Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

We have reached the last few days of the 2018 Legislative Session. Our state constitution mandates that the Legislature meets for 45 consecutive days each year. On midnight on March 8, we will finish the official business and then hear a number of speeches, from Governor Herbert and from our retiring members. I hope to be home by 2:30 am.

Between now and when we adjourn, I will be working from 5:00 am to very late at night debating bills, attending committee meetings, reading email, and reviewing legislation. As always, I will personally review all your email messages but probably will not have time to respond. If it is critical that you receive a response, please let me know. The best ways to reach me are described at the end of this message.

During the last few days of the session, there are often dramatic changes to bills that legislators do not have time to carefully analyze in a House committee hearing. Unless I am comfortable with legislation, I will often vote "no" even if it sounds like it might be good. More mistakes are made in the last few days of the legislative session than in the rest of the session combined. 

Below are a few of the bills and topics many of you have written me about during the last week.

3rd Sub HB 135 - Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Amendments

On Thursday Rep. Noel's bill 3rd Sub HB 135 - Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Amendments passed the full House with a vote of 42 - 26. I oppose this legislation and am working to try to defeat this bill in the Senate. Since some of you have asked, Senator Iwamoto also opposes this legislation. 

This legislation strips Salt Lake City's ability to protect the watershed that our region, not just SLC, depends on. For a century, SLC has protected our drinking water by having the ability stop to projects anywhere in the watershed that would negatively impact water quality. 3rd Sub HB 135 limits Salt Lake City's jurisdiction to within 300 feet of streams, which is not a large enough distance to protect our water.

3rd Sub HB 135 does not take long-term impacts into consideration and puts the desires of a few above the needs of cities along the Wasatch Front, putting water quality at risk. Protection of our drinking water is extremely important to our health and well-being.

HB 471 - Initiative Amendments

HB 471, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, delays the effective date of ballot initiatives that have been approved by a vote of the public in November. As many of you know, there are six initiatives that could potentially end up on the ballot this year. HB 471 changes the rules midstream.

During the debate in the House Government Operations Committee, Rep. Travis Segmiller expressed concern about giving citizens too much power to derail the Legislature's deliberative decision-making. He stated, "I'm nervous about the concept of empowering the citizenry to intervene so swiftly and rapidly as to even derail the deliberative and systematic processes of the Legislature".  

I have a very different perspective and responded during the debate that "I am not nervous about empowering the citizenry. I trust the public. The process to get an initiative on the ballot is already very difficult and needs to be respected."

The bill passed the committee with an 8-2 vote. I voted against the bill. So did Rep. Chavez-Houck, the other Democrat serving on the committee. Senator Iwamoto also opposes this legislation.

HB 479 - Zero Emission Vehicle Program

Many of you have written me about your difficulty finding an electric vehicle to purchase in Utah. Some of you have even driven to other states to buy them. HB 479, which I am cosponsoring, allows Utah to enter an interstate agreement, which will result in more electric vehicles being available for purchase in our state. HB 479 passed the House Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee unanimously and should be debated by the full House on Monday, March 5th.

HB 345 - Driving Under the Influence Amendments

This bill would delay the controversial .05 DUI limit until December 30, 2022 to provide extra time to study the best ways to implement, and hopefully amend, the new .05 law, which I opposed last year. There are many problems caused by changing the DUI limit. I would prefer to go back to the original .08 law, but there are not the votes to do that. I support HB 345. Unfortunately, it failed in committee after a contentious debate. 

HB 481 - Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway Designation

 Cartoon credit - Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon credit - Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Rep. Mike Noel just released a bill that would rename the Utah National Parks Highway to the Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway. I do not support this legislation for many reasons. We should not name a highway after one of the most controversial individuals to ever hold our highest office. 

Under President Trump, Bears Ears National Monument has been reduced to 16 percent, and Grand Staircase-Escalante to a little over half of its original size. During Trump's tenure, he has proposed massive budget cuts for the National Park System. He has very little interest in protecting public lands, water, or air.

The proposed highway slices through some of Utah's most scenic and beautiful lands in our state. And as someone who works in the tourist industry in that area, I am sure that many tourists will not want to drive on a highway with this new name. 

HB 481 will be debated in the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee on Monday at 10:10 a.m. On Friday, the House Democratic Caucus unanimously voted to not support this bill. Senator Iwamoto also opposes this legislation.

The Utah Schools Safety Commission

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On Thursday, Speaker Hughes announced the creation of a new Utah Schools Safety Commission. Many experts (not legislators) will be working together to discuss ways to ensure safer schools. The commission will make recommendations to the legislature. The goal is to pass legislation in a Special Session, well before the beginning of next school year. 

This is a start and more action than I have seen in years from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. However, I would prefer more immediate progress. In addition to safe schools, we also need to discuss broader issues involving firearms.

Representative Arent in the News


https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2018/02/28/lawmaker-wants-to-promote-good-information-by-restricting-public-employees-including-elected-school-board-members-from-talking-to-lawmakers/

https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2018/03/01/one-lawmaker-says-hes-nervous-about-empowering-the-citizenry-as-committee-pushes-bill-to-delay-effective-date-of-voter-initiatives/

http://kutv.com/news/local/eyebrow-raising-comments-by-new-utah-lawmaker

http://kuer.org/post/ballot-measures-inch-forward-lawmakers-look-delay-effective-dates#stream/0

https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2018/02/23/dominion-energy-lawmakers-want-to-add-fees-to-utahns-heating-bills-to-fund-new-gas-lines-in-rural-communities/ 

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900011211/house-approves-diesel-emissions-testing-in-utah-county.html

Visiting the Capitol

 Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews, the Cat in the Hat, and Rep. Arent on the birthday of Dr. Seuss, which the National Education Association honors as "Read Across America Day"   

Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews, the Cat in the Hat, and Rep. Arent on the birthday of Dr. Seuss, which the National Education Association honors as "Read Across America Day"

 

 Representative Arent, U of U student Logan Kiefer, and Senator Iwamoto at Research on Capitol Hill day

Representative Arent, U of U student Logan Kiefer, and Senator Iwamoto at Research on Capitol Hill day

 U of U student Mitch Johansen and Representative Arent at Research on Capitol Hill day

U of U student Mitch Johansen and Representative Arent at Research on Capitol Hill day

 4th Grade Students from Crestview Elementary 

4th Grade Students from Crestview Elementary 

Contacting Me

I have enjoyed hearing from you and encourage you to stay in touch. It is important to me to hear how I can best represent the residents of House District 36. The best way to reach me is through my email: parent@le.utah.gov. I personally read every email I receive, but during the session I often receive hundreds of emails a day, so I have included some tips for contacting me below. 

  • I always prioritize emails from my constituents in HD36. To ensure that your email gets priority reading please include your home address and bill number or name of the appropriations request in the subject line. 
  • Due to the amount of emails I receive in a day, I often don't have time to respond until my "free time" around 1:00 am. If your message is for informational purposes only and does not need a reply, please include that in your message. 
  • During the last week of the session, I will read your email, but may not have time to respond at all. If it is critical that you receive a response, please let me know.
  • Texting is best used to bring an immediate concern to my attention (i.e., a bill about which you have concerns and is about to be debated in a committee or by the full House). You can send a text to: 801-889-7849. Please include your name, home address, and brief concern. 
  • Calling should be used as a last resort. If you prefer to call, my cell number is 801-889-7849. Please understand that I am often not able to answer the phone, and by the time I am free it is often too late to call you back. If you can leave a voicemail message be sure to include your name, number, home address, and reason you called. 
  • If you come to the Capitol, I will try my best to come out to talk to you. It is my job to represent HD36 in debates and I take that position seriously. It can be difficult to leave the House Chambers or a committee meeting if we are debating an important bill. Be sure to put your email address and phone number on your "green slip" request so I can follow up with you if I can't make my way out to the House lobby. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes for those notes to get to me. 

It is an honor to serve as a member of the Utah State Legislature. 

 

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

We only have nine business days left in the Session, and as such, the pace at the Capitol has increased significantly. I am working hard to be well-informed about all pending legislation. At this point in the Legislative Session, it is easy for bad bills and amendments to sneak by. It is important that you stay involved and let legislators and the Governor know about your concerns. During the last few days of the session, I will be reviewing all my messages, but probably won't have much time to respond. Please review the information at the end of this message on the best ways to contact me.

1st Sub HB 269 - Identity Theft Provisions

I am the primary sponsor of HB 269, Identity Theft Provisions, which passed the House with a unanimous vote. This legislation increases penalties for those higher up the supply chain of identity theft, who have mass quantities of identification materials. 

Under HB 269, it will be a second-degree felony if an individual possesses, sells, or transfers any information necessary for the use of 100 or more financial transaction cards or identifying information with the intent to defraud or with the knowledge that someone else will use the information to defraud. Just as law treats distribution of drugs more seriously than simple possession, it should treat these mass identity harvesters of account and identification information more seriously than unlawful possession of one ID. 

HB 269 will be debated in the Senate Business and Labor Committee in their meeting on Monday, February 26th beginning at 8:00 a.m.

1st Sub HB148 - Tax Revisions

HB148, sponsored by Representative Tim Quinn, removes the 1.75% state sales tax on food. In order to compensate for the lost revenue, the bill raises the sales tax on all other products from 4.7% to 4.92%. Utah is one of only a few states that continues to tax food. Food is an essential item. Taxing it creates an undue burden on low income families. This bill passed the House after much debate, with a vote of 42-27-6. I supported this bill.

2nd Sub HB 101

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.59.30 AM.png

I am the Chief Sponsor of HB 101, which is an important piece of clean air legislation. The bill passed the House with a vote of 56-15-4. HB 269 focuses on reducing diesel vehicle emissions. It sets up a three-year pilot program for all nonattainment counties that test gasoline vehicles and are not testing diesel vehicle emissions. Currently, four of these five counties require both gasoline and diesel emissions testing. The county participating in the pilot program will have reporting requirements and the Division of Air Quality will provide analysis. 

HB 101 will be debated in the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Monday, February 26th in their meeting beginning at 4:00 p.m.

HB 148 - Death Penalty Amendments

This legislation prohibits the state from seeking the death penalty for aggravated murder committed before May 8, 2018, unless the state filed the notice of intent to seek the death penalty before May 8, 2018. It also prohibits the state from seeking the death penalty for aggravated murder committed after May 7, 2018. HB 148, sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer, passed the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee with a vote of 7-4 and will next be considered by the full House. I support this legislation.

Utah All-State High School Art Show

On Thursday I had the opportunity to see the work of two talented young artists in my district. Allison Sink and Bailey Willes are both students from Olympus High School who won Honorable Mention in the prestigious 46th Annual Utah All-State High School Art Show. I had the opportunity to meet with Allison, but unfortunately, Bailey was not able to come to the Capitol that day. Below you can find pictures of their beautiful art and a photo of Allison sitting with me on the House floor.

 Allison Sink and Rep. Arent

Allison Sink and Rep. Arent

 Allison Sink   Emory   Oil on Board   Olympus High School

Allison Sink 

Emory 

Oil on Board 

Olympus High School

 Bailey Willes   Boy   Watercolor   Olympus High School

Bailey Willes 

Boy 

Watercolor 

Olympus High School

 Mayor Jeff Silvestrini, who lead the pledge on Feb. 21st, Rep. Arent, and her son Josh Lipman, who gave the prayer.

Mayor Jeff Silvestrini, who lead the pledge on Feb. 21st, Rep. Arent, and her son Josh Lipman, who gave the prayer.

 Captain/Paramedic Tony Allred, who was honored at the annual Fire Caucus luncheon, Rep. Arent, and Assistant Chief Rand Andrus

Captain/Paramedic Tony Allred, who was honored at the annual Fire Caucus luncheon, Rep. Arent, and Assistant Chief Rand Andrus

 epresentative Arent and students from Crestview Elementary 4th Grade. Another 4th Grade class from Crestview also visited the Capitol, but unfortunately we did not get a photo of that group.

epresentative Arent and students from Crestview Elementary 4th Grade. Another 4th Grade class from Crestview also visited the Capitol, but unfortunately we did not get a photo of that group.

 Sheralee Petersen visited Rep. Arent on Physician Assistants Day on the Hill

Sheralee Petersen visited Rep. Arent on Physician Assistants Day on the Hill

Contacting Me

I have enjoyed hearing from you and encourage you to stay in touch. It is important to me to hear how I can best represent the residents of House District 36. The best way to reach me is through my email: parent@le.utah.gov. I personally read every email I receive, but during the session I often receive hundreds of emails a day, so I have included some tips for contacting me below.

  • I always prioritize emails from my constituents in HD36. To ensure that your email gets priority reading please include your home address and bill number or name of the appropriations request in the subject line.
  • Due to the amount of emails I receive in a day, I often don't have time to respond until my "free time" around 1:00 am. If your message is for informational purposes only and does not need a reply, please include that in your message. 
  • I may only have time to respond to messages that are personalized and are not template emails. I read form emails, but may not have time to respond if it is the same email as those sent by others. 
  • Texting is best used to bring an immediate concern to my attention (i.e., a bill about which you have concerns and is about to be debated in a committee or by the full House). You can send a text to: 801-889-7849. Please include your name, home address, and brief concern. 
  • Calling should be used as a last resort. If you prefer to call, my cell number is 801-889-7849. Please understand that I am often not able to answer the phone, and by the time I am free it is often too late to call you back. If you can leave a voicemail message be sure to include your name, number, home address, and reason you called. 
  • If you come to the Capitol, I will try my best to come out to talk to you. It is my job to represent HD36 in debates and I take that position seriously. It can be difficult to leave the House Chambers or a committee meeting if we are debating an important bill. Be sure to put your email address and phone number on your "green slip" request so I can follow up with you if I can't make my way out to the House lobby. So you will know, sometimes it takes 15 minutes for those notes to get to me. 

