Month: June 2017

Laws

Below is a list of laws from the 2017 General Session that go into effect July 1, 2017.

HB0001S01 Higher Education Base Budget Grover, K. 2/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 2/16/2017 001
HB0004S01 Business, Economic Development, and Labor Base Budget Webb, R. C. 2/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 2/16/2017 002
HB0007S01 National Guard, Veterans’ Affairs, and Legislature Base Budget Sanpei, D. 2/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 2/16/2017 005
HB0008S01 State Agency and Higher Education Compensation Appropriations Last, B. 3/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/28/2017 438
HB0028 Public Employees Long-term Disability Act Amendments Duckworth, S. 2/17/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/17/2017 034
HB0109S02 Public Utility Regulatory Restricted Account Amendments Pitcher, D. 2/17/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/25/2017 396
HB0113S01 Nursing Care Facility Amendments Gibson, F. 3/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/28/2017 443
HB0195S01 Dissolution of Local Districts Fawson, J. 3/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/22/2017 248
HB0250S02 Driving Under the Influence Program Amendments Fawson, J. 3/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/28/2017 446
HB0344S01 Utah Agriculture Code Amendments Perry, L. 3/9/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/24/2017 345
HB0393S01 Vehicle Towing Amendments Maloy, A.C. 3/9/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/23/2017 298
SB0001S01 Public Education Base Budget Amendments Hillyard, L. 2/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 2/16/2017 006
SB0003 Appropriations Adjustments Stevenson, J. 3/9/2017 7/1/2017 GOVLVETO 3/28/2017 457
SB0005S01 Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Base Budget Hinkins, D. 2/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 2/16/2017 007
SB0006S01 Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Base Budget Thatcher, D. 2/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 2/16/2017 008
SB0008S01 State Agency Fees and Internal Service Fund Rate Authorization and Appropriations Van Tassell, K. 3/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/28/2017 458
SB0016 Sales and Use Tax Exemption Changes Bramble, C. 2/21/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/22/2017 264
SB0018 Firefighters’ Disability Retirement Benefit Amendments Mayne, K. 2/10/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/17/2017 093
SB0019 Retirement Systems Payments to Survivors Amendments Dayton, M. 2/8/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/17/2017 094
SB0021S01 Retirement Systems Amendments Hemmert, D. 2/1/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/20/2017 141
SB0034 Competency-based Education Funding Millner, A. 3/8/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/21/2017 202
SB0113S01 Natural Resources Modifications Dayton, M. 3/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/25/2017 421
SB0130S05 Universal Service Fund Amendments Hinkins, D. 3/9/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/25/2017 423
SB0132S02 Tax Provision Amendments Bramble, C. 3/1/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/22/2017 268
SB0155 Alcohol Beverage Control Budget Amendments Mayne, K. 3/8/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/20/2017 159
SB0194S05 Utah Data Research Center Act Anderegg, J. 3/8/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/24/2017 375
SB0198S03 Utah Communications Authority Amendments Harper, W. 3/9/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/25/2017 430
SB0220S01 Student Assessment and School Accountability Amendments Millner, A. 3/8/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/24/2017 378
SB0237 Servicemembers Custody and Visitation Amendments Hillyard, L. 3/9/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/21/2017 224
SB0238S01 Higher Education Governance Revisions Millner, A. 3/9/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/24/2017 382
SB0276S01 Transportation Funding Modifications Van Tassell, K. 3/8/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/21/2017 234
SB0277S01 Highway General Obligation Bonds Authorization Harper, W. 3/7/2017 7/1/2017 GSIGN 3/25/2017 436

 

Fireworks

Fourth of July and Pioneer Day celebrations complete with fireworks is fast approaching. Though fireworks bring an element of excitement, they are also a fire and safety hazard. Now is a good time to review safety tips, discharge dates and local restrictions before the festivities begin!

Nearly 75 percent of fires this year have been man caused. Review the 2017 local fireworks restricted and non-restricted areas here. (The list of fireworks restrictions is not comprehensive. Check with your local fire authority to see if the use of fireworks is allowed in your area).

Safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them
  • Always have water handy – a hose or buckets of water
  • Never re-light a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water
  • The person lighting the fireworks should wear safety glasses
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix! Have a “designated” person light fireworks

See the more here.

Class “C” fireworks can be sold June 23 through July 27 and discharge July 1-7 and July 21-27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. unless otherwise noted. See additional information here.

 

Separation of Powers and Constitutional Concerns

The special election to replace Congressman Jason Chaffetz has led to a number of serious questions regarding separation of powers, executive authority and the role of the Attorney General. This is not about the special election itself; the Utah Legislature is not interested in disrupting it. The media has done all of us a disservice by calling this a political fight between the legislature and the governor, rather than articulate what it really is—a real concern over fundamental constitutional and legal principles.

Utah Constitution Article V, Section 1 states, “The powers of the government of the State of Utah shall be divided into three distinct departments, the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial; and no person charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of those departments, shall exercise any functions appertaining to either of the others, except in the cases herein expressly directed or permitted.”

The separation of powers is one of the most fundamental principles of our government. The House and Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, agree that Governor Herbert has blatantly overstepped his authority.

The Legislature Shall Prescribe the Process:

U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 4 clearly states, “The Times, Places and Manner of holding an Election for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof.”

The only Utah law related to a special election for a vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives is Utah Code 20A-1-502(1) which states, “When a vacancy occurs…in the office of representative in Congress, the governor shall issue a proclamation calling an election to fill the vacancy.”  

That state code does not prescribe the “times, places and manner of holding an election.”

A Vacancy:

U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 2 states, “When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.” 

Utah State Code 20A-1-502(1) states, “When a vacancy occurs …” 

On May 18, Congressman Chaffetz sent a letter to the governor to announce his “intent to resign from office…on June 30, 2017.” 

On May 19, Governor Herbert signed an Executive Order issuing a writ of election and Lt. Governor Cox issued an order setting the special election process for “the June 30, 2017 vacancy.” That process began the same day.

The filing period for interested candidates closed on May 26. The Lt. Governor certified candidates who collected signatures on June 16.  Major political parties held their nominating conventions on June 17.

The entire election process began, candidate filing period closed and party nominations all happened prior to a vacancy actually occurring. The U.S. Constitution and Utah State Laws are clear—none of this can happen until a vacancy occurs. Therefore, the entire special election has been put in legal jeopardy.

Preparing to Fix a Potential Legal Challenge:

Legislators are concerned about a legal challenge and have been preparing to step in, if needed, to define the process into law so there is no delay in this election.

On May 23, legislative leaders asked for a formal legal opinion from Utah’s independently-elected Attorney General related to concerns about the process and seeking clarity in an attempt to inform their lawmaking process.

Utah Code 67-5-1(7) says the Attorney General shall, give his opinion in writing and without fee to the Legislature or either house and to any state officer, board, or commission, and to any county attorney or district attorney, when required, upon any question of law relating to their respective offices;”

On May 26, the office of Attorney General Reyes completed and signed the legal opinion requested by the Legislature. However, in a further attempt to overstep his authority, Governor Herbert and his office blocked the Attorney General from releasing it to the Utah State Legislature, claiming a conflict of interest and stating that to do so would be a violation of attorney-client privilege.

These claims made by the Governor and his office are erroneous and fly in the face of state law and established procedure, especially when the duties of the Attorney General are clearly defined.

By constitutional design, the Attorney General is accountable directly to the people. This accountability is a fundamental part of our system of checks and balances and separation of powers between the three branches of government.

Additionally, in seeking a legal opinion from the Attorney General’s Office, as allowed by law and which they are REQUIRED to provide, the Legislature is not a client. The opinion is simply that – an opinion – and not legal advice. Therefore, the claim of a conflict of interest and concerns related to attorney-client privilege are not justified.

That said, assuming those concerns are real, situations like these are allowed per state law and State Bar rules.

