The Federal Funds Commission today unveiled the state’s first Federal Funds Risk Model (FFRM) dashboard. Citizens can find the new tool at federalrisk.le.utah.gov.

The model is an interactive tool that calculates the potential economic impacts within the state of various factors, including macroeconomic variables and changes in direct and indirect federal funding. Utah receives $3.8 billion in federal funds — 26 percent of the state’s operating and capital budget – and is now tied with income taxes as the state’s largest revenue source.

Use of this tool will allow for better foresight and planning, as lawmakers can use it to inform their decision-making process. Additionally, potential state and local impact of changes to national fiscal policy can be modeled, and the resulting information will allow our leaders to make strategic recommendations to Utah’s congressional delegation.

“Utah, like most states, is increasingly dependent on federal funds at a time when the federal government finds itself in increasingly poor financial shape. For this reason, the Utah Legislature formed the Federal Funds Commission to develop the model unveiled today,” said Commission Co-Chair and State Representative Ken Ivory. “Its purpose is to assess the growing likelihood of diminished federal funding coming to Utah and how we can better respond to those risks and assure that we can meet the education, public safety and human service needs of our state, regardless of what transpires in D.C.”

The FFRM provides for the development of strategies to deal with the potential loss of federal funds, targeted to specific areas of our state budget, and it incorporates various risk response options. The modeling of risk response measures allows a way for the state to determine the degree to which they are able to mitigate the effects of myriad funding changes and the extent of their effectiveness.

The Federal Funds Commission was established by the Legislature in 2013 for the purpose of assessing and making recommendations regarding the financial stability of the federal government and our dependency on federal funds, as well as the risk and impact of a reduction in those funds to state and local governments.

Rep. Ivory, Chair of the Federal Funds Commission, Interview with Rod Decker

Rep. Ivory Comment on Utah Public Radio

Senate blog post

Utah House of Representatives Sponsors Honor Flight

Utah House of Representatives Sponsors Honor Flight

Thursday the Utah House of Representatives sponsored Honor Flight will depart from Salt Lake City, Utah and travel to Washington, D.C. where guardians and veteran participants will tour the WWII, Vietnam, Korean, Air Force, Marine, Women’s, and Lincoln Memorials. They will also tour Arlington National Cemetery.


The Utah House of Representatives raised $35,000 to sponsor the Utah Honor Flight. The Utah Honor Flight will shuttle WWII and Korean War Veterans to Washington, D.C. where the Utah Veterans will be given the opportunity to view the memorials erected in memory of their service. Veterans participate in the Honor Flight free of cost. Representatives Dee, Handy, Perry, and Stratton will be participating in this Honor Flight, as well as Representative Chavez-Houck’s family.


Among the participants will be LTJG Haven J. Barlow, 93-year-old WWII Navy veteran and father to Rep. Stewart Barlow. He is the longest serving Utah Legislator with four years of service in the Utah House of Representatives and 38 years of service in the Utah State Senate, for a total of 42 years of state legislative service.


The send-off will take place in the State Room of the Senate building at 8:00a.m. Thursday September 17, and the welcome home will take place in the Utah State Capitol Rotunda at 9 p.m. Saturday, September 19.


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Representative Derrin Owens

Representative Derrin Owens

Our newest Representative Derrin Owens was born and raised in Show Low, Arizona. He’s the eighth of nine children and the product of Mormon Pioneers. After serving an LDS Mission to Chicago, Illinois his family moved from Arizona to settle in Ephraim, where he would try his hand at ranching.


Representative Owens married Heather Owens, and the settled in Fountain Green, where they’ve lived together, with their five children, for 23 years. He and his family enjoy boating at Lake Powell, snowmobiling, camping, fishing, hunting, and anything else Utah’s beautiful outdoors has to offer.


Owens received his Bachelor’s degree in Social Science after studying at Snow College and Southern Utah University. He received a Master’s degree in Education from Grand Canyon University. Representative Owens taught history and coached track, wrestling, football. Now a licensed school counselor, he works closely with the students at Juab High School.


Representative Owens is a member of the National School Counselor’s Association, the Utah School Counselor’s Association and in 1998 was named Coach of the Year after leading his women’s and men’s track teams to state championships.


Representative Owens is a hobby rancher, lover and memorizer of poetry, and incidentally is missing the first day of school today. Maybe the Governor will write him an excuse.


We’re excited to welcome Representative Owens to our esteemed body. We know he’ll represent his constituents admirably and wish him well on his first day!

Special Session | August 2015

An email from Speaker Hughes regarding the August Special Session:


Dear Colleagues,


Governor Herbert has officially issued a call for a Special Session (call attached) to take place next Wednesday, August 19th at 3:00 p.m.  We will still hold our interim committee meetings that morning and caucus in the afternoon.  Also, you are all invited to join us in welcoming our newest member, Derrin Owens, as he gets sworn in at 7:30 a.m. in the House Chamber. 


