March 9 – Daily Buzz

March 9 – Daily Buzz

Overview of the Final Day:

Today is the final day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The House prayer and pledge were led by guests of Rep. Brad Wilson. The prayer was offered by Father Anthony Savas, St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church. The pledge was led by Rep. Wilson’s intern, Alex Healy.

As the Utah Constitution dictates, the final session of floor time must end by midnight. The governor then comes to speak and the final night festivities begin. It’s a roller coaster of a day. Keep track of the final bills being debated on the floor here. Thank you to all legislators, staff and green coats. It’s been a wonderful session!

 

Increasing Education Funding

The Legislature has determined to significantly increase education funding this year. A total of 57.5 percent of new revenue will go toward public education, the largest share in recent memory, and Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) will see a 4 percent increase. Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind will also receive a much-needed new campus in Utah County.

 

The Security Behind the Scenes

There are many incredible men and women frantically working to keep the Utah House of Representatives running smoothly throughout the short, seven-week session. One such group is known as the Green Coats. They are led by the Sergeant-at-Arms, Mike Mitchell. This group of 15 men are responsible for security in our lobbies, galleries and committee rooms. KUTV on Channel 2 spotlighted the Green Coats in a recent news clip. Watch it here.

 

Tweets of the Final Day

 

March 8 – Daily Buzz

March 8 – Daily Buzz

Overview of the Day:

Happy International Women’s Day! Today is also the forty-fourth day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The prayer was offered by Rep. Brian King and the pledge was led by Rep. King’s intern, Ben Berger. 

In other exciting news, have you heard of the exclusive Failed Bills Club? When a representative’s bill does not pass the House or the Senate, it is tradition for Rep. Jeremy Peterson to deliver a Symphony chocolate bar to their desk to express his sympathies. This act of kindness on the House floor makes a bitter moment, bittersweet instead.

 

Signs we’re in the last week of the session:

– Courtesy of Rep. Becky Edwards


1. You’re wearing out the carpet between the House and the Senate checking on your bills.
2. You’ve mapped out the desks of all your colleagues on the House floor in order of who has the best treats.
3. The bills are getting longer, longest weighing in at 202 pages is SB 8, State Agency Fees and Internal Service Fund Rate Authorization and Appropriations.
4. The jokes are getting worse (when I concurred with the Senate changes to my Spiral Jetty bill a voice arose across the House floor that said, “Return of the Jetty!” aka Return of the Jedi, get it?)
5. Family Night at the Capitol was packed and since we were on the floor until 11:30 tonight they got to watch us in action on the floor.
6. One of your bills passes 38-37. Closest margin of the night.
7. You’ve cleaned out all the chocolate almonds on your colleagues desk.
8. The last of your bills makes it off the House floor.
9. You’re at the Capitol for 17 hours straight!
10. You’ve reached a new high in your email folder….1207!

 

Meet a New Representative: Val Potter

Rep. Val Potter now represents District 3 in Cache County. Rep. Potter has served as a mayor and council member in North Logan City, and as a Cache County Council member for the past 6 years. He is married with three kids and six grandkids. Rep. Potter has been a wonderful addition to the Utah House of Representatives this year.

 

Tweets of the Day

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow’s Legislative Schedule


8:00 AM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
2:00 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
7:00 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time

12:00 AM: SESSION ADJOURNS SINE DIE

 

 

March 7 – Daily Buzz

March 7 – Daily Buzz

Overview of the Day:

Today is the forty-third day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The House prayer and pledge were led by guests of Rep. John Westwood. The prayer was offered by Justin Harding, and the pledge was led by Cole, Jace, Bryce and Jaylee Woodward.

This afternoon, Reps Gage Froerer and Walt Brooks played important roles in a press conference all about HB 460. This bill will authorize a $100 million bond for the relocation of the prison. In total, the relocation of the prison is expected to cost $650 million. Rep. Froerer explained to the press this bond is necessary for the infrastructure outside of the prison fence – roads, sewer lines, electricity and general development.

Rep. Froerer further described the bond as not a cost over-run, but simply the money Utah’s Division of Facilities Construction and Management anticipated for this plot of land. Sen. Harper clarified that the total amount of money going toward the prison has not changed; instead, the total amount bonded has changed. Even with the prison and the highway bonds, Utah will stay below its designated debt limit by more than 50 percent.

 

Meet a New Representative: Christine Watkins

A native Utahn, born on a dairy farm in Cache County and a resident of Emery and Carbon Counties since 1972, Rep. Watkins is a conservative with a strong moral compass. Rep. Watkins earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Utah State University and a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Utah. After teaching for 20 years, she was the Elementary Principal at the Pinnacle Canyon Charter School in Price, Utah. Rep. Watkins was also the Executive Director for the Southeastern UniServ for eight years and UniServ Director for the Bonneville UniServ in Orem, Utah.  

She is married to John Watkins and has five children and 10 grandchildren. As an active member of her community, Christine has served as on the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and has held many leadership positions in her church. Rep. Watkins has been a wonderful addition to the Utah House of Representatives this year.

 

Tweets of the Day

 

 

Tomorrow’s Legislative Schedule


8:00 AM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
2:00 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time

5:00 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time  

 

 

 

March 6 – Daily Buzz

March 6 – Daily Buzz

Overview of the Day:

The last week of the 2017 Legislative Session has begun. Today is the forty-second day of the forty-five day session. The House prayer and pledge were led by guests of Rep. Brad Last. The prayer was offered by Stanley Groen and the pledge was led by Andy Arvig, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard. 