It is truly an honor for me to represent HD 36. I look forward to hearing from you throughout the rest of the session. 

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

There are only 18 days (including weekends) remaining as the Legislative Session enters its final stretch. With most bills still to be heard, the next few weeks are sure to be busy and productive. 

This is the time of the session that some of the worst bills sneak through with insufficient debate, so I am doing my best to carefully examine each piece of legislation. If you have any concerns over a bill, please contact me. Please review the information on contacting me at the end of this message. 

Below are a few bills that I have heard a lot about from you this week. I wish I could highlight all the interesting legislative news. You can follow our legislative debates, review legislation and funding requests, and find other committee materials on our award-winning legislative website: le.utah.gov

HCR 7 - Concurrent Resolution on Environmental and Economic Stewardship

 1st Sub HCR 7, a resolution committing Utah to recognize the impacts of climate change and take steps to mitigate harms, passed the House Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment Committee with a vote of 8-3.  It will next be debated by the full House.  

One of my favorite parts of the resolution is where it states: "that we should prioritize our understanding and use of sound science to address causes of a changing climate and support innovation and environmental stewardship in order to realize positive solutions." 

This is the first time a climate change resolution has passed a Utah legislative committee! I hope that this will be the start of serious discussion in the Legislature about climate change occurring in Utah and throughout the world, and what we can do to reduce the impacts. 

HB 330 - Communication Interception Amendments

HB 330, sponsored by Rep. Lowry Snow would have required that all parties give consent when being recorded, with a few exceptions. Currently, Utah requires that one person in a phone or face-to-face conversation must know if the discussion is being recorded. HB 330 would have changed that to "two-party consent," where both participants would need to know and give their okay to recording.

I had serious concerns about this legislation. After an outpouring of public commentary against this bill HB 330, it appears that HB 330 will not be moving forward this session. This is an excellent example of how the public can impact the progress of a bill. Constituent emails and other forms of public involvement truly are a vital part of the legislative process. 

Sending Martha to Washington

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.48.42 AM.png

Last Wednesday the House passed SCR1 - Concurrent Resolution Recommending Replacement of Statue of Philo Farnsworth in United States Capitol, sponsored by Senator Weiler. I spoke in favor of this resolution during the full House debate. 

With this bill's passage, the Utah State Legislature has shown its overwhelming support to have a statue of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon in the National Statuary Hall at the US Capitol. Her work as the first female state senator, physician, women's rights advocate, public health activist, suffragist, and politician deserves to be honored in Washington D.C. The cost of the new statue will be raised through private funds.

Meeting with the Consul General of Canada

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.53.39 AM.png

Consul General of Canada Stephane Lessard visited the Legislature last week. He discussed the strong relationship between our state and Canada and their desire to maintain excellent trade relations. Over 79,000 Utah jobs are tied to trade with Canada. And with the world's largest border between our two countries, no one is talking about building a wall.

Happy Presidents' Day

With Presidents' Day tomorrow, I have been reflecting on some of my favorite quotes from past presidents. Below is one that I think about a lot during the legislative session.  I would love to have you share your favorite presidential quotes with me.

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 8.55.14 AM.png

Representative Arent in the News

https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2018/02/14/amid-skepticism-utah-lawmakers-give-initial-support-to-adding-pollution-controls-for-trucks-and-trains/

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900010356/utah-house-passes-resolution-for-martha-hughes-cannon-statue-in-us-capitol.html

Contacting Me

I have enjoyed hearing from you and encourage you to stay in touch. It is important to me to hear how I can best represent the residents of House District 36. The best way to reach me is through my email:  parent@le.utah.gov I personally read every email I receive, but during the session I often receive hundreds of emails a day so I have included some tips for contacting me below.

  • I always prioritize emails from my constituents in HD36. To ensure that your email gets priority reading please include your home address and bill number or name of the appropriations request in the subject line. 
  • Due to the amount of emails I receive in a day, I often don't have time to respond until my "free time" around 1:00 am. If your message is for informational purposes only and does not need a reply, please include that in your message.
  • I may only have time to respond to messages that are personalized and are not template emails. I read form emails, but may not have time to respond if it is the same email as those sent by others.
  • Texting is best used to bring an immediate concern to my attention (i.e., a bill about which you have concerns and is about to be debated in a committee or by the full House). You can send a text to: 801-889-7849. Please include your name, home address, and brief concern.
  • Calling should be used as a last resort. If you prefer to call, my cell number is 801-889-7849. Please understand that I am often not able to answer the phone, and by the time I am free it is often too late to call you back. If you can leave a voicemail message be sure to include your name, number, home address, and reason you called.     
  • If you come to the Capitol, I will try my best to come out to talk to you. It is my job to represent HD36 in debates and I take that position seriously. It can be difficult to leave the House Chambers or a committee meeting if we are debating an important bill. Be sure to put your email address and phone number on your "green slip" request so I can follow up with you if I can't make my way out to the House lobby. So you will know, sometimes it takes 15 minutes for those notes to get to me.

Thank you again for the privilege of representing House District 36 in the Utah House of Representatives. 

 

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

We are just about to the halfway point of the 2018 Legislative Session. The pace has picked up and the session is now in high gear. 

It has been a pleasure hearing from you. I encourage you to continue to reach out to me. You can find information about the best way to contact me at the bottom of this email. 

Clean Air Press Conference

 Representative Arent and some of the members of the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus

Representative Arent and some of the members of the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus

Since I founded the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus almost five years ago, the Legislature has passed more clean air legislation than in the history of our state.  But there is still a lot more work to do. Last week legislators gathered for a Clean Air Caucus press conference to outline some of our plans to help combat air pollution. Sixteen proposals were presented. A few of these are highlighted below.

As many of you know, 48% of our air pollution comes from vehicle emissions. One of the clean air bills I am sponsoring this session,  2nd Sub HB 101, focuses on reducing diesel vehicle emissions. This legislation sets up a three-year pilot program for all nonattainment counties not currently testing diesel vehicle emissions. Currently, four of these five counties require both gasoline and diesel emissions testing. There will be reporting requirements and analysis from the Division of Air Quality (DAQ). 

Representative Romero's HB 171 increases penalties for vehicles that violate emission standards and improves reporting requirements. Rep. Eliason will introduce a bill to make it easier to purchase clean vehicles in Utah. Rep. Handy's HB 211 establishes a grant administered by DAQ for a pilot program to mitigate emissions from freight locomotive switchers. Senator Fillmore describes his SB 157, Residential Solar Amendments, as a "consumer protection bill for owners of rooftop solar systems."

Several appropriations requests were also highlighted. These included funding for air quality research and additional staffing for DAQ to help them better accomplish their mission. 

These were only a few of the great ideas mentioned at the press conference. Although over the past few years we have made progress, it is important we keep passing effective clean air legislation and funding. There is no silver bullet - no one piece of legislation will fix all our air pollution problems. 

1st Sub HB 269: Identity Theft Provisions

 Detective Kelly Shafto, Rep. Arent, and William Carlson, Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney

Detective Kelly Shafto, Rep. Arent, and William Carlson, Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney

Last week 1st Sub HB269 unanimously passed the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. As we all know, identity theft has become a widespread problem. The American Institute of CPAs recently surveyed Americans and found that half expect to lose money to identity theft in the next year, and 21% reported suffering identity theft or attempted identity theft in the last twelve months.

The goal of 1st Sub HB 269 is to stop the unlawful collection and distribution of personal identification information. Current laws target those who wrongly use a few IDs and accounts of others. It is time to also stop their suppliers. The bill focuses on criminals who have collected hundreds or even thousands of personal identifications and accounts. They then sell personal data to identity thieves. Just as our laws treat the distribution of drugs more seriously than simple possession, our laws should also treat the unlawful distribution of personal account and identification information more seriously than unlawful possession of one card.

This bill truly has been a collaborative effort. I would like to thank Millcreek Mayor Silvestrini, prosecutors, defense lawyers, detectives from the Unified Police Department, federal postal officials, and the many others who are working with me on this legislation. 

You can track the status and find the bill text here.

1st Sub HB 169: Commercial Waste Fee Amendments

1st Sub HB 169, sponsored by Rep. Knotwell, passed the full House. I opposed this legislation. It reduces the fees that Energy Solutions pays for the Permitting and Inspection Program run by the Department of Environmental Quality, and instead requires that taxpayers pay these costs - to the tune of $1.7 million per year. While Energy Solutions claims they need this reduction to remain competitive, I cannot support this corporate tax break. 

This bill passed the House by a vote of 61 to 11. You can track the status and find the bill text here.

HB 205: Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act

HB 205, sponsored by Rep. Lisonbee, passed the House by a vote of 54 to 17. I voted against this legislation. This legislation restricts medical doctors in Utah from performing abortions when a pregnant person seeks the procedure due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. I have a number of objections to this legislation. In addition, I was particularly concerned about the process limiting debate. It was introduced just as we were supposed to end our time as a full House to debate bills and we all needed to get to our committees, where the public was waiting to testify on legislation. After HB 205 was introduced, we considered one substitute bill, which did not pass. When it came time to debate the actual bill, no one was allowed to speak against HB 205, which I had planned to do. 

The Legislature's General Counsel office carefully examined this bill and attached a review note on HB 205 saying it was highly probable the legislation would be declared unconstitutional. Unfortunately, no one could address this issue in the House debate before the vote took place.

You can track the status and find the bill text here.

Town Hall Meeting Report

 Sen. Zehnder, Sen. Iwamoto, Rep. Arent, Rep. Moss, Rep. Poulson, and Doug Wright

Sen. Zehnder, Sen. Iwamoto, Rep. Arent, Rep. Moss, Rep. Poulson, and Doug Wright

It was great to see so many of you last week at the Town Hall Meeting that I hosted with Sen. Iwamoto, Sen. Zehnder, Rep. Moss and Rep. Poulson. It is always wonderful to meet with constituents who care about our community. The state legislative issues we discussed included efforts to improve air quality and education, vehicle fees, public initiatives and the need to protect our national monuments.

We were all thrilled with the strong showing of support and interest. Many thanks to KSL's Doug Wright for moderating the evening and to Holladay City for hosting our meeting.

Representative Arent in the News

https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2018/02/08/commentary-robert-gehrke-is-wrong-there-are-more-than-three-powerful-women-in-utah/

https://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=46256796

http://fox13now.com/2018/02/06/bipartisan-group-of-lawmakers-team-up-to-clean-utahs-air/ 

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/02/07/lawmakers-want-to-stop-your-car-from-polluting-and-hire-a-few-more-air-scientists/ 

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900009589/utah-lawmakers-push-for-bevy-of-clean-air-measures.html

http://www.good4utah.com/news/politics/state-lawmakers-unveil-plan-to-address-air-quality/955214503

http://upr.org/post/recent-study-finds-correlation-between-pneumonia-and-inversions-along-wasatch-front

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900009186/utah-lawmakers-honor-christine-durham-retired-utah-supreme-court-justice.html

http://universe.byu.edu/2018/01/28/hb101-proposed-bill-require-diesel-emissions-testing-utah-county/ 

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900008738/2018-legislature-will-offer-smorgasbord-of-environmental-issues.html

http://upr.org/post/utah-lawmakers-talk-emissions-2018-legislative-session

Visiting the Capitol

 Kathleen Kaufman with Utah Nurses Association and Rep. Arent

Kathleen Kaufman with Utah Nurses Association and Rep. Arent

 Rep. Arent and the Millcreek Girl Scout Troup

Rep. Arent and the Millcreek Girl Scout Troup

 Former State Senator Pat Jones, Rep. Moss and Rep. Arent

Former State Senator Pat Jones, Rep. Moss and Rep. Arent

 Sasha Lux-Morgan and Rep. Arent

Sasha Lux-Morgan and Rep. Arent

Contacting Me

I have enjoyed hearing from you and encourage you to stay in touch. It is important to me to hear how I can best represent the residents of House District 36. The best way to reach me is through my email: parent@le.utah.gov. I personally read every email I receive, but during the session I often receive hundreds of emails a day so I have included some tips for contacting me below.

  • I always prioritize emails from my constituents in HD36. To ensure that your email gets priority reading please include your home address and the bill number or name of the appropriations request in the subject line. 
  • Due to the amount of emails I receive in a day, I often don't have time to respond until my "free time" around 1:00 am. If your message is for informational purposes only and does not need a reply, please include that in your message.
  • I may only have time to respond to messages that are personalized and are not template emails. I read form emails, but may not have time to respond if it is the same email as those sent by many others.
  • Texting is best used to bring an immediate concern to my attention (i.e., a bill about which you have concerns is about to be debated in a committee or by the full House).
  • Calling should be used as a last resort.  If you prefer to call, my cell number is 801-889-7849. Please understand that I am often not able to answer the phone, and by the time I am free it is often too late to call you back. If you leave a voicemail message be sure to include your name, number, home address, and reason you called.  
  • If you come to the Capitol, I will try my best to come out to talk to you. It is my job to represent HD36 in debates and I take that position seriously. It can be difficult to leave the House Chambers or a committee meeting if we are debating an important bill. Be sure to put your email address and phone number on the note you send in to me so I can follow up with you if I cannot make my way out to the House lobby. So you will know, sometimes it takes 15 minutes for those notes to get to me.

