Deregulation of Utah Intrastate Motor Carrriers - House Bill 101
After completing the Utah Statehouse element of the two year Presidential Management Internship, I was invited to continue working on the degregulation of Utah instrastate motor carriers as a government affairs representative. Thirteen players were loosely assembled as a committee. I was the first person willling to tackle the issue. We easily gathered more supporters.
The legislation prepared when I was on legislative staff remained our focus. Luncheons involved industry leaders and state legislators to expose the positions and garner support. Public debates allowed me to address the regulation advocates. One debate pitted 16 regulated advocates vs. myself. The result found two Fortune 500 vice presidents from different companies and the transportation director of a large national trucking company aligning with our deregulatory stance and myself. They did not introduce themselves in advance, but showed up to observe the credibility of our cause and myself as its advocate.
Thirteen legislative committee hearings over 27 months significantly featured our deregulatory legislation. Of these, eight hearings dedicated nearly 100% of the meeting time to our presentations and opponent rebuttals. Three hearings focused 100% on a "one vs. one" debate between the head regulatory lobbyist and myself as to House Bill 101, taken one point at a time. After each point, the full legislative committee voted on which position they favored. We prevailed nearly every time.
I often traveled the state learning more about regulatory situations and met with legislators in their homes and "over the fence" discussions. Occasionally I traveled the United States gaining further support to include the White House and federal agencies.
Nothing with this bill proved easy. Not one person suggested success to alter the 50 year monopolistic environment. Each previous effort failed. In one case, a newly hired lobbyist of a Fortune 500 company that strongly supported our position tried to zap the legislation to favor long-time lobbyist friends. He threatened I stand aside or else. I called his threat face-to-face and called the company vice president who strongly supported us. The lobbyist called just ahead of me seeking a return call. The Vice President was in Hawaii. His secretary and I were connected and gave me the vice president's phone number. She did not so help other lobbbyist. The vice president and I spoke. The next morning the lobbyist received a 7 am call from the vice president's #2 man confirming the legislation was mine to control and any further interference to sink the bill would lead to his dismissal.
The bill passed the House. The Senate Transportation Committee Chairman commented when our bill came up, "Rick, is this holy writ, or do we have wiggle room here?" I responded it was holy writ and the billl passed the committee without further debate.
The Senate floor debate was bitter. We had 19 of 29 votes. Three Senators asked to vote "No" to please wealthy contributors. They would vote "Yes," if needed. The vote announced by the Senate President was 14 for, 14 against, and three absent, the bill fails. One problem, there were 29 Senators and 31 votes. Opposing Senators tried to filibuster. We broke that. Another vote followed and we won as expected, 16 in favor and 13 against. Further parliamentarian ploys were tried and we prevailed. The Attorney General later advised our bill to be Unconstitutional, to which I challenged. He read the report by a newly hired staff attorney who had been coached by a regulated attorney. The Attorney General rewrote the opinon as Consitutional and sent it to the Governor. With deep-pocketed regulatory friends, the Governor allowed the bill to be enacted without his signature.