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
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
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.
Representative Arent in the News
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.