1990 attorney general memorandum contains a plethora of information related to the role of the Attorney General in giving opinions to agencies in conflict and ensuring that those conflicts are walled off – referencing the American Bar Association Rules and National Association of Attorneys’ General Rules and Recommendations. The arguments as to why the Legislature can’t be given the opinion that the Attorney General’s Office completed back in May are arguments already answered with decades of rules, opinions and laws. In fact, we can’t seem to find anything that would allow the denial of the release of this opinion.

To further emphasize this, in 1994, the Utah State Bar issued an opinion stating that government lawyers, including the Attorney General, are not viewed the same as private attorneys and that laws and rules governing attorney-client privilege either don’t apply at all or simply require firewalls to be created within an office.

In 2013, this opinion was codified in the Utah State Bar Rules. These very rules are the ones referenced as to why the attorney general won’t release his opinion. This raises the question of how a concern over the issuance of an opinion from the Attorney General’s Office to the Legislature even exists.

Unfortunately, the Attorney General, chief legal advisor of the state, is unwilling to fulfill his constitutional and statutory duty and provide the Legislature with a legal opinion on these matters because of concerns about the individual attorneys within his office being harmed by ethics violations due to these claims by the Governor’s Office. Exercising executive authority over an attorney general opinion is not a power held by the Governor. This entire fiasco makes us wonder what the Governor’s Office is trying to hide. Could it be he fears the process he has gone through is not on solid legal ground?

In addition to requesting a legal opinion from the Attorney General, legislative leaders also asked for a legal analysis to be completed by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel and they received it. The conclusion states, “Establishing an election process is a power that may only be exercised by the Legislature and that the Legislature has not, and cannot, delegate to another branch of government.” Read the entire opinion here.

Additional information with the complete timeline of events, letters, memos and constitutional provision, related laws and the OLRGC legal opinion are below.

OLRGC Legal Opinion

According to Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel (OLRGC) legal opinion, “The best interpretation of the scope of that authority [to issue a writ of election to fill a midterm congressional vacancy] is that the Governor’s authority is limited to calling and establishing the date of the election based on the times, places, and manner prescribed by the Legislature.” And, “A court would likely conclude that this legislative power [to prescribe election process] cannot be exercised by the Governor or lieutenant governor.” Further, “The Lieutenant Governor lacked the authority to issue the document, dated May 19, 2017, establishing his own ‘special election process’ for filling a vacancy …” what he called the “June 30, 2017 vacancy”.

Regarding the timing of the writ of election, “The Governor only has the authority to issue a writ of election to fill a vacancy in Congress: ‘[w]hen vacancies happen.’ Because Utah’s Third Congressional seat is still occupied and its occupant may have the ability to withdraw his resignation, the Governor was likely premature in his issuance of a writ of election …”

Read the formal legal opinion from OLRGC here.

 

The Attorney General has a duty to release its opinion to the Legislature

The duties of the Attorney General are clear. The governor’s claim of attorney-client privilege is erroneous and flies in the face of statute and established procedure.

In the letter from the Attorney General Office to the Legislature on May 30, it states that the Attorney General’s office must, under Rules 1.7 and 1.10, avoid conflicts of interest and it claims the Governor and Lieutenant Governor as “our clients by virtue of the Utah Constitution and the Utah Code.” Read the entire letter here.

According to Section 67-5-1 (7) Utah Code Ann.: “The attorney general shall: (7) give his opinion in writing and without fee to the Legislature … when required, upon any question of law relating to their respective offices[.]” And from the 1990 AG’s Memo, “State agencies with conflicting or unclear views about state law may seek clarifying advice from one source.”

 

The role of the AG’s office is to clarify the law as a representative of the people, not of the governor. According to that same memo, “The Attorney General should not be a delegate of the state executive (governor) …”

The very rule, 1.10(f), regarding conflicts of interest, used by the AG’s office to claim their inability to ethically share the legal opinion sought by the Legislature, states, (f) “An office of government lawyers who serve as counsel to a governmental entity such as the office of the Utah Attorney General . . . does not constitute a ‘firm’ for purposes of Rule 1.10 conflict imputation.”