It is an honor to represent House District 36. I look forward to hearing from you in the next few weeks. Just a reminder - our annual general session ends on March 8.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

The second week of the Legislative Session was filled with many interesting issues as a number of important bills were debated in committees and by the full House and Senate. You can find all of this legislation on our legislative website.

Our deadline for opening new bills has now passed. With the record number of bill files that have been opened, it is unlikely that all the bills requested will be drafted before it is too late for them to get a hearing this session. 

It is always important for me to hear from my constituents on legislation we are considering during the session. Information on how to contact me is at the end of this message.

Town Hall Meeting - Wednesday, February 7th

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HB12: Family Planning Services Amendments

On Tuesday, HB12, which I cosponsored, passed the full House. This bill allows low-income individuals to enroll in family planning services, including the placement of IUDs immediately after childbirth. If the bill passes the Legislature, approximately 28,000 women will be able to take advantage of these services. Other states that have implemented similar legislation have seen government savings and better outcomes for women who qualify to receive these programs. 

After a lengthy debate, the bill passed the full House with a 53 to 21 vote. Rep. Ray Ward is the Chief Sponsor of this legislation. HB12 has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. You can access the bill text and track its status here

HB41: Mental Health Crisis Line Amendments

A bill to ensure that Utahns calling a crisis hotline will find someone on the other end of the phone unanimously passed the House on Wednesday. I am a co-sponsor of HB 41, which creates a single crisis phone number across the state. It also creates basic standards for staffing and operations for statewide and local crisis services. 

Suicide among 10-17 year olds has risen 22.8% from 2011 to 2015. Crisis services are a proven method to save lives. It is vital that Utahns who need help in a moment of crisis are able to talk to a qualified mental health expert 24/7. 

Rep. Steve Eliason is the Chief sponsor of this legislation. HB41 will soon be heard in the Senate. You can find the text and track the status of the bill here

HCR6: Concurrent Resolution Honoring Justice Christine Durham

 Representative Arent and Former Chief Justice Christine Durham 

Representative Arent and Former Chief Justice Christine Durham 

On Thursday HCR6: Concurrent Resolution Honoring Former Chief Justice Christine M. Durham, unanimously passed the House and the Senate. I was honored to serve as the Chief Sponsor of this resolution.

Justice Durham is truly one of the most outstanding Utahns in our state's history and has been described by our current Chief Justice as "doing more for the state's judiciary than anyone who has ever served in it." She was the first woman and youngest person to be appointed to a court of general jurisdiction in our state. Justice Durham later became the first woman appointed to the Utah Supreme Court and the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court. Last year she retired after an incredible 39 year career on the bench. 

I ran this resolution to honor her great work, which also includes a lengthy list of awards and accomplishments on the national level. Justice Durham is known for her brilliance, inspired leadership, incredible civility, compassion, work ethic, humility, common sense, and impeccable integrity. Her deep commitment to our state and the positive impact she has had on justice will be felt for generations.

You can find the text of the resolution here

HB 169: Commercial Waste Fee Amendments

HB 169, sponsored by Rep. Knotwell, will be debated by the full House in the next few days. This bill reduces, by $1.7 million dollars, fees that EnergySolutions pays to fund the permitting and inspection program run by the Department of Environmental Quality, and instead requires that those costs be covered by our state taxes. While EnergySolutions claims they need this tax break to remain competitive, I question why they need this reduction and am concerned that the result could be more radioactive waste in Utah.

You can find the text and track the status of the bill 

Utah Legislature 101

With the current political climate, I have had more constituents emailing me than in the past. I am thrilled by the growing level of engagement, and I want to ensure that it continues. I know that getting involved during the legislative session can be daunting at first. Our award-winning website, le.utah.gov, provides everything from committee schedules, to the text of bills and links to the debates. Below are some links to information that will help you learn more about the Legislative process:

About the Utah Code

How Ideas Become Bills, Then Law

How to Read a Bill  

Legislative Resolutions

Legislative Committees

Testifying Before a Committee

Bills, Budgets, & Fiscal Notes

Performance Audits

Getting Involved

Glossary of Legislative Terms

Visiting the Capitol

 

 The Utah Supreme Court: Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice Pearce, Justice Petersen, and Justice Himonas

The Utah Supreme Court: Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice Pearce, Justice Petersen, and Justice Himonas

 Professor Mary Ann Lee, Director of the Tanner Dance Program, testifying at the Public Education Appropriations Committee

Professor Mary Ann Lee, Director of the Tanner Dance Program, testifying at the Public Education Appropriations Committee

 Intern Abigail Mower and Southern Utah University Education and Shakespeare Studies Director Michael Barr

Intern Abigail Mower and Southern Utah University Education and Shakespeare Studies Director Michael Barr

 Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and three men whose lives have been changed by Operation Rio Grande, testifying in the House Democratic Caucus

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and three men whose lives have been changed by Operation Rio Grande, testifying in the House Democratic Caucus

Contacting Me

I have enjoyed hearing from you and encourage you to stay in touch. It is important to me to hear how I can best represent the residents of House District 36. The best way to reach me is through my email: parent@le.utah.gov. I personally read every email I receive, but during the session I often receive hundreds of messages a day so I have included some tips for contacting me below.

  • I always prioritize email from my constituents in HD36. To ensure that your message gets priority reading, please include your home address and the bill number or name of the appropriations request in the subject line. 
  • Due to the amount of emails I receive in a day, I often don't have time to respond until my "free time" around 1:00 am. If your message is for informational purposes only and does not need a reply, please include that in your message.
  • I may only have time to respond to messages that are personalized and are not template emails. I read form emails, but may not have time to respond if it is the same email as those sent by others.
  • Texting is best used to bring an immediate concern to my attention (i.e., a bill about which you have concerns and is going to be debated in a committee or by the full House in the next few hours).
  • Calling should be used as a last resort. If you prefer to call, my cell number is 801-889-7849. Please understand that I am often not able to answer the phone, and by the time I am free it is often too late to call you back. If you leave a voicemail message, be sure to include your name, number, home address, and the reason you called.  
  • If you come to the Capitol, I will try my best to come out to talk to you. It is my job to represent HD36 in debates and I take that position seriously. It can be difficult to leave the House Chambers or a committee meeting if we are debating an important bill. Be sure to put your email address and phone number on your "green slip" request so I can follow up with you if I can't make my way out to the House lobby.  So you will know, sometimes it takes 15 minutes for those notes to get to me.

It is truly an honor for me to represent HD 36. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at our Town Meeting.

 

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

The 2018 Utah Legislative Session is off to a great start. The first week was busy and exciting, as the legislature began to debate the record number of bills that have been filed this session. This year I am working on topics that span from A to Z - air quality, elections law, identity theft, renewable energy development, zoo funding, and many more issues.

I want to hear from you concerning bills or funding issues. I am your voice during the session and want to make sure that I know your opinions on the issues facing the legislature. Please review the suggestions under "Contacting Me" in the lower part of this email before sending me a message. 

Upcoming Town Hall Meeting

Along with some of my House and Senate colleagues, I will be holding a Town Hall Meeting on February 7th from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Big Cottonwood Room at the Holladay City Hall, located at 4580 S 2300 East, Holladay, UT 84117.

Rep. Moss, Rep. Poulson, Sen. Iwamoto, Sen. Zehnder, and I will be there to discuss what is going on at the Capitol and answer your questions. KSL's Doug Wright will moderate, as he has in past years. I always enjoy participating in these town hall meetings and I would love to see you there! 

HB16 - Candidate Replacement Amendments

 Representative Arent introducing HB16

Representative Arent introducing HB16

On the first day of the session, one of the bills I am sponsoring, HB16 - Candidate Replacement Amendments, passed unanimously through the House. HB16 addresses the issue that occurs when a candidate withdraws from a non-partisan municipal or a non-partisan county race and only one candidate remains on the ballot, leaving voters with no alternative option. Working with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, the Utah Association of Counties, the County Clerks, and the Lieutenant Governor's office, HB16 was drafted to resolve this issue.

HB16 establishes a method by which an alternative candidate can appear on the ballot if that vacancy occurs after a primary. It also removes a provision in current law which prohibits a candidate from withdrawing from a race within 23 days of the election. The Lieutenant Governor's office described this provision as unenforceable.

HB16 has been assigned to the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee, where it will be debated next Tuesday afternoon. The text and status of the bill can be found here.

HB38- Fireworks Legislation

HB38, sponsored by Rep. Dunnigan, passed the House last week. This legislation restricts the number of days that fireworks are permitted. It permits fireworks two days before and one day after the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day, and would continue to allow fireworks on Chinese New Year. It also allows local jurisdictions more power to restrict fireworks around vulnerable areas like waterways, canyons, trails and washes, and increases fines. Although I supported this legislation, I do not think it goes far enough to safeguard our communities from fires and help mitigate air pollution.  

Rep. Marie Poulson proposed an amendment, which I supported, that would have allowed cities to impose an outright ban on fireworks under certain circumstances. The amendment failed. 

Many thanks to those of you who contacted me about this bill. I appreciate all the hard work Mayor Jeff Silvestrini put into this legislation. I am already working with Rep. Dunnigan to review, during our 2018 interim meetings, on issues caused by private fireworks.

You can find the text and track the status of the bill here

HB180 - Art Collection Committee Amendments

 Director of Public Art for the State Jim Glenn and Rep. Arent   

Director of Public Art for the State Jim Glenn and Rep. Arent

 

On Friday, one of the bills I am sponsoring, HB180 - Art Collection Committee Amendments, was heard in the House Government Operations Committee. HB180 changes the name of the "Utah State Alice Art Collection" to the "State of Utah Alice Merrill Horne Art Collection". It is important that we honor the substantial work Representative Horne did for the state by including her full name in the collection.

Rep. Horne was a preservationist, environmentalist, and suffragette. A strong supporter of education, she passed legislation to set aside the land grant for the University of Utah. She also passed a Clean Milk for Utah campaign that resulted in more rigid inspection standards for milk sold in the state.

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A talented artist, Rep. Horne presented hundreds of fine art exhibitions in many venues. She formed 37 collections of Utah art in public schools, so that all children, no matter their parents' means, would have direct contact with original art. Horne established an annual statewide visual arts competition through which artworks by Utah artists are purchased for a permanent state art collection. This competition continues today. 2018 celebrates the 150th anniversary of Alice Merrill Horne's birth.

HB180 received a unanimous favorable recommendation from the House Government Operations Committee and will be heard by the full House next week. You can access the bill text and track the status of the bill here

My New Intern - Abigail Mower

 Abigail Mower and Representative Arent on Animal Print Friday

Abigail Mower and Representative Arent on Animal Print Friday

My intern this session is Abigail Mower. Abigail is a sophomore at Westminster College majoring in political science, as well as a resident of District 36. You can reach Abigail through her email, mmower@le.utah.gov, or by calling her cell (385) 441-0560.

Contacting Me

I always love to hear from my constituents, so please feel encouraged to reach out to me throughout the session about any questions or concerns you may have. The best way to reach me is through my email: parent@le.utah.gov. I personally read every email I receive, but during the session, I often receive hundreds of emails a day so I have included some tips for contacting me below.

  • I always prioritize emails from my constituents in HD36. To ensure that your email gets priority reading please include your home address and bill number or name of the appropriations request in the subject line. 
  • Due to the number of emails I receive in a day, I often don't have time to respond until my "free time" around 1:00 am. If your message is for informational purposes only and does not need a reply, please include that in your message.
  • I may only have time to respond to messages that are personalized and are not template emails.  I read form emails, but may not have time to respond if it is the same email as those sent by others.
  • Texting is best used to bring an immediate concern to my attention (i.e., a bill about which you have concerns and is about to be debated in a committee or by the full House).
  • Calling should be used as a last resort.  If you prefer to call, my cell number is 801-889-7849. Please understand that I am often not able to answer the phone, and by the time I am free it is often too late to call you back. If you can leave a voicemail message be sure to include your name, number, home address, and the reason you called.                                                                      
  • If you come to the Capitol, I will try my best to come out to talk to you. It is my job to represent HD36 in debates and I take that position seriously. It can be difficult to leave the House Chambers or a committee meeting if we are debating an important bill. Be sure to put your email address and phone number on your "green slip" request so I can follow up with you if I can't make my way out to the House lobby.  So you will know, sometimes it takes 15 minutes for those notes to get to me.

Visiting the Capitol

 Asher Ireland and Rep. Arent on Utah History Day

Asher Ireland and Rep. Arent on Utah History Day

 State History Director Brad Westwood, Rep. Arent, and Jacob Simmons

State History Director Brad Westwood, Rep. Arent, and Jacob Simmons

 Rep. Arent with Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman and members of Congregation Kol Ami

Rep. Arent with Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman and members of Congregation Kol Ami

 Rep. Arent, Rep. Ward, and Abigail Mower with students from West High School, the McGillis School and School for the Performing Arts at Climate Solutions for a Healthy Future hearing.

Rep. Arent, Rep. Ward, and Abigail Mower with students from West High School, the McGillis School and School for the Performing Arts at Climate Solutions for a Healthy Future hearing.

 Rep. Arent with the ASUU Government Relations Board on Higher Education Day

Rep. Arent with the ASUU Government Relations Board on Higher Education Day

 Rep. Arent and David Burton, Chairman of the University of Utah Board of Trustees

Rep. Arent and David Burton, Chairman of the University of Utah Board of Trustees

It is truly an honor for me to represent HD 36. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at our Town Meeting.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

Tonight at midnight we will reach the end of the 2017 Legislative Session. We will not meet again as a full Legislature until next January, unless Governor Herbert calls us into a Special Session or the Legislature decides to have a veto override session. We will, however, still meet for regular meetings (described below) throughout the year.

