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.