Survey Results, Now Offering Office Hours!, Virtual Committees

Survey Results Are In!

Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to fill out the Survey. It it very helpful to me to know what is on your mind. Below are the results - and I think they tell a good story of how Bountiful sees our state and nation.
Most of you felt the overall state response to COVID was about right. And the remainder were split between those who wished their had been more restrictions and those who wanted less.

As has been the case every year that I have asked this question - The top priority for state spending was K-12 education. Second place was better support for social services programs.

The top choice for kind of tax cut was an overall rate cut to income tax with a targeted cut to Social Security income in second place.

A strong majority felt that keeping a permit for concealed carry of a firearm was important.

A majority felt that racism continues to be a problem. And many had comments pointing out that people sometimes mean different things when they use the term.
Below is just a selection of some of the many comments that you sent back to me in the survey. I think they give a little flavor of what is on Bountiful's mind.

I hope to see more cooperation instead of endless fighting. There’s an opportunity to get a lot of things done that are bipartisan. Everyone wants to have fair elections. Everyone wants to beat COVID. Everyone wants to have a strong economy. Everyone wants to be treated equally. Why do we have to focus on ideological differences, instead of focusing on similarities?

President Trump was an incredibly divisive force in politics. I honestly hope that the division doesn’t become the new norm. I want to get back to politics that gets things done, and back to being the best version of us we can be. Utah, being a quite conservative state, has an excellent opportunity to be an example for the nation.

My biggest hope is that the next four years go by very quickly and with little damage. And, that it snows at some point!

Biggest fears: The racist and intolerant groups that have surfaced continue to grow and are successful in causing the American experiment to fail.

I hope people will realize these changes are not the end of the world and that every election that I’ve known has had people up in arms with fear and worry, and it always ends up being ok. Maybe everything isn’t done exactly as we think it should be done, but time passes and we survive and then there’s another election. Stay calm, stay kind!

My biggest hope is that we can come together as a country to address the biggest problems we face: climate change, voter suppression, inequality.

My biggest fear is that Republicans will continue to be the party of obstructionism and will put party over country and not work with the new administration to work on solving problems and improving our nation.

I don't have hope. I have lost hope because of the corruption in our government. All you have to do is listen to what Biden says and it's not hard to figure out that he is a communist and wants that for this great country. This truly is a sad day in my life and the life's of my children and grandchildren. I love my country and afraid it's gone forever.

I hope that the new administration gets COVID under control.

My hope - That somehow we could have a balanced budget.

Hope... I hope the Democrats don't push their agenda. My greatest fear is that they do.

My fear is that we will transition more to socialism. I worry that we will see huge increases in our taxes to pay for all sorts of welfare and social programs.

Martin Luther King Jr said that we can either choose chaos or community. I like how he reminds us that this is a choice. Chaos is my biggest fear. Community is my biggest hope.

Take climate change seriously and take concrete steps to eliminate the state’s carbon emissions.

What would I change about the state - Not a clue. But then that is why we vote for smart people.

I would want the Legislature to listen to voters, not donors.

Get rid of Romney.

Less Trump, more Mitt Romney thinking.

This is a decent state with good government. Radical changes don't seem to be in our best interests.

I think Utah is pretty reasonable. I just want to be able to join the wine of the. month club and buy wine at Costco!

Remove mandatory mask wearing. If I am worried about my health I will wear a mask and everyone else has the same option. Don't force me to wear a mask because of someone else's fear. They don't work any way. Lots of studies done. No vaccine mandate. Again, my healthy. My choice.

Stop underpaying teachers. There is no other reason why there is a major teacher shortage.
As a public school teacher, I make significantly less now than I did 6-8 years ago even though my rent has more than doubled in that time and health care premiums have skyrocketed.
After 20+ years of teaching, I'm considering either moving out-of-state or changing careers. Why should I stay in a profession where I am obviously not valued?

Things seem to be going fine.

State employees had their approved pay increase of 3% taken away last year due to concerns in tax revenues due to COVID. 22,000 employees were unhappy about this but did not protest or throw a fit. Now that revenues seem to be okay and you are talking about making tax cuts permanent don't forget the loyalty shown by State Employees to do our part in a crisis.

I believe education is all of our future! I think we as a society need to keep our natural resources protected. I think it is an insult to those of us who do not receive raises to even think about a pay raise for public employees! I had 3 sons out of work for the majority of this difficult year. We personally are just hanging on since I lost employment 2 1/2 years ago.