I will continue to do my best to stay in touch with you and hope you will do the same with me. I appreciate hearing from you all times of the year about issues that are important to you. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the coming months.

 

The Process from Here

While many bills will be passed by both the House and Senate during the session, that does not mean that they will have become law quite yet. Before they reach that status, they must first be considered by Governor Herbert. When considering a bill, the governor has three options: sign the bill and make it law; refrain from signing the bill for 20 days, after which it becomes law; or veto the legislation. So if you have concerns about bills or appropriations that passed this session, now is the time to contact Governor Herbert and ask him to veto the bill.

If the governor chooses to veto a bill, the legislature then has the option of calling a veto override session. If that happens and the vetoed bill passes with the support of two-thirds of legislators in both houses, it then becomes law. Veto override sessions are rather rare, but they are occasionally held. 

 

End of Session Updates

The Legislature's award-winning website allows you to search for all bills considered this year, as well as in past sessions. By using the search bar at the top of the webpage, you can find a bill's page, which shows the text of the bill and other information about the legislation. If you click on "status" at the top of the bill's page, you can find each step of the process the bill has passed through. If the most recent status of the bill is listed as "prepared for enrolling," that means the bill is awaiting the governor's consideration. If it says "signed by the governor," then the bill is now a law. Most laws take effect 60 days after the session ends.

Also, tomorrow our website will contain reports prepared by our staff summarizing which bills passed and failed and the major bills passed during the session. Budget information will also be available.

We had a fairly good year for clean air legislation and appropriations. You can find the status of the session's proposed clean air bills and appropriation requests here. The column on the far right will list the status of the legislation and appropriations as of late tonight. But things could change before midnight, so always check the status on the legislative website.

 

Upcoming Interims, Committees and Task Force Meetings

While the Legislature is constitutionally-bound to only meet as a body to pass legislation for 45 days a year, we still meet the rest of the year to consider bills and appropriations for the next legislative session. Except for April and November, legislators will meet on the third Wednesday of each month to consider proposed legislation. These are called "Interim meetings." I encourage you to write me about your ideas for proposed legislation and any bills you may have concerns with that are being considered during Interim meetings. As always, you can find our agendas on our website: www.le.utah.gov

We will be traveling during our April Interim meeting to learn about issues in rural Utah. The two-day site visit will include stops in Piute, Millard, Iron, Garfield and Sevier counties.

Various other committees and task forces will also meet periodically throughout the year. I already have a variety of assignments and anticipate receiving a few more by April.

The bipartisan Clean Air Caucus will meet most Tuesday nights before our monthly Interim meetings. We welcome your ideas on how to improve our air quality.

 

Money Owed to You

Occasionally I like to share useful tips that I learn up at the Capitol. The state provides a lot of helpful services that not many people are aware of yet. One such service is MyCash.Utah.gov, a website that helps Utahns find "lost" money that is owed to them. Each year millions of unclaimed dollars are turned over to the State Treasurer from a variety of sources, such as unused bank accounts or uncashed insurance checks. 

By following this link, you can enter your first and last name and the website will search the state's database to see if there is any unclaimed money that belongs to you. Now aren't you glad you're on this mailing list?

 

Visitors at the Capitol

    House District 36 constituents visited for International Women's Day

 

House District 36 constituents visited for International Women's Day

 Public testimony on HJR 18 - Joint Resolution on Economic and Environmental Stewardship

Public testimony on HJR 18 - Joint Resolution on Economic and Environmental Stewardship

    House Pages work hard all session!

 

House Pages work hard all session!

 Former Utah Senate Intern and constituents Bryce Whittaker and his sons

Former Utah Senate Intern and constituents Bryce Whittaker and his sons

 

Thank You

As the Legislative Session concludes, I want to thank you for the extraordinarily helpful input that I have received from so many of you. As I have said before - your comments help me more effectively represent you in state government. 

I began the session with a binder on my desk in the House Chamber which contained copies of many of your email messages. As the session continued, that binder became a bigger binder, and that binder then became two binders. During debates, I would constantly refer to your messages to know what some you thought about legislation we were considering. Your input truly helped me understand many issues that were new to me. For that, I am very thankful.

I also want to thank my incredible intern, Christian Mower, for his help on these updates and all his other amazing work before and during the session. He is an incredibly talented, bright and hard-working student. I have truly been lucky to have such great assistance on the hill.

After the session, my updates will be less regular, but I encourage you to stay in touch with me about matters that are important to you. I will continue to read all your messages and work to improve the quality of life in our state. 

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

We have reached the last few days of the 2017 Legislative Session. Our state constitution mandates that the Legislature meet for 45 consecutive days each year. On March 9 at midnight, we will finish business and adjourn. Between now and when we adjourn, I will be working from 5:00 a.m. to very late in the night debating bills, attending committee meetings, reading email and reviewing legislation. As always, I will personally review all your email messages, but probably will not have time to respond. If it is critical that you receive a response, please let me know.

During the last few days of the session there are often dramatic changes to bills that legislators do not have time to read and that have not been carefully analyzed in a House committee hearing. Unless I am comfortable with legislation, I will often vote "no" even if it sounds like it might be good. More mistakes are made in the last few days of the legislative session than in the rest of the session combined. 

 

Election Law Legislation

There has been more legislation dealing with elections issues than I have seen in the past. In an earlier weekly message, I described HB 204 - Presidential Primary Amendments, which passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate. Two other campaign bills that you may not have heard about yet are listed below.

HB 160 - Campaign Contribution Solicitation Amendments: Government resources should not be used for political purposes. But there have been instances of elected officials using their government email to solicit campaign funds. I had always thought that this was prohibited, but our current law is not clear on that point. HB 160, which I sponsored this session, will make it clear that using a government email to solicit campaign funds is illegal.

HB 160 received unanimous support in both the House and Senate. It will next go to the Governor for his consideration.

HB 133 - Candidate Filing Requirements: Last year Evan McMullin was one of the candidates running for President of the United States on the Utah ballot. His running mate for Vice President was listed as "Nathan Johnson." The problem with this is that the name "Nathan Johnson" was a placeholder. McMullin's real running mate was Mindy Finn. 

HB 133 would require the actual name of the vice presidential candidate to appear on the Utah ballot. What a novel idea! Rep. Carol Spackman Moss is the sponsor of this legislation. I am cosponsoring this legislation, which passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor.

 

Clean Air Legislation

There are many clean air bills and appropriations requests working their way through the House and Senate. A full list and the current status of the legislation can be found here. We will continue to update this list through the end of the session.

HB 29 proposed extending Utah's energy efficient vehicle tax credit, which expired at the end of 2016. The bill lost by one vote. I strongly supported this clean air legislation.

 

Bills of Interest

HB 395 - Health Insurance Amendments: I have received many email messages and phone calls about HB 395, which has already been "substituted" (revised) a number of times by the sponsor, Rep. Dunnigan. This bill allows certain insurance companies to set rates rather than negotiate with physicians, hospitals and physician groups for care provided in emergency settings and other out-of-network situations. 

This is an extremely complex piece of legislation that could have some unintended consequences, particularly in the rural parts of our state. I am not comfortable with the latest version of this bill and think this topic needs additional study during our Interim meetings. But keep watching because negotiations are ongoing on this controversial bill.

HB 369 - Sexual Offenses and Statutory Nonconsent Amendments: A bill that you may not have heard about passed the House late Friday afternoon. I thought you might be interested in some of the language in HB 369:

(1) A person commits nonconsensual sexual conduct when the person engages in sexual intercourse or any sexual act involving the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person, regardless of the sex of either participant, and:

(a) the actor knows that the actor is infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus; and

(b) the actor engages in the sexual conduct knowing that the victim is unaware of the actor's infected status.

(2) Nonconsensual sexual conduct is a class A misdemeanor.

I have many concerns about this legislation. It singles out one disease, not others that are sexually transmitted such as gonorrhea or syphilis. HB 369 also fails to recognize that people infected with HIV may not be contagious due to treatment or could be taking other precautions during sexual intercourse.

I voted against HB 369, but it passed the House. It now goes to the Senate for their consideration. The Chief Sponsor is Rep. Justin Fawson.

 

Art at the Capitol

Each week we are trying to highlight a few pieces of art you can find as you walk through our beautiful State Capitol.

 Winter Landscape is a 1970 piece by artist Everett C. Thorpe. Thorpe began his career as a sports illustrator for The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News.

Winter Landscape is a 1970 piece by artist Everett C. Thorpe. Thorpe began his career as a sports illustrator for The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News.

  Philo T. Farnsworth is credit as the inventor of the modern television, which he pioneered in Utah. This same statue can also be found in the United States Capitol.

 Philo T. Farnsworth is credit as the inventor of the modern television, which he pioneered in Utah. This same statue can also be found in the United States Capitol.

 

Visitors at the Capitol

 Students from Roosevelt Elementary came to visit for Read Across America Day.

Students from Roosevelt Elementary came to visit for
Read Across America Day.

 University of Utah football players Mason Woodward, Logan Bateman and Dakota Baker read to students at the Capitol.

University of Utah football players Mason Woodward, Logan Bateman and Dakota Baker read to students at the Capitol.

  Former U of U and Weber State football coach, Rob McBride


Former U of U and Weber State football coach, Rob McBride

 Karen Kempe, a teacher in House District 36

Karen Kempe, a teacher in House District 36

 Jewish and Unitarian Universalist Day on the Hill

Jewish and Unitarian Universalist Day on the Hill

 Ashley Koford, a high school student, has been  helping me on Fridays.

Ashley Koford, a high school student, has been
helping me on Fridays.

 

In the News

House pulls plug on tax credit for energy efficient vehicles

Idea for runoff election killed after Utah GOP reneges on deal

New emissions requirement targeting Utah County nears passage

After caucus chaos, lawmaker wants Utah to pay for primaries

House passes alcohol bill sponsor says was lesson in 'collaboration and finding balance'

A milestone at the Utah Legislature

'Zion curtain' alcohol reform bill zips through House

 

I appreciate getting your input on the many bills and appropriations requests that are still pending. As I mentioned earlier, during the last few days of the session, I personally read every message, but have very limited time to respond. Please remember to include your home address on all email messages.

It is an honor to serve as a member of the Utah State Legislature. 

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

With only nine business days left in the Legislative Session, the pace at the Capitol has increased significantly. I am working hard to be well informed about all the bills that I will be voting on. Many bad bills and amendments sneak through during this time, so it is important that you stay involved and let legislators and the Governor know about your concerns.

 

HB 206 - Domestic Violence Weapons Restrictions

According to the Utah Department of Health, a Utahn is killed by their domestic partner every 33 days. This is unacceptable. Thankfully, Representative Brian King is sponsoring legislation that seeks to make this less likely to happen. HB 206 replicates existing federal law regarding weapons restrictions, making it illegal for individuals convicted of domestic violence to possess a firearm.

 

By passing this statute in Utah, we strengthen our ability to enforce these restrictions and protect innocent people. This bill will help get deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals, protecting their spouses, children and domestic partners from harm. I am co-sponsoring this legislation, which passed the House unanimously and will next be considered in the Senate. I should mention that it is very unusual to have any firearms legislation pass with no negative votes.

 

Clean Air Legislation

There are a number of clean air bills and appropriations requests working their way through the House and Senate. A full list and the current status of the legislation can be found here. We will continue to update this list.

HCR 18 - Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Utahns to Consider the Smog Rating When Purchasing a Vehicle

Earlier this week, the Senate Government Operation Committee debated HCR 18, a bill I am sponsoring which encourages consumers to consider the "smog rating" when purchasing a vehicle. Much like a fuel efficiency rating, cars manufactured since 2013 have a rating from 1-10 which measures vehicle tailpipe emissions that contribute to air pollution. The smog rating can be found on the right side of the Fuel Economy and Environmental window sticker on vehicles that are for sale. Older models have emissions information under the hood. A vehicle with a rating of 1 produces the most emissions and a vehicle with a rating of 10 emits the least. More information can be found here.  

Nearly half of our air pollution comes from motor vehicles. Purchasing a vehicle with a high smog rating is one of the most effective things an individual can do to help improve our air quality. Transitioning from a vehicle with a smog rating of 5 to one with a rating of 8 results in the equivalent of driving 11,000 fewer miles a year with respect to air pollution.

HCR 18 passed the House, a Senate committee, and will next be considered by the full Senate. Many thanks to my Senate Floor Sponsor, Sen. Brian Shiozawa, for working with me to help raise the profile of smog ratings.

HB 134 - Emissions Testing Amendments

HB 134 (discussed in an earlier email) passed the House late Friday after a very spirited debate. This bill will help reduce diesel vehicle emissions. As the sponsor of this legislation, I am working hard to make sure HB 134 passes the Senate before our session adjourns on March 9.

 

Bills of Interest

HB 29 - Energy Efficient Vehicle Tax Credit Amendments: This bill allows taxpayers, living in non-attainment areas, to claim an energy efficient vehicle credit for electric vehicles purchased or leased. I support this legislation, which just passed its first committee hearing in the House.

HB 155 - Driving Under the Influence and Public Safety Revisions: This bill, which passed the House on a 48-26 vote, will make Utah the first state to lower the legal limit for driving under the influence to 0.05% blood-alcohol content. I did not vote for this legislation. It now goes to the Senate for their consideration.

