support an end to the death penalty.

b. We support the elimination of for-profit prisons contracted through the government. We likewise reject the practice of profiting off of incarcerated people through the sale of phone cards and healthcare co-pays.

c. We demand an end to the cash bail system in Utah, which targets the poor. We also support an end to civil asset forfeiture, which functions on a guilty-until-proven-innocent premise.

d. We support education programs within the corrective system to better equip inmates for employment upon their release.

e. We demand humane conditions within the prison system. Downfalls of for-profit prisons

f. We support the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis/marijuana. We encourage the continued study into the functions of cannabinoids and their potential to replace more harmful drugs and pharmaceuticals including opioids. We also support the decriminalization of cannabis at the federal level.

g. We seek expungement of criminal records for those presently victimized by unfair sentencing practices in regards to nonviolent drug offenses, and we encourage the corrections system moving forward to offer mandatory drug rehab in lieu of a prison sentence for those incarcerated for nonviolent drug-related offenses. In addition, we support the abolition of mandatory minimum sentences at the federal level.

h. We oppose the free labor of prisoners, as used to offset the cost of correctional services. Instead, for labor performed, inmates should receive minimum wages, with which they may contribute to the welfare of their families.

i. We reject the legislature’s recent move to ban civilian police review boards in municipalities. We support the implementation of democratically elected, independent civilian review boards to ensure unbiased oversight of formal complaints including police brutality.

j. We believe the state should inform the public through a press release when an inmate dies in jail or prison. Utah has the highest in-custody death rate in the nation, and public knowledge of the problem is the first step toward accountability.

12. Campaign Finance

a. We support the repeal of Citizens United and the passing of a constitutional amendment preventing Super PACs.

b. We support the creation of an independent board to determine fair boundaries for voting districts, that Congress may respect the will of the people and eliminate gerrymandering.

c. We support HR 1 and other similar federal and state legislation that would outlaw voter suppression. We also support election cybersecurity reform and the expansion of vote-by-mail initiatives that would provide greater access to the ballot box. In addition, we value the essential role of the U.S. Postal Service in the voting process and support their continued funding.

d. To reduce government corruption, we support the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act that would require Presidents-Elect to release their tax returns and place their assets in a blind trust before the oath of office may be administered. We also support stricter job qualifications and conflict-of-interest requirements for cabinet members and judicial nominees, including the exclusion of high-powered lobbyists. We also support the elimination of lifetime appointments for judicial nominees.