Use tax dollars to better the community not to make men rich.

I wish I knew what the answer is. I cannot personally afford a gas tax increase. My husband has to commute daily as the only income earner in our home. Lower gas prices it feels have just been eaten up by higher grocery prices.

With interest rates near zero, aren't bonds a "good buy?"

I am all about gun rights. Really that two hours is good to have people think about gun safety.

I grew up in Montana in the early days where carry weapons was about recreation and hunting. If you go into a gun shop today, you see mostly military style weapons. I was trained by the NRA in my youth and competed statewide. I am a Vietnam veteran and trained as a tank commander. I believe we need less guns on the street than more because it makes it easier for the bad people to get them. I think training and permits should be required and renewed periodically.

With respect to Concealed carry - Could this issue just possibly NOT be a key topic every legislative session?

I think racism is overblown and fomented by the media and people who benefit from stirring things up. If individuals were held accountable for their own actions, took responsibility for their actions, and if children had parental support for taking advantage of the education system so they could rise above poverty and leave the 'hood, the lives of all would be improved. Until a big deal was made about a person's skin, I didn't notice it myself. I prefer treating people equally.

Just by asking this question about racism it shows your lack of knowledge. Not only is it widespread it is also systemic both locally and nationally. The question should be how do we eliminate racism? Our white, privileged population in Utah must be better educated on diversity, equity and inclusion issues. The reality is that it is up to individuals to learn and change. Unfortunately most people in Utah not only oppose the Black Lives Matter movement but have no understanding what Diversity, Equity and Inclusion means for People of Color.

I do think racism is a widespread problem. I do believe we have made progress since beginning my career in 1960s. I think poverty and racism are related in the amount of distrust and anger. I do believe that public servants including police should match the makeup of the community that they serve as well as the management.

I’m white, but my husband’s friend is harassed every day in one way or another - stares, racial slurs, pulled over by the police for no reason, being followed around the stores by security. The list goes on. We need to realize that it would change how you felt just leaving your house.

I am very concerned about racism problems in our community. I do not know how to legislate personal convictions. I hope we can do a better job of educating younger generations.

How can anyone not think it's a problem? That baffles me.

I am a minority and have not experienced racism in Utah.

Regarding Racism - There are far too many facets here to adequately discuss in a survey.

Do you have an issue you would like to visit about?

To try an make it easier for you to visit with me about the issues that are important to you, I'm going to try something new -- OFFICE HOURS!

Each Saturday morning for the next month, I will have 15-minute appointment slots available from 9:30 to 10:30 each Saturday morning. If you would like to visit, just sign up for one of the slots. I will open a zoom meeting during that hour, and during your 15 minute slot, we can visit.

If people find this convenient, and it works well, I will see about keeping it going longer term.

This time slot is the hour following the weekly Saturday Morning Chat that Senator Weiler, Representative Ballard and I host on Facebook Live on the South Davis Community Facebook group every Saturday during the session.

So I will go directly from the online Townhall to the one-on-one appointments for whoever would like one.

Saturday Morning Chats on:
Feb 6th 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM.
Feb 13th 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM.
Feb 20th 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM.
Feb 27th. 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM.

One-on-One visits available by appointment here at 9:30, 9:45, 10:00 and 10:15 each Saturday immediately following.

Intern's Corner

How to Testify in a Committee Hearing Virtually.
Due to COVID-19, the Capitol has been closed to the public, making it difficult for people to testify on bills that they may be passionate about, or find interesting. I'm happy to say that although you aren't able to testify in person, you can do it virtually. This week we had an expert from Kanab testify in transportation on a bill over the computer. Prior to COVID, he would have had to drive 9 hours round trip to be able to testify.

Follow these simple steps to testify for a bill, or to listen to the committee meeting.
  1. Visit
  2. Click on Committees at the top of the page
  3. Select the committee responsible for the bill you are interested in.
  4. Find the Meeting where the bill will be heard that you care about. (The agendas for each meeting are only posted 24 hours in advance, so you need to be following the bill pretty closely, or be a member of an advocacy group that will let you know when the bill will get a hearing.
  5. Right underneath the Meeting title is a link to sign up for public comment. During the meeting, you can also click a link to just watch and listen to the meeting.