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
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.
Representative Arent in the News
Visiting the Capitol
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.
It is truly an honor for me to represent HD 36. I look forward to hearing from you throughout the rest of the session.