Information

Timeline of Events

  1. April 19 – Chaffetz announces he’s not running again
  2. May 19 – Chaffetz announces his intent to resign
  3. May 19 – Governor Herbert Executive Order/Proclamation – Writ of Election
  4. May 19 – Lt. Gov Cox Issues an “order” detailing election process
  5. May 19 – May 26 – candidates file for office
  6. May 19 – Joint bipartisan op-ed from House & Senate Leaders
  7. May 20 – Speaker Hughes has a conversation with Sean Reyes about potential legal opinion on questions we have.
  8. May 23 – John Fellows requests a legal opinion from the AG Reyes per Utah Code 67-5-1(7).
  9. May 23 – Parker Douglas, AG General Counsel responds that their office will get us the opinion by May 26.
  10. May 25 – The United Utah Party submits signatures to become a qualified political party in Utah.
  11. May 26 – Jim Bennett files for office as a candidate for the United Utah Party but his application is rejected because the signatures to become a qualified political party were not certified. Bennett indicates he will legally challenge the election office’s determination regarding the United Utah Party and his request to be a candidate for them.
  12. May 26 – AG’s office (Spencer Austin) informs us, via phone call, that their opinion was drafted and signed by noon, but due to potential conflicts of interest related to attorney-client privilege and indications of complaints to the State Bar Office of Professional Conduct, they can’t provide the opinion on the date requested.
  13. May 27 – Follow-up letter from John Fellows to the AG that re-states the request for a legal opinion per Utah Code 67-5-17(7).
  14. May 27 – Letter from John Fellows to Billy Walker of the State Bar Office of Professional Conduct explaining that our request of the AG’s office is authorized by statute and allowed within the Rules of Professional Conduct.
  15. May 30 – Official letter from AG’s office (Spencer Austin) explains the concerns related to the Bar Office of Professional Conduct but indicates they anticipate being able to reach a decision by the end of the week.
  16. May 31 – Conference call with AG Reyes and members of his office further discussing the concerns around the potential ethical complaints to the State Bar and informing us that they will not be proceeding until they have those resolved.
  17. June 1 – Chia-Chi Teng announces he will sue in an attempt to get on the ballot.
  18. June 7 – Speaker and President request the same legal opinion from the General Counsel of the Utah Legislature.
  19. June 13 – Utah Legislature General Counsel provides the requested legal opinion.

 

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS, RELATED LAWS & INFORMATION

United States Constitution Article 1, Section 2:

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

Utah Code 20A-1-502(1)

(1) When a vacancy occurs for any reason in the office of a representative in Congress, the governor shall issue a proclamation calling an election to fill the vacancy.

Utah Constitution Article V, Section 1 [Three departments of government.]

The powers of the government of the State of Utah shall be divided into three distinct departments, the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial; and no person charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of those departments, shall exercise any functions appertaining to either of the others, except in the cases herein expressly directed or permitted.

United States Constitution, Article I, Section 4: 

The Times, Places, and Manner of holding Election for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”

United States Code Title 2, Section 8:

“(a) In general

“… the time for holding elections in any State, District, or Territory for a Representative or Delegate to fill a vacancy, whether such vacancy is caused by a failure to elect at the time prescribed by law, or by the death, resignation, or incapacity of a person elected, may be prescribed by the laws of the several States and Territories respectively.”

Utah Constitution Article VI, Section 32(2)

The Legislature may appoint a legal counsel which shall provide and control all legal services for the Legislature unless otherwise provided by statute.

Utah Constitution Article VII, Section 5(4)

The Governor may appoint a legal counsel to advise the Governor

Utah Constitution Article VII, Section 16 [Duties of Attorney General.]

The Attorney General shall be the legal adviser of the State officers, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, and shall perform such duties as provided by law.

Utah Code 67-5-1(7)

(7) give the attorney general’s opinion in writing and without fee to the Legislature or either house and to any state officer, board, or commission, and to any county attorney or district attorney, when required, upon any question of law relating to their respective offices;

Utah Code 67-5-17. Attorney-client relationship.

