• Supporters of HB155 & Highway Safety after presentation

    2017 Week Three Wrap-Up

    Constituent News

    2017 Issues Survey

    If you haven’t already, please take the District 64 2017 Issues Survey.

    Visitors to the Capitol

    I love getting visits from constituents.  This week, I was able to host more neighbors and friends on the floor.  Are you next?

    Melia Harris Melia Harris, Dental Hygiene Day
    Westside Elementary Students

    Break Time – A quick look at interactions that happen between meetings

    Congressional Visitors

    On Thursday, Congressman Stewart spoke briefly on the House Floor, touching on a few of his priorities, including reforming the tax code and strengthening national defense. Click here to watch his remarks (begins at 15:34 mins).

    Congressman Chaffetz spoke in our open caucus meeting and focused on his recent meeting with Pres. Trump in the White House.  I was able to ask him about how Congress plans to change the Affordable Care Act.  His answer presented a reasonable, measured approach to a set of proposals that include changes that can happen immediately and those that will take a while.

    Congressman Stewart
    Congressman Chaffetz
    Congressman Chaffetz

    Alfie Boe

    Famed tenor Alfie Boe, now a Utah resident, visited the House Floor and sang “Danny Boy.”

    Alfie Boe sings "Danny Boy"
    Alfie Boe

    UVU & SUU Days on the Hill

    This week, both Utah Valley University and Southern Utah University hosted their annual visit to the capitol to highlight the great things that are happening on campus.Almost every day, we have breaks to learn about important issues.

    SUU Students Visit the Capitol
    SUU Day on the Hill

    My Issues – A quick run-down of what I am working on for you

    Education Funding

    On Monday, our committee will send our final recommendations regarding public education funding to the Executive Appropriations Committee. I am still pushing for local flexibility.  However, I recognize that there are some instances where equity or other concerns need to be prioritized.  This is where the hard work of the legislature kicks in – understand what programs should be prioritized, how much to allocate to them, but recognizing that every dollar that gets earmarked is one less dollar that local districts will have to address local priorities.

    Vaccinations and Exemptions

    I have been working with many stakeholders since last April to come up with changes to the state law regarding vaccination requirements in schools. Our work has resulted in a set of three bills – HB308, HB309, and HB310. As with any compromise, I am sure that nobody is getting everything they want, but everyone should be able to live with the changes being proposed. It will be an interesting process to see if we can get them all passed and funded.

    Highway Safety and DUI

    On Friday, Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr, vice chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, spent the day at the Capitol to answer questions about lowering the legal limit on Blood Alcohol Concentration from .08 to .05. Her support was joined by the Utah Highway Patrol, Department of Transportation, Utah County, Utah PTA, Utah Medical Association, AAA Foundation, and many others. She spoke as part of my presentation to the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and the bill passed out with a favorable recommendation on a 9-2 vote.  The key takeaway from her presentation is that this is not about stopping people from drinking, it is about stopping people from dying.  You can listen to the full presentation here.

    Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr and Rep. Thurston presenting
    Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr and Rep. Thurston presenting to the
    Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.

    Key Bill Tracker – My view on some of the more notable bills to hit the House Floor

    HB164 Municipal Enterprise Fund Amendments (Rep. J. Moss)

    This bill relates to how cities use fee collections and their Enterprise Fund to pay for local needs.  This was the most popular topic in my email inbox from residents of district 64 with 100% of the contacts urging me to vote against it.  I have been in touch with Mayor Curtis and the bill sponsor and I am confident that a substitute version of the bill is ready for consideration that makes needed changes instead of harming the cities.  I plan to vote for the new version, but will continue to look to my local leaders and constituents to make sure it is meeting local needs.

    Election Bills

    There are quite a few election bills making their way through the system.  This coming week, we will be considering a new version of SB114 that attempts to address the issue of plurality in primary elections.  I hope to have more to report next week.

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