Week in Review – January 25-29, 2016

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 Legislative Update: Week #1

Indigent Defense 

The Sixth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants the right to have a lawyer defend them even if they can’t afford to pay for one. Utah is one of only two states that leaves funding for indigent defense up to the individual counties, leading to no oversight or consistency, and in many cases no representation. A state task force has been studying the issue for four years and has identified three solutions, which may be incorporated into legislation considered this year:

  1. Creation of an Indigent.
  2. Defense Commission to provide oversight and training, economic assistance and other resources.
  3. Local reform of indigent services contracts so attorneys won’t face disincentives to effectively representing their clients.
  4. Enhanced ability of judges to ensure compliance with right-to-counsel obligations.

Today, on the first day of the 2016 General Session, the Legislature is off to a great start as members of both the House of Representatives and Senate have rolled up their sleeves and gotten to work. In fact, with a full reading calendar meant for two days worth of work, the House was able to adjourn early after getting through every one of the bills posted.

These bills were debated, voted on and passed out of interim committees since the end of the last Legislative Session, and rather than adding to current code, many were repealing language that was confusing or unclear in the law. Every one of the bills considered and passed today came out of an interim committee with unanimous, bipartisan support and no fiscal note.

We accomplished many major reforms during the 2015 General Session and the work that our interim committees did over the past year has allowed us to start off with a momentum that should lead to another successful session.

For Your Review:

Utah House of Representatives welcomed Congressman Chris Stewart and Congressman Rob Bishop.

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Congressman Stewart discussed three issues the United States faces:economic growth, national debt and national security. Click here to watch his remarks, it starts at 13 minutes.

Rob_Bishop_Official_(Utah_politician)Congressman Bishop, former Utah Speaker of the House, discussed public lands and military during his visit to the House. Click here to watch his remarks, it starts at 42 minutes.

 

 

 

Recap of the 2016 Legislative Session:

The Legislature is off to a great start as members of both the House of Representatives and Senate have rolled up their sleeves and gotten to work. In fact, with a full reading calendar meant for two days worth of work, the House was able to adjourn early after getting through every one of the bills posted.

These bills were debated, voted on and passed out of interim committees since the end of the last Legislative Session, and rather than adding to current code, many were repealing language that was confusing or unclear in the law. Every one of the bills considered and passed today came out of an interim committee with unanimous, bipartisan support and no fiscal note.

We accomplished many major reforms during the 2015 General Session and the work that our interim committees did over the past year has allowed us to start off with a momentum that should lead to another successful session. Click here to watch the full video.