SCR 6 - Concurrent Resolution on Guarding the Civil Liberties and Freedoms for All American People: This resolution affirms the Legislature's and Governor's commitment to protect the civil liberties, religious freedoms and, dignity of all Americans, legal immigrants, and refugees; expresses the Legislature's and the Governor's determination to protect the constitutional rights of all people; and welcomes any and all efforts to educate and promote understanding and good will among the pluralistic communities that are an integral part of Utah's rich history and heritage. Senator Brian Shiozawa is the Chief Sponsor of this bill. I am the House Sponsor. This bill passed a Senate Committee and should be considered by the full Senate on Tuesday.

SB 56 - Animal Shelter Amendments: This legislation requires animal shelters to use lethal injection instead of gas chambers for the euthanasia of both domestic and wild animals. I support this important legislation. SB 56 passed the Senate and will next be considered in the House.

 

Art at the Capitol

Each week we are trying to highlight a few pieces of art you can find as you walk through our beautiful State Capitol.

 A marble bust of Ute Chief John Duncan by Millard F. Malin. Duncan served as a liaison between Native American tribes and the US government following the Civil War.

A marble bust of Ute Chief John Duncan by Millard F. Malin. Duncan served as a liaison between Native American tribes and the US government following the Civil War.

  A Day's Adventure  by Salt Lake City artist Susan Gallacher 

A Day's Adventure by Salt Lake City artist Susan Gallacher 

 

Visitors at the Capitol

 Mary Lou Arveseth of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Mary Lou Arveseth of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

 Salt Lake Tribune Columnist Robert Kirby

Salt Lake Tribune Columnist Robert Kirby

 Kathy Swift and Skyline High School Seniors

Kathy Swift and Skyline High School Seniors

 Rep. King and former Secretary of Labor and newly elected DNC Chair Tom Perez

Rep. King and former Secretary of Labor and newly elected DNC Chair Tom Perez

 Maryam Kergaye, a student from the Academy for Math Engineering and Science, joined me in the House Chambers after being acknowledged for her award-winning art.

Maryam Kergaye, a student from the Academy for Math Engineering and Science, joined me in the House Chambers after being acknowledged for her award-winning art.

 Rally for Addiction and Mental Health Recovery

Rally for Addiction and Mental Health Recovery

 Members of the West High School Environmental Club

Members of the West High School Environmental Club

 Students from Ms. Siebach's class at Foothill Elementary are studying air quality

Students from Ms. Siebach's class at Foothill Elementary are studying air quality

 

In the News

Utah bill could make diesel tests mandatory in pollution-plagued counties 

Utah Senate keeps abortion language out of telemedicine bill in first vote

Capitol Conversations: Patrice Arent

 

Thank you for helping me stay informed over the Legislative Session. I have received many emails from constituents over the last five weeks and truly appreciate your willingness to contact me. Please continue to reach out to me regarding issues that are important to you. 

When you write me, please remember to include the number of the bill you are writing about and your home address. Also, it is helpful if you give me a reason for your position on a bill. I read every email I receive, but as my "spare time" generally begins well after midnight, I have limited opportunities to respond during these last few days of the legislative session. So please let me know if you need a response to your message. 

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

There are only 17 days remaining as the Legislative Session enters its final stretch. With most bills still to be heard, the next few weeks are sure to be busy and productive. Also, this is the time of the session that some of the worst bills sneak through with insufficient debate, so I am doing my best to carefully examine each bill.

During the past few weeks I have been working at least 14 hours a day and most waking hours of the weekends, but things are going to be much busier through the rest of the session. I will still be reading every email message I receive, but have less time to respond. When you contact me, it is helpful to know the specific bill number or description of the appropriation you are writing about, the rationale for your position, your home address and whether you need a response. 

 

HB 150 - Custody Amendments Related to Parents with Disabilities

 Dan Deuel and Everett Bacon testify in favor of HB 150

Dan Deuel and Everett Bacon testify in favor of HB 150

I am sponsoring a number of bills this year that are all in different stages of the law-making process. Last week, I had my first bill pass both the House and Senate, leaving only a signature by the governor before it becomes law.

In some custody disputes, a parent with a disability might face assertions from the other parent, or assumptions from the court, that their disability makes them less capable of parenting. The current law allows judges to presume or infer that a parent's disability makes them less capable of providing for their child's best interests. The court can draw these conclusions without making a record of the analysis used to reach those conclusions. It then becomes the burden of the parent with the disability to prove that despite their disability, they are fit to parent their own child.

HB 150 properly places the burden on the parent who wants to assert that the disability should limit the other parent's custody rights. This legislation also protects parents with disabilities by ensuring there is a clear record for appeal. The court will be required to document its specific concerns as part of the record and how those concerns are not alleviated by the parent's access to resources and accommodations. Such findings are already the best practice among many members of the Judiciary. HB 150 codifies this practice in statute to ensure it is uniformly applied.

The support shown for this legislation throughout the whole process has been amazing. Although there were many questions asked, not a single negative vote was cast at any stage in the process. I am grateful to the many legal experts and members of the community who worked tirelessly to support this legislation and came to testify in favor of it. When this legislation becomes law, it will truly make a difference in people's lives.

 

HCR 10 - Encouraging Identification and Support of Traumatic Childhood Experience Survivors

There are many meaningful resolutions being presented this year. One which is important to me is HCR 10 - Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Identification and Support of Traumatic Childhood Experience Survivorssponsored by Rep. Ed Redd, who is also a physician. The resolution seeks to bring attention to the research that shows the impact that adverse childhood experiences can have on an individual as they grow and develop. 

In explaining the resolution, Rep. Redd noted that some kids get a disproportionate share of bad experiences in their early lives. These traumatic experiences change the wiring in a child's brain. As a result, there is an increased risk of having negative adverse effects in their lives. These negative effects can range from difficulty in school and substance abuse, to attempts to take one's own life.

I am serving as a cosponsor of this resolution, which passed the House unanimously. It will next be considered by the Senate.

 

Air Quality Legislation

Last week I mentioned a list of legislation being followed by the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus. To help you follow clean air legislation this session, I have posted the Clean Air Caucus tracking sheet on my website. It is a helpful way to follow everything the Legislature is doing to benefit clean air. You can find it here.

 

Bills of Interest

Many of you have written to ask my position about the bills listed below. You can always find the votes on each bill on our website under the "status" of the bill. Just click on the actual vote number on the right side of the page.

HB 241 - School Accountability Amendments: This bill does away with the system that assigns a single letter grade to Utah schools. The grading system has caused problems for schools for a variety of reasons. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation.

HB 207 - Federalism Amendments: This bill appropriates $350,000 for the development of a Federalism curriculum. The bill originally mandated that legislators take the course, although that language was deleted. I voted against this bill. If the state has $350,000 more to spend for education, there are many higher priorities.

Most of you have probably heard about the following two resolutions. The overwhelming legislative support for these proposals was one of the reasons that the Outdoor Retailers decided to move its conference out of Utah.

HCR 11 - Concurrent Resolution urging the President to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument: I support President Obama's designation of the national monument and voted against this resolution. 

HCR 12 - Concurrent Resolution Urging Federal Legislation to Reduce or Modify the Boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: I also voted against this resolution for more reasons than I can list in this message.

 

Art at the Capitol

Visiting the Capitol during the Legislative Session is a great experience. There are many fun and interesting things to do for big or small groups. You can view House and Senate proceedings, sit in on committee hearings or just take a picture in front of our mighty century-old state house. You may not be aware, however, that the Capitol is host to a wonderful art collection. Below are a couple of the great pieces by local artists that are currently on display. I look forward to showing you more each week.

  Mackerel Cloud  is a 1945 piece by Florence E. Ware, who painted the murals in Kingsbury Hall.

Mackerel Cloud is a 1945 piece by Florence E. Ware, who painted the murals in Kingsbury Hall.

  Abandoned  was painted by renowned rural landscape artist LeConte Stewart around 1950. In 2002, November 7 was declared LeConte Stewart Day by Governor Leavitt.

Abandoned was painted by renowned rural landscape artist LeConte Stewart around 1950. In 2002, November 7 was declared LeConte Stewart Day by Governor Leavitt.

 

Visitors at the Capitol

 SLCC President Deneece Huftalin, Representative Carol Spackman Moss and Community Leaders Jesselie Anderson & Gail Miller

SLCC President Deneece Huftalin, Representative Carol Spackman Moss and Community Leaders Jesselie Anderson & Gail Miller

 Michael Ballam from the Utah Festival Opera

Michael Ballam from the Utah Festival Opera

 Scott Phillips and Zachary Murray from the Utah Shakespeare Festival

Scott Phillips and Zachary Murray from the Utah Shakespeare Festival

 Physicians from House District 36

Physicians from House District 36

 Curtis, Willie and Norm from Box Elder County

Curtis, Willie and Norm from Box Elder County

In the News

Bill would change how courts look at parents' disabilities in child custody cases 

House approves $350,000 for education - for lawmakers

House votes to spend $350k on its own federalism refresher courses

2017 Legislative Update

House approves controversial telemedicine bill

 

Thank you so much for reading this newsletter and staying in touch with me throughout the Legislative Session. I have been so impressed with the groundswell of enthusiasm for political activism in the last few months. I encourage you, as we head into the final weeks of the session, to stay informed and active to help make Utah the community we want it to be.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

We are just about to the halfway point of the 2017 Legislative Session. It has been a pleasure hearing from you over the last week. I encourage you to continue to reach out to me. On issues not within the jurisdiction of the state legislature, it is also important for you to contact your city, county or federal officials.

 

1st Sub HB 204 - Presidential Primary Amendments

On March 22, 2016, many of us tried to vote in Utah's Presidential Caucus, which was run by the political parties. I attended the caucus at Olympus High School. Like many of you, I spent the entire evening standing in lines and doing my best to help alleviate some of the issues voters and volunteers were facing. 

Most people assumed from the length of the lines that voter turnout was considerably higher than in the past. Unfortunately, that was not the case. In fact, 53% fewer people voted in the 2016 Utah Presidential Caucus than in 2008, when we held a state-run Presidential Primary. The 2016 complications arose from the fact that the state did not fund or run this election as they had in the past. Instead the election was run by volunteers recruited by political parties. As those who participated that evening would likely agree, political parties should be in the business of trying to win elections, not run them.

The Legislature was asked by Governor Herbert, the Democratic Party and even Governor Mitt Romney to fund a 2016 presidential primary. The Legislature refused to appropriate the funds. I am working to make sure this does not happen again. This year I am sponsoring HB 204 - Presidential Primary Amendments that requires the state to fund and operate a presidential primary in 2020 and in all following presidential election years. If the state and our county clerks run the presidential primary, we will have a professionally run election, with early voting, absentee ballots, a full day to vote, adequate parking and accommodations for disabled voters.

It was quite the moment when I presented the bill in the House Government Operations Committee last week when the chairmen of both the Utah Republican and Democratic Parties testified together in favor of my bill. In fact, James Evans and Peter Corroon even shared a hug! I believe that democracy is most effective when all voices are heard. A state-run presidential primary would increase voter turnout, making it easier for senior citizens, the disabled, students, parents, people who work evenings and others to vote. The bill passed the House Government Operations Committee with strong support and will next be debated by the full House. If you support this legislation, you and your friends may want to let other House members know. 

 

HB 159 - Amendments to Voter Registration

If more voices are heard in the political process, our democracy is stronger and our government is more effective. A bill I am planning to cosponsor that makes voting easier is HB 159 - Amendments to Voter Registration by Rep. Steve Handy. This bill creates a process that automatically registers an eligible individual to vote when they apply for or renew their driver's license unless the applicant "opts-out" of voter registration. Making the voter registration process easier and more accessible for Utahns would almost certainly increase the number of participants in our political process. County clerks also think this bill will increase efficiency by providing more current mailing addresses as well as reducing costs. Privacy protections under the current law will remain unchanged.

I heard the first presentation of this bill in the House Government Operations Committee last week. It will be debated again on Monday morning. You are welcome to join us in room 30 of the House Building or listen to the debate online: www.le.utah.gov.

 

Air Quality Legislation

There over a dozen air quality bills and appropriations requests working their way through the legislative process. I have highlighted a few of them in the past weeks and will mention a few more in the future. Most recently, HCR 18, my legislation concerning smog ratings on motor vehicles, passed the House Transportation Committee unanimously on Friday.

If you would like a list of all the clean air bills and appropriations requests, and their current status, please let me know and I will send it to you. Please remember that by the time you open my email message, the status of the bills may have changed.

 

Town Hall Meeting Report

It was great to see so many of you last week at the Town Hall Meeting that I hosted with Sen. Iwamoto, Sen. Shiozawa, Rep. Moss and Rep. Poulson. Though we had some competition with another town meeting that evening, we still had a full house, packed with constituents who care about our community. The issues we discussed included efforts to improve air quality, education, reforms to address opioid abuse and the need to protect our national monuments.

We were all thrilled with the strong showing of support and interest. Turning out and letting your voice be heard is vital. Many thanks to KSL's Doug Wright for moderating the evening and to Holladay City for hosting our meeting.