 

Current Legislation Update: HB 159, Amendments to Voter Registration

Earlier today, first substitute of HB 159, Amendments to Voter Registration, was passed out of Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee with a favorable recommendation of 5 – 2. Sponsored by Rep. Steve Handy, HB 159 will ensure that all individuals who apply for or renew their driver’s license or state identification card will be registered to vote. An individual can opt out if they choose to. This legislation does provide that an individual will not be guilty of fraudulent registration if the individual is ineligible to register to vote but is inadvertently registered to vote under this bill.

Meet a New Representative: Jefferson Moss

Rep. Jefferson Moss now represents District 2 in Saratoga Springs. He studied Political Science and Philosophy at Brigham Young University. Rep. Moss is married with 4four children between the ages of 3 and 13. Currently, he works as the Senior Director of Investment Management and Development Services for the Utah Valley University Foundation. Rep. Moss is following in the footsteps of his father, who also served in the Utah House of Representatives. One of his favorite quotes about public service is from his namesake, Thomas Jefferson: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Rep Moss has been a wonderful addition to the Utah House of Representatives this year.

 

Tweets of the Day

 

 

Tomorrow’s Legislative Schedule


8:00 AM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
2:00 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time

6:10 PM: Joint Revenue and Taxation Committee

 

 

March 3 – Daily Buzz

March 3 – Daily Buzz

Overview of the Day:

Today is the thirty-ninth day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The House prayer and pledge were led by guests of Rep. Jon Stanard. The prayer was offered by Kyla Bechstrand, and the pledge was led by Brysen McDonald.

We had the privilege of honoring Utah’s fallen soldiers and their families today on the House Floor. Rep. Fawson, who served in the National Guard for almost 10 years, paid tribute to these soldiers and their families through a moving speech. Rep. Fawson then asked for a moment of silence to remember these men and women.

Rep. Brad Wilson and Sen. Jerry Stevenson have been working with stakeholders to update Utah’s alcohol policies, simplify liquor license categories and provide better training for servers in restaurants and bars to reduce drunk driving and underage drinking. The cumulation of their work, H.B. 442 Alcohol Amendments, passed the House of Representatives this afternoon with a vote of 58 – 10.

In case you missed it, our very own Green Coats, more formally known as the Coat of Arms, have been spotlighted on Channel 2 KUTV News. Read here to find out what a day in the life of a Green Coat is like.

 

Meet a New Representative: Adam Gardiner

The youngest representative in the body, Rep. Adam Gardiner, represents District 43 in West Jordan. Rep. Gardiner studied at Weber State University. He works in business development and consulting. Previously, Rep. Gardiner was a Salt Lake Council analyst and worked in the office of Congressman Rob Bishop. He is married and has twin sons. Rep. Gardiner has served with the Catholic Community Services, West Jordan Sustainability Committee, Olene Walker Institute, Richard Richards Institute for Ethics, State Republican Executive Committee. He currently serves on the Salt Lake County Library. He is a great addition to the House!

 

Tweets of the Day

 

Monday’s Legislative Schedule

8:00 AM: House Education Committee
8:00 AM: House Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee
8:00 AM: House Health and Human Services Committee
8:30 AM: House Judiciary Committee 

11:00 AM: House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
4:10 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time 

 

March 2 – Daily Buzz

March 2 – Daily Buzz

Overview of the Day:

Today is the thirty-eighth day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The House prayer and pledge were led by guests of Rep. Keith Grover. The prayer was offered by Grisel Zamundio. The pledge was led by Mario Tolayo.

In other news, Jon Heder, better known as Napoleon Dynamite, visited the House of Representatives during afternoon floor time today. Rep. Jeremy Peterson and Heder put on shirts proclaiming the now famous phrase, “Vote for Pedro.” Representatives around the room craned this way and that way to catch a photo of Heder.

The legislators also played a practical joke during Business and Labor Committee. While hearing a bill on motorcycle helmets, Rep. Dunnigan interrupted and said, “Representatives, let’s ride.” The committee members then all put on helmets. It was a funny sight.

 

AGO and Legislators Execute Search Warrants in Major Statewide Gambling-Device Enterprise

The Utah Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced today that AGO investigators, in a joint operation with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, executed warrants to seize evidence of an alleged statewide enterprise related to illegal gambling machines. The operation identified over an estimated 500 machines or more at over 130 locations across the state.  Tips about illegal gambling devices were reported by Rep. Justin Fawson and Rep. Norm Thurston as well as from other sources.

“I appreciate the Attorney General’s office and the work they’ve done to address concerns that local law enforcement agencies brought to the attention of Representative Thurston and myself,” said Rep. Justin Fawson, District 7. “This was a coordinated effort between local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s office that resulted in bringing down an enterprise that was attempting to skirt the Utah gambling laws.”

“A question was raised whether coin pushers in local convenience stores were legal,” said Rep. Norm Thurston, District 64. “After learning the about the problems these machines create, it was made clear that statewide approach would be necessary to address this issue. Rep. Fawson and I appreciate the cooperation, hard work and response of the Attorney General’s office, investigators and agencies across the state to help resolve this issue.”

Read the full press release here.

 

Meet a New Representative: Tim Quinn

Rep. Tim Quinn now represents District 54 in Heber City. Rep. Quinn attended Georgia State University. He currently owns a software development company. He has lived in Wasatch County for almost two decades. Rep Quinn has been a wonderful addition to the Utah House of Representatives this year.

 

Tweets of the Day

 

Tomorrow’s Legislative Schedule

8:00 AM: House Judiciary Committee
8:00 AM: House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee
8:00 AM: House Transportation Committee
8:15 AM: House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
10:00 AM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
2:00 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
4:10 PM: House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee
4:10 PM: House Government Operations Committee
4:10 PM: House Political Subdivisions Committee
4:10 PM: House Revenue and Taxation Committee