Week in Review: March 6-10, 2017

Week in Review: March 6-10, 2017

Legislative Update: Week #7

HB 442, Alcohol Amendments

HB 442, which makes changes to the state’s alcohol policy, streamlines and standardizes Utah’s liquor laws by improving prevention measures, updating restaurant and retailer operations, clarifying licensing regulations and modifying the makeup of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) Advisory Board.

It will improve training requirements for licensees, focusing on prevention of over-consumption and selling to minors, in addition to implementing new underage drinking prevention programs for 8th and 10th graders.

It also brings greater consistency to application of liquor law in restaurants by allowing three options for a buffer or barrier between the alcohol dispensing area and dining area. Restaurants can choose to either leave the currently prescribed barrier in place, install a 42” barrier between dining and dispensing or create a 10’ buffer for minors. There is nothing unique about these requirements, and many states have restrictions of some sort regarding children near bar areas, including Washington, Michigan, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Arizona, New Hampshire, Indiana, Idaho, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Oregon, Minnesota, Arkansas and Alaska.

Clean Air

The Legislature just passed one of the most significant pieces of legislation for clean air in years. With SB 197, refineries in the state are incentivized to switch over to the production of Tier 3 fuels which have a lower sulfur content and provide for much cleaner burning.

If everyone in the state were to use Tier 3 fuels and cars, it would be the equivalent of removing four of every five vehicles on the road. The investment of producers to change from Tier 2 to Tier 3 fuels will be significant, in the tens of millions of dollars, and this bill provides a sales tax exemption on certain products that are needed for that transition.

Some of the other clean air bills passed this session include:

  • HCR 5, a concurrent resolution to support the dedication of a portion of the state funds from the Volkswagen settlement to replace a portion of our dirty diesel school buses with clean fuel buses.
  • HB 96, creating a requirement for operators of gasoline cargo trucks to prevent the release of petroleum vapors into the air.
  • HB 104, which allows counties to use revenue from emissions fees to maintain a national ambient air quality standard.
  • SB 24, extending the heavy duty vehicle tax credit to include heavy duty vehicles with hydrogen-electric and electric drivetrains.

The Legislature also appropriated an additional $1.65 million for air quality research and air monitoring.

Justice Reform

Two years ago, the Utah Legislature passed HB 348, which began the process of reforming our state justice system. The point of that reform is to carefully screen those arrested for crimes in order to determine the main driver of their criminality: substance abuse, mental health issues or criminality itself. This will allow for diversion and treatment where appropriate, and improve our current high levels of recidivism.

We also began the process of reforming the juvenile justice system this year with HB 239, based on recommendations from the Juvenile Justice Working Group. These recommendations include preventing deeper involvement in the juvenile justice system for lower-level offenses, protecting public safety by focusing resources on those who pose the highest risk and improving outcomes through reinvestment and increased system accountability.

We appropriated funds for an electronic records system that will provide better communication among agencies and tracking of those in the adult system. It will enable judges to have access to screenings prior to sentencing and ensure proper placement of those more in need of help than incarceration.

If this process is followed, we will see more people in mental health and drug treatment programs. Last year the Legislature passed HB 437 which, in combination with federal funds, would have given the state $100 million to help the very most impoverished Utahns, including the chronically homeless and those involved in the justice system. A year later we are still waiting for full approval from the federal government to begin implementation. At this point we’re able to move forward with a small portion of the plan, giving us access to  $22 million.

We also appropriated $17.4 million in new money for mental health/behavioral health treatment and $3 million for jail-based substance abuse programs. This should allow us to draw down another $32 million in federal funds.

This year the state has set aside nearly $3 million more for county jails to adequately deal with those who need to be taken off the street and incarcerated. This will alleviate jail overcrowding pressures that exist in certain counties and help law enforcement in doing their job, especially in cleaning up problem areas downtown.

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 story . Watch it here.

A Tribute to Utah’s Fallen Soldiers

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

 

 

Daily Buzz: February 27, 2017

Daily Buzz: February 27, 2017

Overview of the Day:

Today marks the 35th day of the 2017 General Session. The House prayer and pledge were led by guests of Rep. Ed Redd Perry. The prayer was offered by Halima Ali. The pledge was led by Issa Hamud.  