 

Visitors at the Capitol

 Former House Speaker Nolan Karras and Jesselie Anderson, Co-Chair of Education First, testify in Public Education Appropriations Committee

Former House Speaker Nolan Karras and Jesselie Anderson, Co-Chair of Education First, testify in Public Education Appropriations Committee

 Craig Bickmore testified in support of HCR 18, one of my clean air bills

Craig Bickmore testified in support of HCR 18, one of my clean air bills

 Kate Button, constituent and student at Rowland Hall

Kate Button, constituent and student at Rowland Hall

 Retired 3rd District Judge Raymond Uno

Retired 3rd District Judge Raymond Uno

 The K9 Mayor of Salt Lake County

The K9 Mayor of Salt Lake County

In the News

There are many reporters covering the Legislative Session who do a great job of keeping the public informed. Below are a few of the news articles I was mentioned in last week:

Legislative committee approves state-funded presidential primary, other election process changes 

Bill requiring state-run presidential primaries advances in House 

Power players and lawmakers to watch in the 2017 Utah Legislature

House committee supports bill to create statewide suicide crisis line
House committee OKs bill requiring paid postage for by-mail ballots

 

Thank you for staying in touch with me. I hope that these messages continue to inform you about some of the happenings at the Capitol. As we enter the home stretch of the Legislative Session, I encourage you stay involved in state politics. It is only with your help that your elected representatives can effectively serve you. Also, remember you can always find out what is going on at the Legislature through our award-winning website: www.le.utah.gov .

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

The second week of the Legislative Session was filled with many interesting issues as a number important bills were debated by the full House and Senate. The pace is definitely picking up.

I have enjoyed hearing from you this session and encourage you to stay in touch. It is important to me to hear how I can best represent the residents of House District 36. When you contact me about an issue, it is helpful if you include the bill number or a description of the appropriations request that you are writing about. It is also important to include your home address, because I respond first to those living in House District 36. And if you do not need a response, please let me know. I personally read every message I receive, but often don't have time to respond until after midnight.

 

Clean Air

I have heard from many of you about the need to improve our air quality. Last week, as our skies remained grey and some of our cities had the worst air in the nation, legislators from both sides of the political aisle gathered for the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus press conference to outline plans to help combat air pollution. Even with many conflicting meetings, one third of the legislature attended the press conference. Here is one of the news stories about the press conference.

Many proposals were presented. I will mention a few here. Others will be highlighted in future newsletters. Representative Handy discussed his bill to fund incentives for alternative fuel vehicles. Representative Eliason talked about his legislation to provide grants to low income individuals if their car fails an emissions test and the owner cannot afford to repair the vehicle. Senator Escamilla is proposing a bill to require carefully monitoring and controlling pollution from the construction of the new prison. Senator Fillmore presented legislation that restricts community associations from placing unreasonable restrictions on solar panels. A number of appropriations requests were highlighted, including my request for funding for air quality monitors and staff, Rep. Redd's request for additional resources for air quality research and the request from Rep. Schultz to help fund the Depot District Clean Fuels Tech Center for UTA, which will make it easier to expand the CNG (compressed natural gas) bus fleet and utilize battery electric buses.

These were only a few of the great ideas mentioned at the press conference and there are many more we will hear this session. While our air quality has improved over recent years, we still have a long way to go! There is no silver bullet - no one piece of legislation that will fix our air pollution problem. 

 

More Clean Air Legislation: HB 134 - Emissions Testing Amendments

Friday afternoon I presented HB 134 to the House Transportation Committee. This bill requires counties, that already test gasoline vehicles, to perform emissions testing on diesel vehicles. It only seems fair to require emissions testing on diesel models when similar models of the same vehicles are currently tested. The total PM2.5 emissions from failing diesel vehicles are quadruple the PM2.5 pollution of compliant diesel vehicles and 7-8 times that of an average gasoline vehicle.

One county currently doing diesel emissions testing found that light duty diesels were approximately 8-9 times more likely to fail emissions testing than comparable gas vehicles. Also, in another large county, nearly six percent of new diesel vehicles (2011-2016 model years) failed to meet emissions standards.

I expected some pushback to this legislation, but what happened in committee surprised me. During the public comment section of the hearing, supporters of the bill filled many of the seats in the committee room. I did not know that so many of the people were there to support this important legislation. In the end, not one person spoke against the bill. This kind of vocal support truly matters and it surely played a significant role in the committee's ultimate unanimous support of HB 134. A good article about the debate in the House committee can be found here.

The bill will next be debated by the full House. All House Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus are cosponsors of this legislation. Senator Curt Bramble is the Senate Floor Sponsor. Ashley Soltysiak of HEAL Utah helped me develop and present the bill.  

 

HB 11 - State Boards and Commissions Amendments

In last week's newsletter I mentioned HB 11, a bill that removes the partisan requirements from 29 boards and commissions. This bill was debated by the full House on Wednesday. I spoke against this bill, emphasizing that the people of Utah want political diversity on many of their state boards. I noted that when a similar issue was presented to the public in the 2014 election, by a very wide margin the public voted to retain the political diversity requirement for the Utah Tax Commission. This vote was required because unlike other boards, the Tax Commission's political diversity requirement is in the Utah Constitution. I also argued that if we are going to take out one board requirement, we should look at how that requirement fits into others such as geographic diversity, representation from certain groups, etc. In other words, we should do a more careful analysis of each board on the list before changing the status quo.

HB 11 was amended so that five of the 29 boards and will retain political diversity. But there are still many boards left in the bill that benefit from the requirement that all appointments cannot come from the same political party. HB 11 passed the House by a vote of 51 to 23 - with all Democrats and some Republicans voting against the bill. To become law, HB 11 still must pass a Senate committee and two votes of the full Senate before finally being signed by the Governor. So there is still a chance to defeat or amend this bill.

I would encourage you to contact your state senators and the Governor's Office (whose staff testified for this bill) and let them know of any concerns you have regarding this legislation. You can find the contact information for your state senator at: www.le.utah.gov and can reach the Governor's Office here.

 

Town Meeting - Thursday, February 9th

I will be holding a Town Hall Meeting this week on February 9 at Holladay City Hall from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. with Rep. Moss, Rep. Poulson, Sen. Iwamoto and Sen. Shiozawa. I know each of us would love to see you there as we always appreciate hearing your thoughts and opinions. Holladay City Hall is located at 4580 S. 2300 E. in Holladay. For those who cannot attend, you can always email me with your suggestions and concerns.

 

Visitors at the Capitol

One of the most exciting parts of the Legislative Session is when I get to meet with the various groups who come to the State Capitol. Below are some of the many people who recently came to visit.

 Representative Arent with former U.S. Senator, Jake Garn, whose career began as a janitor at the Utah State Capitol

Representative Arent with former U.S. Senator, Jake Garn, whose career began as a janitor at the Utah State Capitol

 Research posters on air quality issues by Nicole Burnett and Robert Coffman, University of Utah students

Research posters on air quality issues by Nicole Burnett and Robert Coffman, University of Utah students

  Jeff Worley, CTE student leader at Skyline High School

Jeff Worley, CTE student leader at Skyline High School

  Actors Adam Johnson & David Powell showed up well-dressed at the Capitol

Actors Adam Johnson & David Powell showed up well-dressed at the Capitol

Thank you so much for staying in touch with me as I do my best to fight for the issues that are important to you.  I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at our Town Meeting.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends: 

The 2017 Legislative Session is underway! The Utah Legislature will be meeting until March 9. It has been a busy and exciting week as legislators, constituents and activists from Boulder to Bear Lake and Wendover to Vernal have come to the Capitol, all with the same intention - to help make Utah a better state. There are many different approaches to that goal. This year there are expected to be roughly 1,500 bill files opened, and although most will not make it to both the full House and Senate for a vote, it is still likely to be a record-breaking year. 

 

Women's March

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Speaking of breaking records, the first day of the Legislative Session saw over 6,000 participants inside the Capitol and thousands more demonstrating outside. The Utah Women's March drew more women and men to the legislature than any other gathering I can remember in decades.

This passionate crowd of people filled the Capitol rotunda, watched from every balcony and stretched out several blocks down the street to show their support for a variety of issues. I was privileged to be among the legislators and activists asked to speak.

In my remarks, I talked about the moral core of our country - civility and respect for all people, social justice, inclusion and equal rights, protection for our environment and the arts, and love for all people. I reiterated my commitment to defending equal rights, an ideal that my parents impressed upon me. My family proudly marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and I stand with all of those facing oppression today. As a Jewish American and the descendant of immigrants, I vowed to stand up against violations of freedom, including a Muslim registry. If such a registry is enacted, I will register myself. Since the rally, I am also very concerned about recent action taken by our president to ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspending refugee admission.

It was heartening to hear the cheers of those gathered as we paid respect to the women who have gone before us. We all owe a great deal to trailblazers who have fought for justice and equality. It was truly inspiring to participate in such a joyful, diverse gathering. I can't think of a better way to start the Session.

 

Upcoming Town Hall Meeting

Along with some of my other colleagues, I will be holding a Town Hall Meeting on February 9 at Holladay City Hall from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Rep. Moss, Rep. Poulson, Sen. Iwamoto, Sen. Shiozawa and I will be there to answer your questions. Doug Wright will be the moderator. These town meetings are always a highlight of the session for me and I would love to see you there! For those who cannot attend, you can always email me with your suggestions and concerns.

 

HB11 - Removing Partisan Requirements for State Boards and Commissions

Many of you have contacted me regarding your concerns with House Bill 11, sponsored by Rep. Norman Thurston. This legislation proposes doing away with the political diversity requirement for the Governor's appointments on 29 board and commissions. These boards vary and some, like the Public Service Commission, Air Quality Board and Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, give me more concern than others, such as the Livestock Marketing Board. The partisan requirements on most of these boards and commissions are vital to assuring a diversity of perspectives and opinions. I have already voted against this bill twice in committee hearings. Unless the bill is dramatically amended, I will work hard to defeat it. This legislation definitely needs more study. We need a careful analysis of all of the membership requirements of most of these boards before making any changes. 

It is likely that HB 11 will be debated by the full House on the morning of Monday, January 30. If you have any concerns or input regarding specific boards and commissions that could be affected by this legislation, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

 

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee

This year I am serving on the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. We covered a variety of topics in this week's meetings including the current education budget. We heard reports from Syd Dickson, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Tami Pyfer, the Governor's Education Advisor. We also heard a recent national report analyzing effective education systems outside the United States and comparing them with US state education programs and funding. Just as a reminder - you can listen to all committee hearings and review the materials online at: le.utah.gov.

Improving Utah's education system is fundamental to our state's success. There are many innovative ways to improve education, but the Legislature must not lose sight of the need for more funding. Utah ranks 51st in the nation in per-pupil spending. Our children deserve better.

 

Honoring our Police Officers

On January 19, the City of Holladay hosted a dinner honoring the police officers who serve Holladay and Millcreek. Held one year after the tragic killing of Officer Doug Barney, this event was a wonderful chance to thank the great women and men who serve our community every day, as well as a chance to reflect on those who gave their lives to protect our community. 

It was an honor to meet Erica Barney and her children at the dinner. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to thank to the police officers and their families who sacrifice so much to protect all of us.

 

I truly appreciate the privilege of serving in the Utah Legislature. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and opinions regarding any pending legislation. Knowing what issues are important to my constituents is how I can most effectively represent you. I personally read every message I receive. If you don't need a response to your message, please let me know. 

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

We are less than one week from the beginning of the 2017 Legislative Session, which begins on January 23 and runs until March 9. When not at the Capitol, throughout the year I meet with constituents, educators, business leaders, local community councils and elected officials and other members of our community to learn about issues important to the state and District 36. Below is a brief description of a few of the dozens of meetings I attended last week.

 

Big Block of Cheese Day

In 1837, President Andrew Jackson received a gift of a 1400-pound block of cheese. To make use of all the cheese, Jackson invited the public into the White House lobby to chisel off a chunk of the cheese to keep for themselves. In this tradition, the House Democratic Caucus also welcomed in members of the public to share in cheese and converse with their representatives for our annual Big Block of Cheese Day.

 

I had the pleasure of meeting with many constituents, including the McGregor and Guelker family, whose two children, Jefferson and Winston, donned their 1700's best just for the occasion. It was so great to hear first-hand what issues are important to the citizens of District 36. Clean air, education improvements and the need for defending our public lands were brought up by many people who spoke with me. I hope to see you at next year's Big Block of Cheese Day!

 

Meeting with Local Educators

Utah School for the Deaf and Blind:

Last Wednesday I had the privilege of meeting with Utah School for the Deaf and Blind Superintendent Joel Coleman and Associate Superintendent Michelle Tanner. They gave me and Rep. Carol Spackman Moss a tour of the C. Mark Openshaw Education Center, a new addition to their 3300 South campus. This new center was specially designed to help the students of the school succeed. The facility contains many unique features. For example, textured paneling along the walls helps students find their way to class. And unique plants and water features are scattered throughout the school's sensory garden and tactile playground to let students play in a safe and fun way. This campus serves blind and deaf students from all over the Salt Lake Valley, as well as Park City and Tooele. It is a vital part of the Utah education system.

Meeting with Granite School District Teachers:

Wednesday evening I met with teachers from the Granite School District. They shared their concerns about teachers leaving the profession, students not going into teaching, students with significant needs, teacher preparation time, class size and other critical issues facing our public schools. We also discussed the "Our Schools Now" initiative, which would give citizens the ability to vote on a ballot measure to increase income taxes for education funding. That initiative was also the topic of an evening meeting of the House Democratic Caucus on Thursday evening. More information can be found at: https://ourschoolsnow.com

 

Local Entrepreneurs at Outdoor Retailers Winter Market

This past week Salt Lake City once again served as the host to the Outdoor Retailers Winter Market. Our state's incredible public lands are a vital asset to our economy and way of life, attracting innovators and jobs to Utah. The continued success of local companies and entrepreneurs featured at the Outdoor Retailers Expo is a testament to that. A few examples are those I met with on Thursday. Gregory Mountain designs backpacks here in Utah for every outdoor need. Petzl, a company which makes safety equipment for rock climbers and emergency service workers, recently relocated their American headquarters to Utah.

