The 2018 Legislative Session has ended. Out of 1,359 bills requested, 533 bills passed and are awaiting Governor Herbert's signature. Personally, this was a productive year for bills and appropriation requests I sponsored, and for issues I was advocating and/or supporting. However, there were also many disturbing bills and issues (in my opinion) - some that passed and some which will have a definite impact on our future.
My Legislation and Appropriations Requests
In prior newsletters I have given detailed explanation of most of my bills. Set forth below is a summary, with hyperlinks to each bill.
bill provides increased penalty for intentionally or knowingly killing a canine police animal. SB 57 was included in Selected Highlights of the 2018 General Session by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel.
Pictured below: K-9 officers, including
Deputy Mike Graf and Tess, Lt. Chad Reyes, and Sgt. Luis Lovato
This bill amends provisions of the Utah Protection of Public Employees Act, eliminating confusion regarding compliance, and supporting a more transparent and objective process, particularly as it relates to our higher education system. This bill passed on the evening of the final day of session.
This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor recognizes the Utah Honor Flight Program for sponsoring trips that allow Utah veterans to experience their war memorials in our Nation's Capitol. I joined the Utah Honor Flight in Washington, D.C. this past summer, along with Robert Gallagher (WWII veteran, Millcreek community treasure, and fe
llow East Mill Creek Lion). I will never forget it.
This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor expresses gratitude to those working to prevent and reduce unwanted fires. This resolution was done in conjunction with HB 38 Fireworks Restrictions (Rep. Jim Dunnigan) PASSED, for which I was the Senate sponsor.
This concurrent resolution recognizes the achievement of establishing the Topaz Museum and Education Center to preserve the Topaz Relocation Center site and educate the public about Japanese American internment history, as well as recognize the Topaz Museum Board (past and present), and founder and visionary Jane Beckwith.
This resolution recognizes the efforts of educators of the Deaf, and American Sign Language instructors, and highlights the contributions of American Sign Language to the culture of the state.
|students and instructors from the Utah School for the Deaf, and Skyline High School (ASL)
Mrs. Tolley has received numerous awards and honors, most recently including Granite School District's Teacher of Year 2016, Utah's Teacher of Year 2017 (runner-up), both of which lead to her receiving the NEA Foundation California Casualty National Teacher of Excellence 2018, in Washington, D.C.
By separate Citation in the Senate, we honored Jody Lynn Tolley, a Skyline ASL teacher who has led the Skyline High School's ASL program, which involves Skyline students and students from the School of Deaf, since 2007.
This joint resolution recognizes the efforts of the fall-related injury prevention working group, and recognizes September 22, 2018, as Fall Prevention Awareness Day.
This joint resolution highlights the impact of pediatric deaths and injuries on the state of Utah and encourages the Department of Health to establish a pediatric quality improvement program, aka Pediatric Trauma Quality Assurance Network.
|Falls Prevention Workgroup
This resolution was done in conjunction with my appropriation request for Pediatric Trauma and Quality Improvement Network - Fully Funded (Ongoing) Dr. Stephen Fenton, a pediatric surgeon and Trauma Medical Director at Primary Children's Hospital, and Kris Hansen, a long-time nurse who helped start the pediatric trauma program at Primary Children's Hospital in 1998, and is the current pediatric trauma program manager, approached me about this effort over two years ago.
This effort is to support a statewide pediatric trauma network and to ensure that every child and youth injured in the state of Utah receives the most appropriate care at the right place and at the right time, utilizing a systems approach to care delivery and evaluation.
A Postretirement effort was
right before the start of session, eliminating the need for legislation. Thank you to East Mill Creek Community Council member Nick Morgan for bringing an important issue to our state. This involved written and physical testing of a retired employee of over 4 months. Working primarily with J. Scott Stephenson (Director, Peace Officer Standards and Training, Utah Department of Public Safety), Aaron D. Kennard (Utah Sheriffs' Association), Tom Ross (Utah Chiefs of Police), representatives from Utah Highway Patrol and Utah Peace Officers Association
, an alternative physical fitness test will be added to the POST's physical fitness testing process.
I also sponsored two other appropriation requests including:
Appropriation Request for Naturalization Initiative for New Americans
Fully Funded - One Time Request
Naturalization is a way for immigrants to be fully integrated into a community. Citizenship provides benefits to immigrants and the community, at large. Over 45,000 legal, permanent residents are eligible for naturalization. This investment helps New Americans overcome barriers to fulfill their dream of becoming U.S. Citizens and maximizing their contribution to our economy and society.
