• Presenting a bill in committee meeting

    2017 Week Two Wrap-Up

    Constituent News

    2017 Issues Survey

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

    Visitors to the House Floor

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

    Rick Anderson and Andalyn Hall Visit the House Floor Rick Anderson, Utah Banker from Provo

    Andalyn Hall, State FFA Officer and delegate from Springville

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

    Almost every day, we have breaks to learn about important issues. It is always enlightening and sometimes it is a chance to make new friends and run into old friends.

     

    On Wednesday, the Utah Film Commission was in the rotunda, including a working set from Granite Flats complete with cast and crew.


    With cast on set of Granite Flats

    Scott Christopher and Jodi Gleave (make-up artist)

    Friday was Wear Red for Womens Health Day.  As I was having my cholesterol tested, I noticed that the nurse sharing our table was none other than Leann Bordelon.  We met a few years ago while working on genealogical research and discovered that our children are related.

    Leann Bordelon
    Leann Bordelon

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

    Education Funding

    We are now reviewing all of our current budget items. I am still advocating for a higher prioritization of public education funding and more local control. It looks like an uphill battle, but this might be the year that we make progress.

    DUI

    Work moves forward to save lives by lowering the legal limit on Blood Alcohol Concentration from .08 to .05.  (1 in 6 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver has a driver with BAC below .08).  This is not a “round em up” bill but rather establishing a new social expectation that there is no safe level of drinking and driving.  The intent is to reduce crashes by reducing the number of people drinking and driving.

    Daylight Saving Time

    Stopping the changing of the clock continues to be the most frequent issue for my constituents.  While such a big change will take a lot of work, the first step of many that would be required to have the state stop changing our clocks twice a year was successful.  We have a long way to go, but there is hope.

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

    HCR11 – Resolution on Bears Ears (G. Hughes)

    As you may have heard, the House passed HCR 11 which urges President Trump to rescind the Bears Ears Monument designation.  While there are many parts of our state with archaeological sites that need protection, this designation was not an appropriate use of the Antiquities Act, locks up thousands of acres of School Trust Lands and sets back progress on an agreement to transfer some federal lands to local control.  HCR 11 is likely to pass the Senate this week.

    HB 11 – Boards and Commissions (N. Thurston)

    Currently there are 414 boards and commissions staffed with appointed volunteers.  Of these, 340 have no partisan requirements; the governor appoints people based experience and qualifications.  HB11 would add 29 of the remaining 74 to the list of those with no party membership check.  The bill was amended on the house floor to reduce the number to 24 and add a provision that the governor may not inquire or consider party membership in making the appointments.  Despite opposition from liberal groups who prefer party quotas over qualifications, the bill passed the House with 51 votes.  It is likely to do similarly well in the Senate.

    HJR3 – Convention of the States (M. Nelson)

    Your comments keep pouring in and I greatly appreciate that.  I have heard from many people on both sides of this issues in roughly equal numbers.  It is very pleasant to see that people that I respect can disagree with each other about something so critical without being uncivil.  For me this was a very difficult decision and I only made my final decision on the day of the vote.

    This resolution has passed the House and will go to the Senate for further consideration.  I do not know what will happen there, but everyone should feel free to continue to make your opinion known by contacting your senator.

    As I mentioned last week, I believe that it is both necessary and wise that we as a country figure out and define the process for how states could actually use that power to safely and reasonably put forward needed changes that Congress has been unwilling or unable to make. I definitely support the Article V process as a legitimate opportunity for states to propose amendments and I support the concept of a convention of the states to propose amendments.

    However, moving toward a convention should be taken very cautiously.  Is this the time? Are these the reasons?  Is it strictly necessary?  Is there some other way?

    While the national debt is problematic, I don’t think a balanced budget amendment could be crafted that will actually solve the problem.  It might help a little, but it will have to contain provisions for addressing times of war and national economic crisis, which happen with surprising regularity.  While this issue is important, the resolution fails to address the underlying problem of the activist judiciary, abuse of the commerce clause, and unresponsiveness of U.S. Senators to their state legislators.

    While I agree with the overall goals and outcomes of the resolution, I am not convinced that it is properly focused.  If I thought that this process would lead to a government that respects the will of the people, properly defers to the rights of states, and restores the judiciary to its proper role, I would have supported it.  After a couple of years of studying and serious reflection, I am just not there yet and voted “no,” at least for now.

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