(1) When representing the governor, lieutenant governor, auditor, or treasurer, or when representing an agency under the supervision of any of those officers, the attorney general shall:

(a)  keep the officer or the officer’s designee reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information;

(b)  explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to enable the officer or the officer’s designee to make informed decisions regarding the representation;

(c) abide by the officer’s or designee’s decisions concerning the objectives of the representation and consult with the officer or designee as to the means by which they are to be pursued; and

(d) jointly by agreement, establish protocols with the officer to facilitate communications and working relationships with the officer or agencies under the officer’s supervision.

(2) Nothing in Subsection (1) modifies or supercedes any independent legal authority granted specifically by statute to the attorney general.

Utah Code 20A-1-203(3)

(3) The governor may call a statewide special election by issuing an executive order that designates:

(a)  the date for the statewide special election; and

(b)  the purpose for the statewide special election.

Excerpt from Congressman Chaffetz letter to Governor Gary Herbert

“I write to inform you in advance of my intent to resign from the office of U.S. Representative at the close of business on June 30, 2017…”

 

 

 

Media Advisory: House members to meet to discuss separation of powers concerns

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
June 19, 2017

Contacts:
Aundrea Peterson
House Majority Communications Director
Utah House of Representatives
801-791-3365| aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

     Elizabeth Converse
House Minority Communications Director
Utah House of Representatives
801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov

House members to meet to discuss separation of powers concerns

What:
Majority and Minority House members will meet Tuesday, June 20 at noon to discuss concerns related to separation of powers.

Where:
Utah State Capitol – House Building, Room 30

When:
Tuesday, June 20, 2017, beginning at 12:00 p.m.

Media availability immediately following in the House lobby (1st floor of the House Building) at approximately 1:20 p.m.

Who:
Members of the Utah House of Representatives
John Fellows, General Counsel, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

 

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Flag Day

We celebrate Flag Day to commemorate the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States, which happened on June 14, 1777. Throughout our history, the American flag has served as a symbol of freedom and opportunity that exist in this great democracy.

Both President Woodrow Wilson, in 1916, and President Calvin Coolidge, in 1927, issued proclamations of national observation of Flag Day. Though, it didn’t become official until President Harry Truman signed the joint resolution approved by the U.S. Congress August of 1949 proclaiming June 14 as Flag Day.

The U.S. Army also celebrates its birthday on this day as well.

Media Statement: UTAH LEGISLATIVE LEADERS REACT TO INTERIOR SECRETARY ZINKE’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON BEAR EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2017

UTAH LEGISLATIVE LEADERS REACT TO INTERIOR SECRETARY ZINKE’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON BEAR EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah legislative leaders expressed support for U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s initial review and recommendations on the Bears Ears National Monument. Speaker of the House Greg Hughes and President of the Senate Wayne Niederhauser issued the following statement:

This year, in response to President Obama’s devastating unilateral overstep declaring the Bears Ears National Monument, the Utah Legislature encouraged the federal government to give the state more stewardship of our lands. We sponsored H.C.R. 11, which asked the new administration to rescind the 1.35-million-acre monument designated in December of 2016. While today’s announcement does not rescind the monument, it is a movement in the right direction.

The people of the American West are frustrated with heavy-handed land management decisions from Washington D.C. The priorities and local knowledge of Western people have too often been ignored. It is incredibly refreshing to interact with an administration that values collaboration with those closest to the land.

We also commend Secretary Zinke’s recognition of the limits of executive power. He asked Congress to authorize tribal co-management, review optimal land use designations for the Bears Ears area, and clarify intent where national monument and wilderness designations seem to conflict. In doing so, Secretary Zinke appropriately recognized that the executive branch is not a monarchy, and that the legislative branch has a vital role to play. We value our working relationship with Utah’s congressional delegation and appreciate their willingness to partner on land use solutions. We encourage them to follow up quickly on the secretary’s request, and stand ready to assist.

