Friends,

We are days away from the 2018 Utah Legislative Session. This past year, I have continued to listen for problems facing Utahns and work on solutions I hope will make Utah a better place for everyone. This weekly newsletter will serve to keep you all in the loop about the 45-day session, and beyond.

Here are my goals for this newsletter:

·        Introduce my bills and legislative activity to you
·        Show support for good legislation
·        Shine a light on troubling legislation
·        Keep you all informed
·        Hear from you and respond to you
Supporting common-sense fireworks legislation for Utah
Burning forests and homes caused by fireworks in Utah set off alarm bells for many Utahns and several Utah legislators this summer – including me.

I set aside my bill to make changes to Utah’s fireworks laws in support of coming legislation proposed by Rep. Marie Poulson who saw some of her House District 46 constituents devastated by fires caused by fireworks. Salt Lake County dispatchers reported receiving at least 70 fireworks-related calls during the night of July 4 and morning of July 5. In addition, Utah’s firefighting costs ballooned to around $18 million – compared to the normal $9 million – due, in part, because of reckless firework use.

While Rep. Poulson leads the way, I am in support of legislation that would limit the number of legal days Utahns could use fireworks. I would also support a tax on aerial fireworks for safety education and fire prevention efforts.

Please reach out with thoughts, comments and concerns, which I will forward along to Rep. Poulson.
Cedar Mesa Citadel Ruins. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM
A monumental mistake

In a move that shattered precedent and ignored a chorus of diverse Native American voices, President Donald Trump alongside Utah’s congressional delegation stripped vital protections from some of Utah’s most precious lands on Dec. 4, drastically reducing Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Governor Gary Herbert and Utah’s congressional delectation maintained the now unprotected areas would not be subject to wider energy development but the newly exposed sites are rich in gas, oil and uranium. A uranium firm even lobbied the Trump administration to shrink Bears Ears, according to The Washington Post .

This likely illegal and unconstitutional move will get gummed up in courts by lawsuits, and hopefully overturned.

Can Rep. John Curtis’ promise to provide protection to Bears Ears from extractive industries make it unscathed through Congress? Is naming a national monument a Navajo name the best way to recognize the spiritual homeland of multiple tribes? They don’t think so, and neither do I. Stay tuned.
House Dems swarmed at The Hive
District 25 Rep. Joel Briscoe talks with Lee Stanhope, a constituent, after a meeting at The Hive.
One-on-one conversations about everything from education to water policy buzzed through the Utah House Democrats’ offices on Saturday during the minority caucus’s annual constituent event.

More than 30 Utahns spoke with 10 representatives at The Hive to voice their concerns before the 2018 Legislative Session. The event provided me another opportunity to hear about a wide variety of issues our citizens care deeply about. The House Democrats are listening and working hard for progressive solutions to issues both large and small.

Thank you to all who came to “bee heard.”
Rep. Briscoe seeking re-election to serve you
It has been a great honor to serve the people living in House District 25. I have been your advocate in support of clean air, water, and keeping and conserving our public lands. I have fought to preserve and strengthen our public schools. I want to continue to work on these issues that are so critically important to our community and state. I want to continue to advocate for cleaner air, healthier Utahns, better education and an economy that works for everyone.

Because some of my legislative initiatives will require more than one year to complete, on Jan. 2, I filed my intent to gather signatures to appear on the primary ballot in 2018. I hope I have earned your support.

There are exciting things coming to this legislative session. Please follow me here and on the social media sites below to see how I am representing you.
Rep. Joel Briscoe | House District 25 | 801-946-9791 | jbriscoe@le.utah.gov | joelbriscoe.com