Appropriation Request for University of Utah Reading Clinic Distance Lab
Additional Funding - One Time Request
|Presenting request with Kathleen Brown, Exec. Dir. of the Reading Clinic, and fmr. Sen. Karen Morgan
The University of Utah Reading Clinic was created by the 1999 Utah Legislature to provide specific "direct services" to Utah educators and parents. This present appropriation request was for The Distance Lab at the Reading Clinic which needs additional funding to hire more reading specialists/tutors to meet the high demand for services in rural areas and for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind. The amazing Karen Morgan, former Utah state senator, is the force behind this effort which has had amazing results.
My Legislation circled or "sent to study"
These bills would be one tool to help with teacher and public safety severe shortages, without impacting the retirement system. Having retired educators (SB 95) who are willing to return and can help our public schools maintain quality, stable learning environments. Having retired and seasoned public safety employees (SB 113) who are willing to return would benefit public safety, and public safety employment shortages. These bills were universally supported by educator groups, public safety groups, and legislators on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, due to past restrictions to avoid "double dipping" there was a concern by a few colleagues in letting the "camel's nose" into the tent, permitting any opening which could lead to a return of "double dipping".
I spent hundreds of hours working on these bills, and meeting with leaders in education, public safety and others. I will continue this effort into next session.
This session, I brought back this legislation with any funds going to Utah's 168 private and public landfills, and two recycling plants. There was great support and testimony was solid, but the committee (only 4 present), sent this bill for "interim study". Americans throw away 100 billion plastic shopping bags a year, with Utahans throwing away 940 million, annually. It takes approximately 1,000 years for a plastic bag to "decompose" and landfill and recycling costs, direct and capital, are well over in the millions of dollars over a two to three-year period. There are hundreds of plastic bag bans throughout the US, and throughout the world.
took a completely opposite approach but was overwhelmingly defeated on the floor of the House in the last hours of session. This bill would have banned every municipality in Utah from having a retail bag bill. I argued against this bill as it involved no collaboration, took away local control, was retroactive and punitivetowards Park City's recent ordinance, and did nothing to address the real costs to our landfills and recycling plants, or to our environment and economy. The Utah League of Cities and Towns, and Utah Association of Counties opposed this bill.
Legislation of Concern
A few water-related bills were introduced that targeted the Wasatch Front, but could have had unintended consequences throughout the state, as well. On March 5, in the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee, I moved to have HB 135 held in committee - it could have been lifted from committee with a majority vote in the senate but ultimately, was never brought out for a vote by the senate. HB 124 was also held in the same committee.
Below is a summary of bills of concern:
This bill was aimed at cities of the first class, but the primary focus was Salt Lake City. SLC has extraterritorial jurisdiction (which is jurisdiction outside SLC) to protect the water quality of the entire watershed. This bill would remove SLC's watershed protection authority. There is a long history behind this issue regarding development efforts in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
This is another bill to limit the circumstances in which a municipality may own property outside the municipality's boundaries and another attempt to limit cities' ability to manage and acquire property within its watershed.
HB 124 Water Holdings Accountability and Transparency Amendments (Rep. Kim Coleman)
This bill relates to requirements for cities or special service districts that supply municipal water outside the city or special service district's jurisdiction boundaries - and seems to be an attempt at providing surplus water under contract outside corporate boundaries.
I voted against this bill although I was supportive of many aspects, including improvements regarding UTA governance which most constituents supported. However, the additional fee for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, and the rebranding name and cost caused consternation. Senator Harper informed me that the bill was modified to phase-in the additional fee, and the fee would go towards infrastructure for these vehicles, which were positive modifications. I appreciate Senator Harper's efforts on this very complex issue.
This bill creates a review panel authority to review and evaluate proposals for the comprehensive restoration of Utah Lake. (See Salt Lake Tribune article) This appears to prepare the way for the Utah Lake "Arches" development project including dredging, islands, housing, etc. - a price tag thought to be in the billions of dollars.
This bill caused stress and havoc the last evening of session. This bill takes away local control, local authority and local tax increment. There is a push to have Governor Herbert veto this bill.
Although a good discussion, I voted in opposition of eliminating the Utah State Board of Education. This effort was brought up two years ago by Sen. Ann Millner.
Caucus Meetings for 2018 General Election
I encourage you to participate in the upcoming neighborhood caucus meetings. Most meetings are this coming Tuesday, March 20. You can find your caucus location, date, and time by visiting caucus.utah.gov.
Thank you for playing a vital role in this Legislative session. I could not do this work without the help of constituents, who provide input and meet with me on important issues.
As always, I appreciate your input. Your voice is critical. If you would like to volunteer, PLEASE contact me,
I can be reached at
(personal matters), by mail to 4760 S. Highland Drive, #427, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117, or by phone at (801)580-8414.
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This Senate seat includes the following house districts: District 36 (Rep. Patrice Arent), District 37 (Rep. Carol Spackman Moss), District 40 (Rep. Lynn Hemingway), District 46 (Rep. Marie Poulson) and District 28 (Rep. Brian King).
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