Today, H.B. 442 Alcohol Amendments, was made public. Rep. Wilson has been working with stakeholders to update Utah’s alcohol policies, simplify liquor license categories and provide better training for servers in restaurants and bars and reduce drunk driving and underage drinking. Read the bill here.

Blood Drive:

Rep. Mike Kennedy, Rep. Steve Handy, Sen. Shiozawa and Lt. Gov. Cox hosted a blood drive with the America Red Cross. Blood donations are vital to have a healthy and reliable blood supply. Legislators and interns enjoyed participating and giving back. See more pictures here.

 

 

 

Honoring Dr. Mario R. Capecchi:

During morning floor time, Utah House of Representatives recognized and honored
Mario R. Capecchi, Ph.D. University of Utah School of Medicine, for his extraordinary work in the field of molecular genetics at the University of Utah.

He has had a global impact on the evolution of both molecular biology and genetics-based cancer research. Dr. Capecchi developed revolutionary gene-targeting technology using mice that has contributed to our understanding of and treatments for hundreds of diseases.

Dr. Capecchi’s work earned him the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and laid the foundation for the development of human monoclonal antibodies as an important new class of targeted medicines used to treat disease.

Dr. Capecchi endured suffering in his early childhood years during the Nazi occupation in his native Italy. There, he lived on the streets for a time after his mother was taken to a concentration camp. The two were eventually able to reunite and immigrate to the U.S.

Thanks to Dr. Capecchi for his 44-year career at the University of Utah that has globally impacted the evolution of the state of Utah that continues to support groundbreaking discoveries around the world.

Tweets of the Day:

Legislative Schedule Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017:

7:30 AM: House Judiciary Committee

7:45 AM: House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee

8:00 AM: House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee

8:00 AM: House Transportation Committee

10:00 AM: House Floor Time

2:00 PM: House Floor Time

4:10 PM: House Political Subdivisions Committee

4:10 PM: House Government Operations Committee

4:10 PM: House Revenue and Taxation Committee

Following afternoon floor time: House Floor Time

Week in Review – February 6-10, 2017

Week in Review – February 6-10, 2017

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Legislative Update: Week #3

 

 

The Western Hunting and Conservation Expo February 16-19

Over 40,000 sportsmen will descend on the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City next week, February 16-19, for the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo. Visitors will hail from 45 states and 17 countries.

Hunting is a $2.3 billion industry in Utah and adds significantly to the state’s economy. The event itself is projected to generate $30 million in economic activity, including $5 million in private funds to be used for conservation purposes within the State of Utah.

Three hundred sixty vendors are slated to participate in the expo.

Importance of Outdoor Industry to Utah

Utah has become a top destination for those drawn to our lands, our wildlife and the markets that exist here for outdoor products. The outdoor recreation industry is an integral part of our state culture, and each year Utah hosts three Outdoor Recreation Summits (Ogden, Moab and Cedar City) to address the industry and regional concerns, and build relationships among various parties.

The interests of hunters align well with those who want to see the State of Utah control its own public lands. We have always been a public lands state and most Utahns want to keep it that way, but they reject the notion that federal bureaucrats thousands of miles away are better stewards of the land than the people who live on and around it. On state-managed lands, we see better erosion control, healthier watersheds and stronger, more vibrant herds – all of which benefit hunters and other outdoor recreationalists.

Utah has consistently shown its commitment to healthy public lands, with the largest active watershed and wildlife habitat restoration program in the U.S. Since 2005, over 1.3 million acres have been restored through this program at an annual cost of approximately $14 million.

Our 43 State Parks receive more visitors per acre than our National Parks, and they do it without running the maintenance deficits and backlogs that burden the federally-managed parks. In 2013, when the federal government shut down, state leaders stepped forward to reopen the National Parks in Utah, using over $1.5 million in state funds that still haven’t all been reimbursed.

Utah is committed to the management of our lands in a way that allows for greater access and use, and healthier forests, ranges and wildlife. We welcome those who want to come here and enjoy the many benefits offered by Utah public lands.