In 2013, Davis Smith and a group of friends met in a cabin in Utah to found Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi is an apparel company that is committed to responsible business practices. Their colorful bags are made from reclaimed fabric scraps and the company is dedicated to supporting other charitable organizations that have a proven record of empowering people. As well as being headquartered here, Cotopaxi has two stores in Utah. It is a shining example of an ethical business drawn to our state because of our incredible human and natural resources.

 

My New Intern - Christian Mower

My intern this session will be Christian Mower. Christian is a junior at the University of Utah majoring in political science as well as a resident of District 36. You can reach Christian at cmower@le.utah.gov.

 

As always, I am grateful to the constituents of District 36 for allowing me to be your representative in the Utah Legislature. Please feel free to contact me with issues that are important to you. In messages to me, please include your address, the piece of legislation you are writing about and if you would like a response. I personally read every email I receive because your opinion matters. I look forward to hearing from you and to serving as your representative this year.

Legislative Update

 

 

Dear Friends:

Happy New Year and welcome to the first of my periodic legislative updates for 2017.  As in years past, I hope these brief messages will serve to infrom you about some of the interesting things happening in the Utah Legislature, particularly during the upcoming Legislative Session.  It is my hope that you will always let me know your thoughts about pending legislation as well as how to further improve the State of Utah.  Your input is invaluable.

 

The 2017 Legislative Session

The 2017 Utah Legislative Session begins on January 23 and concludes on March 9.  The Legislature's website is a great way to keep up to date during the session, as well as during our Interim and task force meetings throughout the year.  There you can find legislation, fiscal analysis, committee schedules, video and audio of live and prior proceedings and many other helpful tools to help you follow the Utah Legislature.  The website is: http://le.utah.gov/.  

During the upcoming legislative session, I will serve on the following committees:  House Public Utilities, Energy & Technology, House Government Operations Committee and Public Education Appropriations (joint House and Senate Committee) and International Trade and Relations Committee. I continue to serve as Vice Chair of the Ethics Committee, among a variety of other committee duties.

 

How to Reach Me and Social Media

Your input is vital to helping improve Utah's government and our community.  I always look forward to hearing your thoughts about state legislative issues.  The best way to reach me is through email.  My email address is: parent@le.utah.gov

During the session, I can receive hundreds of emails a day, so I always try and prioritize messages coming from residents of House District 36.  If you could include your home address in your email, it would be of great help to me.  In case I need to reach out to you by phone, please also include the best number to reach you.  If your message is for information purposes only and does not necessitate a reply, please let me know so in the message.  I value your input, so I personally read every email I receive.  Please remember that all email messages sent to me are subject to the Government Records Access and Management Act.

I often comment on legislative issues on social media.  If you are interested, please consider following me on Facebook (where I am most active) and Twitter.

 

January 21, Clean Air, No Excuses Rally

Please join me on January 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm for the "Clean Air, No Excuses Rally" on the south steps of the Utah Capitol Building.  The rally will be a great chance to let the state's lawmakers and public know how important clean air is to Utahns.  Four years ago, I founded the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus.  I helped start this group because I know how imperative it is that the Legislature better understand air quality issues and pass effective and meaningful plans to help clean our air.  I hope you will attend the rally to let your voice be heard.  We need clean air! 

 

It is my tremendous privilege to serve as your representative.  I am always grateful to the residents of Utah House District 36 for the trust you have placed in me, and I am eager to continue to serve you and the State of Utah in the coming months.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

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This is the last day of the 2016 General Legislative session. The session will adjourn at midnight. On Friday morning you can find the final status of all the proposed legislation and appropriations requests on the legislative website. As the session winds down, I would like to update you on a few important matters.

Please excuse any mistakes in this message. I’ve had a grand total of 15 hours of sleep in the past three nights and we will be voting on bills until midnight.

Hot Issues Still to be Determined

There are so many important bills still being debated, that it’s impossible to mention them all. They include medical marijuana, budget issues, election law, juvenile sentencing, and alcohol beverage control proposals. Two of these issues that have generated hundreds of email messages are below.

SB 189 – Death Penalty Amendments

The bill to outlaw the death penalty in Utah divisively passed by close votes – the full Senate by 15-12 and a House committee by 6-5. We anticipate a debate by the full House before midnight.

Utah is one of 31 states that still administers the death penalty and would be the 6th state in the last 5 years to abolish it. During the debates, both sides discussed the problems with the extensive appeals process and the decades-long route for an execution to actually take place for those on death row. They also discussed issues related to moral concerns and discovering exculpatory evidence too late. Arguments in favor of this legislation repeatedly cited the toll that this takes on families of victims, who must revisit the loss of their loved one every time an appeal takes place.

There is also an incredible expense to the taxpayer. A 2012 Utah legislative study found that the increased trial costs of a death penalty sentence were $1.6 million more expensive than serving life without parole.

Those arguing for retaining the death penalty cited cases of incredible murders with very clear evidence. They also talked about issues dealing with plea bargaining.

SB 115 – Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan Act (STEP)

This very complicated public utilities bill takes some of the authority away from our Public Service Commission (PSC) to regulate our major electric utility. While there are some positive aspects to this bill, they are outweighed by the elimination of an important utility risk-sharing mechanism. This mechanism provides incentives to Rocky Mountain Power to appropriately and responsibly manage fuel price risk in a way that aligns the utility’s financial interests with the best interest of its customers.

Instead of passing this bill, I believe we should give the PSC and their expert staff adequate time to carefully evaluate what implementing SB115 would mean, how it might work, the intended and unintended consequences, as well as the impact on rates and subsidies. The PSC can then report back to the Legislature on its findings.

There have been a number of versions of this bill. 4th Substitute SB 115 was released and debated by the House Public Utilities & Technology Committee on Tuesday. It is an improvement over the past version but there are still many concerns. As a member of the Public Utilities committee, I voted against the bill, but it passed on a 6-5 vote. It will come to the full House for a debate today.  I will continue to strongly oppose this legislation, unless it is dramatically amended.

Some of the Legislation That I Sponsored or Cosponsored

HB 52 – Office of Outdoor Recreation Amendments unanimously passed the Legislature. This bill will help the state improve its outdoor infrastructure in both rural and urban settings by providing matching funds for projects such as trails, boat ramps, beaches, restrooms and playgrounds.

HB 130 – Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Amendments passed Legislature. This bill facilitates better air quality through financing for electric vehicle charging stations.

HB 158 – Campaign Funds Restrictions for County and Local School Board Officesunanimously passed the Legislature. This bill restricts the personal use of campaign funds for county and local school board candidates and officials.

HB 237 – Income Tax Contribution for Clean Air passed the Legislature. This bill provides a voluntary option for taxpayers to donate to the Clean Air Fund on their tax returns.

HB 267 ­­- ­Charitable Solicitation Act Amendments unanimously passed the Legislature. This bill reduces over-regulation of certain organizations, such as the PTA, that already have adequate state oversight. It also clarifies other aspects of the state consumer protection law.

HJR 6 – Joints Rules Resolution on Ethics Commission proposed a number of modifications to the current legislative ethics law. One of the most important changes would allow those who are not Utah voters to file complaints against legislators. Utah is the only state with this limitation. Current law would prohibit, for example, a visiting professor from filing a complaint if that professor was registered to vote in another state. This legislation was defeated in a House committee.

HB 275­ – Submission of Nonbinding Opinion Questions to Voters was held in Rules and never allowed a committee hearing. This bill established procedures for submitting nonbinding opinion questions to the voters of Utah.

HB 135 – State Parks Fee Exemption Amendments passed the Legislature. This bill will provide free admission to Utah State Parks for honorably discharged Utah veterans with a disability.

HB 201 – Student Testing Amendments passed the House and is waiting to be heard by the full Senate. This bill would help Utah teachers by prohibiting the use of end-of-level assessment scores in educator evaluations. This is important because of many factors which impact test results and are often outside a teacher’s control.

HB 241 – Computer Abuse and Data Recovery Act unanimously passed the Legislature. This bill imposes civil penalties on a person who obtains information from a protected computer without the owner’s permission. It protects employers from computer hacking, information theft, and other increasingly common forms of computer abuse by providing grounds for a civil suit in which the owner has the chance to recover lost information or other damages.

Selected Clean Air Legislation

HB 87 – Clean Fuel Conversion Amendments passed the Legislature. This bill authorizes grants for persons who install conversion equipment for alternative fuel on eligible vehicles and extends tax credits for energy efficient vehicles.

HB 250 – Air Quality Amendments passed the Legislature. Under HB 250, polluting water heaters will be phased out and replaced with the ultra-low NOx heaters. No one will be forced to replace their water heater. Updating a current water heater to an ultra-low NOx water heater reduces pollution emissions by 70-75% at very little additional cost.

SB 49 – Statute of Limitations on Environmental Code Violations passed the Legislature. This bill extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting violators of the Environmental Quality Code.

SB 102 – High Cost Infrastructure Credit Amendments passed the Legislature. This bill provides a tax incentive for refineries to expedite their conversion to the cleaner Tier 3 fuels.

SB 186 – Air Quality Incentives passed the Legislature. This bill assists companies, located in nonattainment areas, to install the best available air pollution control technology.

Clean Air Appropriations Requests –  There are also a number of requested clean air appropriations. Those will be finalized by midnight. Some of the funding tentatively approved includes appropriations for some of the air quality monitors needed, air quality research, and a modern Technical Support Center to improve the efficiency and reliability of our air monitoring program.

Thank you for all of your valuable input this session. The Legislature will begin Interim and task force meetings in a few weeks, so please continue to let me know your suggestions on how we can continue to improve our state government.

Finally, thanks to my wonderful intern Kathryn Macdonald, who has helped write these messages and done so much work for all my bills and committee work this session. I have truly been lucky to work with such an outstanding human being.

It is truly an honor to represent House District 36.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

The 2016 General Session of the Utah Legislature ends on midnight next Thursday. Between now and then, there is an enormous amount of work left to do. The bills that have passed through both the House and the Senate can be found here.

For those of you who are reading this update for the first time, my previous messages can be found in the column to the right.

Hot Topics on the Hill – Healthcare Coverage

The debate concerning healthcare coverage remains very controversial. Recent polls show that most Utahns favor the Healthy Utah plan or full Medicaid expansion. Compared to HB 437 (discussed below), both plans would cover more Utahns at a much lower cost per person and would return millions more federal tax dollars to our state. These are taxes already paid by Utah taxpayers that are being used to cover residents of other states.

Sen. Gene Davis has proposed full Medicaid expansion, which would cover 105,500 Utahns. His legislation, SB 77, passed a Senate committee and is awaiting debate by the full Senate. Rep. Ray Ward’s HB 302 is a proposal similar to the Healthy Utah bill that passed the Senate last year. Unfortunately, the Republicans are holding his bill in the Rules Committee and are not allowing it to be debated. I support both of these bills.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan, the House Majority Leader, proposed a more limited approach. HB 437 extends coverage to only 17,000 Utahns in the coverage gap. While this would provide health insurance to more people than are being covered, this proposal benefits fewer people than either of the other plans. Supporters of HB 437 also appear to have very little interest in extending coverage in the future for those remaining in the coverage gap.

HB 437 was debated by the full House on Friday. Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck expressed serious concerns about those who will be left behind by the limited legislation. She also pointed out that under the actual language of the bill, coverage may not be maintained even for those in the limited population that are supposed to be included. She also discussed her concern that there is a more beneficial and fiscally responsible option. Rep. Sandra Hollins, a social worker, articulated the dilemma of supporting the individuals who will be covered by this plan versus standing with the large number of people that are being left behind by HB 437.

The bill passed the House (55-17) and will next go to the Senate for their consideration. All Democrats and some Republicans voted against the bill. For all advocates of full Medicaid expansion, this was an incredibly hard decision.

A very informative Tribune editorial evaluating this bill and a cartoon from Pat Bagley, which discusses the bill can be reviewed here. The editorial noted: “Worse, and totally betraying any claims of fiscal responsibility, the Dunnigan plan is so out of keeping with federal incentives that, by limiting its benefits to so few, it leaves some $500 million a year in federal aid unclaimed. That’s half a billion a year that would, with real health care expansion, flow into the state, first to its doctors and hospitals, then to their employees, then to all the people they do business with, multiplying through the state economy over and over, to the benefit of all. Including, through higher tax revenues, the state.”

HB 221 – Immunizations of Students Amendments

Personal exemptions from immunizations for students in public schools are rising in Utah. Rep. Carol Moss is sponsoring legislation that will help protect the children whose parents have exempted them from immunizations. The bill does not change the law allowing parents to opt out of immunizing their children, but creates a 20 minute long education module that prepares those parents on what to do in the event of an outbreak. HB 221 passed the House on Friday with the closest vote possible: 38-37. I voted for this legislation.

Higher Education Building Requests

Democratic Caucus meetings arealways open to the public and we often have a packed room. Last week, University of Utah President David Pershing and Dr. Vivian Lee, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, made a presentation about the need to fund a new medical school building. According to Pershing and Lee, the over 50 year-old facility, which has a number of safety concerns, needs to be replaced with a modern building that can better facilitate the training of our future doctors. The University of Utah trains two-thirds of the doctors in Utah. The vast majority of the cost of the new building would be covered by private donations.

