• Opening Ceremony

    2018 Week One Wrap Up

    In case you missed it, the Legislature is back in full swing again this year and the first week is now in the books. Here is a summary of the highlights.

    Constituent News

    Visitors to the Capitol

    I always love hosting neighbors and friends on the House Floor.  This week’s guests included local government officials, Isaac Paxman and David Harding. If you would like to visit the capitol, please let me know a day or two in advance so we can make arrangements to meet and give you a chance to visit the House Floor.

    David Harding
    David Harding, Provo Municipal Council

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

    Utah Travel and Tourism Industry

    Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Ginger Chinn, GOED
    Ginger Chinn, Governor’s Office of Economic Development

    Reception at the Governor’s Mansion

    Casey Roper with Governor and Mrs. Herbert
    My Intern, Casey Roper, meets the Governor and First Lady

    Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities

    Their priority this year is the Medically Complex Children’s Waiver.

    Utah Association for the Deaf
    Utah Association for the Deaf
    Parents of Children with Disabilities
    Parents of Children with Disabilities

    Big Issues

    Just like last year, no big issues popped up during the first week. I am keeping my eyes on tax reform and the budget this year.

    Tax Reform

    There are two issues really. 1) Our continued reliance on the sales tax as the primary source of government funding is problematic. In order to keep up with a relative decline in physical sales of goods as a share of our economy, rates have been rising, and they are too high. We need to look at a way to significantly broaden the base and lower the rate. 2) The changes made by the federal government were in general good of Utahns, however, there are a few cases (especially large, middle income families) where they may actually end up paying more in total taxes. We need to make some changes to our system to correct for these inequities.

    Budget

    While it may seem to many that we are in great financial times, we are not so optimistic.  There is an economic downtown coming our way and we have to get ready for that.  This means paying down our debt and putting money aside into our reserve accounts (the Rainy Day Funds). In order to squeeze enough money from the budget to get our house in order, we are looking at some tough decisions – cutting less essential programs and reduced funding for others.  Of course, we also want to keep supporting critical services and priorities. Stay tuned.

    My Bills – A status update

    Off to a Good Start

    Three bills passed out of the House and are off to the Senate:

    HB19 would create programs inside health insurance plans that reward members who shop for lower cost health care options by sharing some of the savings with them. It has been assigned to the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

    HB34 clarifies that employees make take paid leave to assist with natural disasters with any agency, not just the Red Cross. This bill has been assigned to the Senate Government Operations Committee and should have a hearing this week.

    HB36 sets out a process and limitations for cities and towns that want to regulate free speech on public grounds. It will help ensure citizens’ rights to free speech. It is in the Senate and should get assigned to a Senate committee soon.

    Bills in the House

    HB115 aims to limit abusive lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act by requiring that claimants give businesses a chance to fix problems before they demand money. It has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

    HB162 allows a person that buys a used car to keep the license plates and not have to buy new ones. It passed committee and is waiting to be heard on the House Floor.

    HB163 would set up a program to allow wholesalers to import lower cost drugs from Canada and make them available to Utah’s pharmacies. It will be heard in committee on Thursday afternoon.

    HB98 & HB120 are two bills that tweak the law relating to intoxicated behavior. I am waiting for two more tweaks to be drafted before I proceed.

    HJR3 would allow the legislature to have a say in how lawyers are regulated (instead of only the Supreme Court). It is intended to generate discussion about the wisdom of letting a profession police itself and not be accountable to elected officials.

    Other Bill Ideas in the Works

    Occupational Freedom – This bill will establish guidelines and limitations to make sure that the state is moving in the direction of lighter regulation on occupations.

    Trampoline Park Safety – This bill would establish statewide minimum standards for safety at trampoline parks.

    Boards and Commissions – This will be a scaled-down version of HB11 from last year.

    Daylight Saving Time – Sen. Harper is proposing that we send a request to the federal government to allow us to stay on Daylight Saving Time year-round. I will be the House Floor sponsor if he can get it that far. #fingerscrossed

     

2 Comments

  1. Norman Anderson says: January 29, 2018 at 6:02 pmReply

    Thanks for the info. Appreciate all you are doing !
    Norm and Arnolene

  2. Cynthia L. Hallen says: January 29, 2018 at 7:14 pmReply

    Thank you for the updates.