The schedule for the Wednesday is as follows:


7:30 a.m. :                               Derrin Owens Swearing In

8:00 a.m. – 10:15 a..m:            Block A Committee Meetings

10:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.:         Block B Committee Meetings 

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m:              Caucus  

3:00 p.m.:                                Special Session


**Please note that no evening meal will be provided.  If you have special dietary needs please plan accordingly. 


Here is a list of the items that the House will be voting on during the Special Session:


1.  To consider the recommendation of the Prison Relocation Commission as to the building of a new state prison at the location of Interstate-80 and 7200 West in Salt Lake City.

2.  To consider changes to the statute of limitation governing refunds or credits issued for overpayment of corporate taxes. (SB 94 from the General Session)

3.  To consider the statutory qualifications for the Medicaid Inspector General.

4.  To consider corrections to the penalty for an accident involving injury, death, or property damage, and code references within Utah Code section 76-10-503. (Technical fixes to the Justice Reinvestment Initiative) 

5.  To consider clarifications to Utah Code 78B-2-201. (judicial code, statute of limitations, real property)  


In regards to prison relocation, after four years of study, analysis and debate – through an open and transparent process, the Prison Relocation Commission voted, in a bipartisan unanimous decision, to recommend the relocation of the state correctional facility currently located in Draper to the I-80/7200 West site in Salt Lake City.  


The commission believes the recommended site offers the greatest overall value for Utah residents and taxpayers; the best accessibility for employees, volunteers, and visitors; the lowest long-term operational costs; and the greatest opportunity for nearby compatible economic development. Attached to this email I’ve included the three documents provided by Representative Wilson:


1. Comparative Evaluation Matrix – this document compares the four finalist sites and summarizes 85 criteria that the PRC used in its decision

2. Why Not Draper – this document shares some of the obstacles that make rebuilding on the existing site in Draper not feasible

There is also a more comprehensive report on issues related to rebuilding in Draper here: http://le.utah.gov/interim/2015/pdf/00003617.pdf

3. Comparative Cost Summary – this document summarizes the costs associated with the four finalist sites 


If you have any questions regarding this decision please contact any of the PRC members.  I’m extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication from members of the PRC, legislative staff and consultants.  I especially want to thank Representative Brad Wilson for his leadership as Co-Chair of the Commission.  It has been a long journey. 


It is an honor to serve with each of you and I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.  





Greg Hughes

Speaker of the House

Utah House of Representatives 

And a copy of the call:

Special Session August 2015

Representative Steve Eliason Presented With 2015 “Katie’s Hero” Award

Representative Steve Eliason Presented With 2015 “Katie’s Hero” Award




Representative Steve Eliason Presented With 2015 “Katie’s Hero” Award


Parents of murder victim Katie Sepich, along with author and exonoree James Tillman, recognize Representative Steve Eliason for his work on HB212 to require DNA upon all felony arrests


SEATTLE, Washington. (August 5, 2015) – The parents and sister of murder victim Katie Sepich were joined by author James Tillman in presenting Utah State Representative Steve Eliason with the “Katie’s Hero Award”. The Katie’s Hero Award is an honor bestowed by the Sepich’s non-profit advocacy group DNA Saves on individuals for leadership in solving and preventing crime by supporting legislation to expand the use of forensic DNA technology. According to the certificate of award, Representative Eliason was selected for his strong support of HB212 in 2014 to require DNA upon all felony arrests in Utah, to ensure law enforcement is not unwittingly releasing repeat offenders back into the community.


Jayann Sepich, co-founder and president of DNA Saves, introduced the award and 2015 recipients at a Forensic DNA Luncheon event held concurrently during the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators (held this year in Seattle).


In presenting the award, Ms. Sepich said, “The enactment of HB212 will have a profound and lasting impact on public safety in Utah. Representative Eliason’s leadership on this issue will result in getting many rapists and other violent criminals off the streets, and will prevent additional Utah residents from being needlessly victimized.”


The keynote speaker at the luncheon was James Tillman, who spent 18 and a half years in prison convicted of a rape he did not commit until he was exonerated by DNA evidence. Tillman, the author of the book “The Power of Conviction”, addressed the crowd of 100 legislators and their guests, representing twenty-six states. He stated, “Arrestee DNA legislation is needed in every state to make our communities safer places to live.”


DNA Saves is a non-profit association organized to educate policy makers and the public about the value of forensic DNA. Jayann and Dave Sepich formed the association in late 2008, marking the five-year anniversary of the senseless murder of their daughter, Katie. DNA Saves is committed to working with every state to pass laws allowing DNA to be taken upon arrest, and to provide meaningful funding for DNA programs.

Had a DNA sample been taken from Katie’s murderer, Gabriel Avilla, upon arrest for an unrelated crime, the Sepichs would have discovered who killed their daughter only three months after her death. Instead, Avilla remained free to victimize more unsuspecting daughters, while the Sepichs waited for answers. The Sepichs hope that by advocating for better DNA testing laws they can prevent another mother and father from asking “why?”





Utah House of Representatives

Cate Klundt





DNA Saves

Jayann Sepich




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