Commission on Federalism

The Commission on Federalism has been meeting regularly thus far this session in order to identify where the federal government has been impinging on state sovereignty.

Utah’s federal delegation has sought clarification on the areas and issues where state legislators have seen overreach and where and how they would like to have a greater ability to govern their own affairs.

House Speaker Hughes and Senate President Niederhauser have asked the Commission to work throughout the session to prepare a list of areas and specific items to present to our federal delegation for consideration.

Information about the Commission, its meeting times, agendas and recordings, can be found on the Legislature’s website.

Recap:

H.C.R. 11

H.C.R. 11Concurrent Resolution Urging the President to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation, passed the House and Senate and was signed by Governor Gary Herbert on the evening of Friday, Feb. 3. It is now headed to Utah’s Washington delegation. This concurrent resolution urges the new administration to remove the 1.35 million acre monument designation made by the previous president shortly before leaving office.

Nearly 70 percent of Utah is under federal management and control, and 90 percent of Utah’s population lives on just 1 percent of its land. The Antiquities Act, created by Teddy Roosevelt, was never intended to be used to lock up large swathes of land; it was meant to set aside only the smallest area necessary to protect significant archaeological or historical sites. This monument declaration claims to protect such “antiquities” as star-filled nights, coyotes and pine trees. While these are a part of Utah’s wild areas, they are certainly not what has ever been contemplated as worthy of protection under the Antiquities Act.

Congressman Stewart Addresses House

On Thursday, February 9, Congressman Chris Stewart gave his annual report to the Utah Legislature. During his visit, he addressed Congress’ priorities, which include reforming the tax code and repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Stewart expressed that we as Americans have the responsibility to speak the truth, listen respectfully to others and protect Americans and America’s interests around the world. Click here to watch his remarks (begins at 15:34 mins).

 

Congressman Chaffetz Visits the Utah House

During the Majority Caucus meeting on Thursday, February 9, Congressman Jason Chaffetz gave an update on what he is working on in Washington, as well as his recent meeting with the president. During that meeting, Chaffetz asked the president to repeal the Bears Ears National Monument designation. He mentioned to the caucus that he would like to do away with the Antiquities Act in its entirety.

Rep. Chaffetz talked about the new Congress’ aggressive reform agenda, including repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, reforming the burdensome U.S. tax code and rebuilding the military infrastructure. He expressed his desire to do away with the U.S. Department of Education, saying that states and the many layers of interested parties, from parents to teachers and principals to school boards, pretty much have it covered.

Daily Buzz: February 6, 2017

Daily Buzz: February 6, 2017

Overview of the Day:

Today is the fifteenth day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The House prayer and pledge were led by guests of Representative Mike Kennedy. The prayer was offered by Haven J. Barlow and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Kevin Braddy.

During afternoon floor time Rep. Lowry Snow presented H.B. 13 Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which defines who has access to the digital assets of an incapacitated or deceased person and sets out responsibilities for that person, passed the House, 71-0-4.

Speaker Greg Hughes recaps the second week of the 2017 General Session, including Bears Ears, Utah High School Activities Association, who won the legislative verse executive branch basketball game and what his favorite drink is. Watch here.

 

Non-Compete Legislation Passes Committee

Rep. Brian Greene’s bill, H.B. 81 Post-employment Restrictive Covenant Amendments, was presented in the House Business and Labor Committee on Monday, February 6, 2017. It passed the committee with a vote of 6-5-3. 

This bill amends provisions related to post-employment restrictive covenants. It also addresses consideration and termination of employment as they relate to post-employment restrictive covenants, modifies remedy provisions, restricts the time for bringing an action to enforce post-employment restrictive and makes technical changes.

Post-employment restrictive covenant may not be enforced if the contract was executed at the time the employee was employed unless he received new consideration, such as a raise or promotion or if an employee is terminated without cause within one year of date of execution of the contract.

Continuation of employment will not be considered consideration.

If the employer seeks to enforce a post-employment restrictive covenant through legal action and it is found unenforceable, the employer is liable for three times the amount of actual damages, in addition to attorney fees and court costs.