I met with Utah Valley University Vice President Cam Martin, Trustee Jack Sunderlage, along with Presidential Intern, Alex Fish. State budgets are being finalized and they wanted to discuss funding their new arts building. UVU is one of the largest universities in the state and is the fastest growing. Currently their arts students are crowded into the halls, next to auto shops and anywhere they can find room. According to the information we received, the arts building will help to meet demand and continue to enable the university to extend the best educational opportunities for their students.

The Rural Caucus

I attend the Rural Caucus every Friday at 6:45 a.m. This helps me better understand the perspectives of those not living in our urban districts. At our final meeting of the session, we honored Garfield County Commissioner Dell LeFevre, a close friend of mine. Dell has served for 40 years on the commission and is a military veteran. Dell and his wife Gladys, who served on the Garfield County School Board, have hearts of gold. They have adopted 14 children from all over the world. They live in Boulder, Utah.

I appreciate getting your input on the many bills and appropriations requests that are still pending. I personally read every email message I receive but have very limited time to respond, so please let me know if you need to hear back. Remember to mention the specific bill or funding request you are writing about. As always, I will follow-up if I need more information from you. Please include your home address, because I prioritize responding to my constituents first.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

It is hard to believe that the legislative session ends a week from Thursday. We have passed 150 bills and have a lot more work to do! If you have missed my past updates, you can find them in the right column of this newsletter.

I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts on pending legislation. Just a reminder – please include your home address when you send me a message. Also, I personally read every email I receive, but have very little time to respond to messages this late in the session. If you absolutely need a response, please let me know.

Air Quality Legislation

Much of our air pollution is caused by “area sources,” i.e. buildings. One of the most polluting items are water heaters, which make up approximately 45% of a building’s emissions. The nitrogen oxide (NOx) produced by water heaters is a significant contributor to air pollution. There are a few bills that require a transition from low NOx water heaters to the ultra-low NOx water heaters. One I would like to highlight is             HB 250 – Air Quality Amendments, which I am cosponsoring this session. I have worked on this legislation for many months with Rep. Redd, the Chief Sponsor of the bill.

Updating a current water heater to an ultra-low NOx water heater reduces NOx emissions by 70-75% at very little additional cost. Under HB 250, the more polluting water heaters will be phased out and replaced with the ultra-low NOx heaters. No one will be forced to remove a water heater. Beginning in July of 2018, only ultra-low NOx water heaters will be sold in Utah. New homes will also need to be equipped with these new water heaters.

Over the next few years this legislation can make a difference in improving our air quality. The Division of Air Quality reported that if all buildings on the Wasatch Front used an ultra-low NOx water heater, it would reduce more pollutants than removing all of the refineries from our air shed. It is also the equivalent of taking 120,000 vehicles off our roads.

Update on My Legislation

HB 158 – Campaign Funds Restrictions for County and Local School Board Officesunanimously passed both the House and the Senate and now goes to the Governor for his action. This bill restricts the personal use of campaign funds for county and local school board candidates and officials. There are no current restrictions in the Utah Code.

HB 267 ­- Charitable Solicitation Act Amendments unanimously passed both the House and Senate and now goes to the Governor for his action. This bill reduces over-regulation of certain organizations, such as the PTA, that already have adequate state oversight. It also eliminates some red tape for small grant recipients. In addition, HB 267 clarifies other aspects of the state consumer protection law.

HB 52 – Office of Outdoor Recreation Amendments unanimously passed the House of Representatives and the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment Committee. It will be debated by the full Senate this week. HB 52 provides requirements and funding for matching grants that will be available for communities and nonprofit associations to develop a variety of recreation-related projects such as trails, boat ramps, beaches, restrooms and playgrounds. New and updated outdoor recreational assets build healthier and more connected communities. They help attract and retain employees and new businesses and can foster economic growth by attracting tourism.

HB 130 – Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Amendments passed the House and will be heard this week in the Senate Transportation and Public Utilities and Technology Committee. This bill facilitates better air quality through C-PACE financing for electric vehicle charging stations. One of the barriers to driving electric vehicles is having a sufficient number of charging stations in convenient locations. For the past few sessions I have worked on legislation to improve the electric vehicle charging station infrastructure.

HB 237 – Income Tax Contribution for Clean Air passed the House and has been sent to the Senate where I hope it will get a hearing in the Revenue and Taxation Committee this week. This bill provides a voluntary option for taxpayers to donate to the Clean Air Fund on their tax returns.

Hot Topics on the Hill – Marijuana

The debate about the legalization of marijuana is ongoing as SB 89 and SB 73 passed the Senate and will next be heard by a House committee. The threat of a ballot initiative made a big difference in getting the votes needed to pass SB 73.

Another much less controversial resolution, SCR 11, also passed the Senate. This resolution encourages the federal government to change marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug, which would make it easier for extensive research on the drug to be done legally.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

Greetings from the State Capitol! We have completed the fourth week of the session, which means we are more than half way done – at least in terms of calendar days. Ninety bills have passed the House and Senate. But there are over 1200 bill files that have been opened. Many of these bills have not yet been drafted.

Thank you to all of those who have contacted me. I hope you will continue to let me know your thoughts about state legislative issues. For those of you who are getting this update for the first time, links to my prior messages can be found in the right column.

Hot Topics on the Hill – Hate Crimes

SB 107 – Hate Crime Amendments, sponsored by Senator Urquhart, passed a committee last week and will next be debated by the full Senate. The bill defines a hate crime as an offense against a person or person’s property based on a belief or perception about their ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion or sexual orientation. It provides for enhanced penalties when those beliefs motivate a crime.

According to the sponsor, hate crimes are not only an offense to an individual, but also negatively affect an entire community. During the committee hearing, many witnesses argued that the existing hate crime law is too difficult to enforce. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said there were over 1,200 hate crimes investigated by police in the past 20 years, but only a handful ever prosecuted. Gill testified that “we, as public prosecutors, want a tool available to us so we can effectively address a measure of justice to the community.” In 2014 the FBI reported 50 bias-motivated crimes in Utah. None were prosecuted under Utah’s current hate crime law.

Senator Urquhart stated that his bill does not restrict speech, and that under the First Amendment individuals are free to express hate. He also noted that the law draws a line between thought and action. When someone acts on his or her hate to harm another, Urquhart feels that there should be a harsher punishment.

Senator Todd Weiler, the only legislator to vote against the bill at the hearing, wondered if the hate crimes bill came too soon after last year when the Legislature adopted a landmark law forbidding housing and employment discrimination for the LGBT community. After the hearing, the LDS Church expressed concern that the proposed law could upset the balance of religious liberty and gay rights achieved in legislation passed last year.

Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman’s excellent Op-Ed on this legislation was in Sunday’s Salt Lake Tribune. You can find it here.

My Legislation

Last week, two of my bills passed the House of Representatives unanimously: HB 267 – Charitable Solicitations Act Amendments and HB 158 – Campaign Funds Restrictions for County and School Board Offices. Following its passage in the House, I presented HB 267 in the Senate Business and Labor Committee on Friday, which passed unanimously as well. HB 158 will be debated in the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee on Monday.

HB 237 – Income Tax Contribution for Clean Air, which would give taxpayers the option to voluntarily donate to the new “Clean Air Fund” on their tax returns, unanimously passed the House Revenue and Tax Committee after a lively debate. I look forward to presenting it to the full House for their consideration.

Appropriations Process

Part of our work in the Legislature involves passing the state budget. During the first few weeks of the session each appropriations subcommittee reviewed “base budgets” and considered new requests for ongoing or one-time funding. The number, scope, and type of requests vary dramatically. For example, a few of the many requests presented to the Business Economic Development & Labor Appropriations Subcommittee on which I serve, included funding for: liquor store staff and equipment, tourism marketing, museums and other arts organizations, Columbus Hub of Opportunity, Outdoor Recreation Office, and many local community events.

The prioritization process is difficult because of the number of worthy requests and very limited new funds. It is important that we are wise stewards of taxpayer dollars. You can review all the lists of requests on our legislative website.

Each appropriations subcommittee has completed their review of base budgets and new funding requests and made their recommendations. As a member of House Leadership, I serve on the Executive Appropriations Committee and will be working with my colleagues to review the subcommittee recommendations and create a final budget.

The Compendium of Budget Information (COBI) provides much more detailed budget analysis and can be found here.

Officers Barney and Richey

Last week, the Utah Legislature honored the family of Officer Doug Barney and Officer Jon Richey. As many of you know, on January 17th Officer Barney was killed in the line of duty. Officer Richey was injured in the same incident. Both of these officers worked in Holladay, Utah. Our state owes a huge debt of gratitude to these officers and their families.

Officer Barney had a distinguished 18-year career in law enforcement. He served as a school resource officer before joining the Unified Police Department (UPD), where he was assigned to the Holladay Precinct. I was honored to know Officer Barney. I will never forget his wonderful sense of humor. He loved talking about music and cars. He was truly devoted to his family and our community.

Officer Richey grew up in Holladay. He is well known for his incredible work ethic. He started his law enforcement career in 1984, as the youngest police officer in the state. He has brought national and international renown to the K-9 units he trained. Our community was touched by the eloquent speech he gave about Doug Barney at the Vigil last month. We wish Officer Richey a full and speedy recovery.

Utah Division of Arts & Museums

Last week, I saw some of the collection of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums. One of the most interesting exhibits was about State Representative Alice Merrill Horne, a Democrat who was the second woman to serve in that body (elected in 1898). She pioneered legislation to create the first state-sponsored arts agency in the nation, as well as legislation setting aside the land grant for the University of Utah. She also fought for clean air and helped save the Eagle Gate from demolition. Below is a photo of Rep. Horne and one of the first pieces of art bought for our state art collection. It depicts Black Rock at the Great Salt Lake, which happens to be where my parents became engaged to be married in 1949.

Crash Course in the Utah State Legislature

For those of you who would like get involved in the legislative process or just learn more about how the Utah Legislature works, I wanted to include some helpful links to pages on our legislative website. This is just part of the wealth of information available for the public.

Legislative Update

Dear Friends:

We just completed the third week of the 2016 Legislative Session, which means we are nearly half way done. It goes by so fast! Thank you to everyone who has corresponded with me about legislative issues. It is important to me to hear how I can best represent the residents of House District 36. When you contact me about an issue, it is helpful if you include the bill number or a description of the appropriations request. I also appreciate it when you provide your home address, because I respond first to those living in House District 36.

When you email me, please be patient if I do not respond immediately. I read all of my email personally and sometimes receive hundreds of messages in a day. If you are contacting me to find out the status of a bill or when a committee is meeting, you can obtain that information more quickly at: http://le.utah.gov.

Air Quality This Week

It would be hard for anyone not to notice the terrible air quality that we are experiencing. It is far above healthy levels. Last week, areas of Utah reached a level far worse than anywhere else in the United States. I am working hard to pass meaningful air quality legislation and appropriations. As clean air legislation is being discussed and voted on, I am pleased with the work of our bipartisan Clean Air Caucus, which I founded and co-chair.

Unfortunately there are no “silver bullets” which will solve this difficult problem. We are working together on a variety of approaches. I rely heavily on real data and science, which requires additional funding for valid research. If you want a copy of the proposals we are working on this session, please send me an email message.

Earlier last week I was on a KSL TV panel with my friend, Rep. Steve Handy, to talk about what the Legislature is doing on this important topic. We also talked about what we can all do to put fewer emissions into our air.

My Legislation

Speaking of air quality, HB130 – Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Amendments, which facilitates financing for electric vehicle charging stations, unanimously passed the Public Utilities and Technology Committee. Vehicle emissions account for about 48% of our air pollution, so for years I have worked to provide incentives for people to drive cleaner cars. One of the barriers to driving electric vehicles is having a sufficient number of charging stations in convenient locations.

I also presented HB267 – Charitable Solicitation Act Amendments, which unanimously passed the Business and Labor Committee. This bill reduces over-regulating certain organizations that already have adequate oversight. It also clarifies other aspects of the state consumer protection law. During the hearing, the State PTA spoke in favor of this bill.

The entire House of Representatives will consider both of these bills this week. If they pass, the Senate will consider them next.

The Legislative Process Matters

Last week during a floor debate in the House Chambers, we were all given a good example of why the legislative process matters in order to pass legislation fairly. HB69- Qualified Party Amendments, which passed the House Government Operations Committee, was drafted by Rep. Cox to modify minor parts of the Election Code. When the bill was brought up for a full debate of the Utah House, Rep Fawson attempted to substitute the bill with a completely different version which would have reversed last year’s SB 54 (“Count My Vote” compromise legislation) and codify the position of the Chair of the State Republican Party about the primary process. This matter is currently the subject of pending litigation. House members had not had an opportunity to review this proposal.

I quickly moved to “circle” the bill, which holds the bill and stops any action. My goal was to make sure that House members had an opportunity to read the bill and receive public input before voting on such a major piece of legislation. My motion to “circle” was controversial, but eventually passed. If you want to learn a little more about this situation, you can read this helpful article.

Happy 100th Birthday to the Capitol!

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of the construction of our State Capitol. Richard Kletting was the architect who designed this magnificent building. It is full of wonderful art, architecture and history. I first worked here as an intern for Governor Scott Matheson. For the past few years I have served as a member of the Capitol Preservation Board.

On the Fourth Floor of the Capitol, there is an exhibit that details the process of site selection, design, and the construction process that made it what it is today, including the important role that the Capitol has played in Utah history. I would encourage you to check it out and learn a little bit about this beautiful building and more history about our state.