 

Tweets of the Day:

https://twitter.com/RepAngelaRomero/status/828676221298814976

https://twitter.com/RepJimDunnigan/status/828738640922554369

https://twitter.com/McKenzieForbes4/status/828752840470302720

 

Tomorrow’s Legislative Schedule:

8:00 AM: Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee
11:00 AM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
2:00 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
3:40 PM: House Judiciary Committee REVISED
3:40 PM: House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee
3:40 PM: House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
3:40 PM: House Transportation Committee

Daily Buzz: February 3, 2017

Daily Buzz: February 3, 2017

Overview of the Day:

Today is the twelfth day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The House prayer was offered by Haven J. Barlow and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Zacharch Haruch, Representative Stewart Barlow’s intern.

Representative Merrill Nelson introduced a joint resolution (HJR 3)  on the House floor today calling for a convention of the states to amend the Constitution of the United States. This convention of states requires support from 38 states according to Article V of the Constitution. The passing of this joint resolution would signify the Utah’s support for the convention of states.

After an hour an hour of debate, the bill passed with 45 yay votes and 29 nay votes. The bill will now be sent to the Senate to be discussed, debated, and voted upon.

Meet a New Representative: Cory Maloy

Representative Cory Maloy now represents District 6 in Lehi. He received his B.A. degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. He is currently the Executive Vice President at Snapp Conner PR. Prior to being elected as a state representative, Rep. Maloy has had many roles in the Republican Party; most recently, Rep. Maloy was the District 6 Legislative Chair. He is married with three children and two grandchildren. When asked why the House of Representatives is better than the Senate, he jokingly replied, “Because I’m in the House.” Rep. Maloy will be a great addition the House this term.

 

Tweets of the Day:

https://twitter.com/McKenzieForbes4/status/827645093355991040

https://twitter.com/FireIcePhotos/status/827641049686306816

https://twitter.com/utahhousedems/status/827608035086344192

https://twitter.com/BenWinslow/status/827545936284962816

 

Monday’s Legislative Schedule:

8:00 AM: Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee
11:00 AM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
12:15 PM: Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Subcommittee
1:00 PM: House Retirement and Independent Entities Committee
2:00 PM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
6:00 PM: Commission on Federalism

Daily Buzz: February 2, 2017

Daily Buzz: February 2, 2017

Overview of the Day:

Today is the eleventh day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The House prayer was offered by Chaplain Jeremy Caskey, a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Tyler Herrera, Representative Handy’s intern.

Later in the day, the Majority Caucus was excited to welcome head football coaches from six universities in Utah – Brigham Young University, Dixie State University, Southern Utah University, University of Utah, Utah State University and Weber State. ABC 4 Sportscaster Wesley Ruff came to moderate the caucus meeting with the coaches.

After personal introductions, Ruff asked the panel of coaches a variety of questions. In response to what is the hardest part of being a head coach, they all agreed that finding the balance between family and work life was the biggest struggle. They later also agreed the game has been evolving to be more all-consuming for their players, demanding their attention and hard work almost every day of the year. Representative Carl Albrecht ended the panel by thanking the coaches for doing a great job both in representing Utah and in raising these young men.

 

 

 

Bears Ears in Senate Committee Hearing

The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee voted upon Speaker Hughes’ concurrent resolution modifying the Bears Ears National Monument Designation boundaries earlier today (HCR 12). After the committee had listened to many comments from the public, they passed the resolution with a vote of 5-2.

Tweets of the Day:

https://twitter.com/KyleTreasure/status/827287113452310533

https://twitter.com/SutherlandInst/status/827299857895346176

Legislative Schedule, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017:


8:00 AM: Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee
8:00 AM: Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee
11:00 AM: House Chamber, House Floor Time
12:20 PM: Executive Appropriations Committee
1:50 PM: Legislative Management Committee REVISED
2:00 PM: House Judiciary Committee
2:00 PM: House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee
2:00 PM: House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
2:00 PM: House Transportation Committee
4:00 PM: House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee
4:00 PM: House Government Operations Committee REVISED