We also encourage Congress to narrow future presidents’ ability to misuse the Antiquities Act for purposes beyond its original intent. We hope congressional action will put an end to the abuse of executive power that has been used as a weapon against the people and economy of the American West.

We look forward to the ongoing partnership with the Department of the Interior to preserve our lands, protect traditional use, increase local management, and secure economic opportunity for all Utah citizens.

# # #

CONTACTS

Greg Hartley
House Chief of Staff

Ric Cantrell
Senate Chief of Staff

See the Utah House Leaders statement here.

See the U.S. Department of the Interior press release here.

Press Release: Utah House Leaders Commend Secretary Zinke’s Interim Report on the Bears Ears National Monument

Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 12, 2017

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
801-791-3365 | aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Utah House Leaders Commend Secretary Zinke’s Interim Report on the Bears Ears National Monument

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the Trump Administration and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released their interim report on the Bears Ears National Monument.

Utah House leaders commend President Trump’s leadership, in tasking Secretary Zinke with a review of national monument designations under the Antiquities Act over the past two decades.

“It is refreshing to have an Administration that desires to collaborate with local officials, tribal leaders and citizens to generate optimum methods to manage our lands,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “Western states have often been overlooked and ignored, but that has changed drastically since January.”

The new Administration welcomes the input of Utahns to discuss empirical alternatives to preserve our lands, while providing economic opportunities for those living in the area. This was demonstrated during Secretary Zinke’s recent four-day listening tour of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Earlier this year, the Utah Legislature led efforts to encourage the federal government to allow more state control in the management of our lands. Speaker Hughes sponsored H.C.R. 11Concurrent Resolution Urging the President to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation, which urged the new administration to rescind the 1.35 million acre monument created by the previous administration in December 2016. Rep. Mike Noel sponsored H.C.R. 12Concurrent Resolution Urging Federal Legislation to Reduce or Modify the Boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, to allow greater use of the lands for locals and recreationists.

“Utah took a bold step in the fight to take back management control of our public lands,” said Rep. Noel. “As a result, Utahns were provided an opportunity to give their input, through public comment and meetings, on how to manage our lands in the future.”

The status of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is still under review. Public comment to the Department of the Interior is open until July 10.

The Utah State Legislature continues to work to preserve our lands through increased local management. Local control renders communities with the ability to enhance their economies in a sustainable way and adequately support residents and their families, provide a better education system, protect historic and culturally significant sites and reduce restrictions on recreational use of the land.

The Trump administration is taking steps to reduce federal overreach and bring some control back to state and local governments.

On June 8, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3353, which aims to improve sage-grouse conservation and increase collaboration, cooperation and communication between federal and Western state governments. One-size-fits-all protection of sage grouse does not work because of the vastly different habitats in which the bird can be found. The review of the sage grouse plan provides states, and those closest to the issue, the opportunity to devise solutions that protect the ground-nesting bird without hindering local economic opportunities.

We were thrilled that Utah was able to add yet another strong official to this administration with the appointment of Greg Sheehan as the new Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sheehan has a proven record and more than 25 years of experience in wildlife and natural resource management. He has earned respect from conservation organizations for his leadership, advocacy and dedication to preserving wildlife, and will be an effective leader in Washington.

We are excited to continue to work with Secretary Zinke and the rest of President Trump’s administration in this effort to preserve our lands, increase local management and provide economic prosperity for all citizens of Utah.

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Watch: Rep. McCay’s Discussing Education Funding on Fox 13 News

The Utah Legislature significantly increased education funding during the 2017 General Session without raising taxes. Including:

  • About 60% of new revenue this year went to public education, the largest share in recent memory
  • 4% increase in WPU ($115,452,200), putting money where it can allow for greater flexibility and local control
  • 6.7% funding increase over last year
Watch Rep. Dan McCay’s interview with Ben Winslow on Fox 13 News here.

“Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, said lawmakers have already pushed more money toward education. Even though Utah is last in per-pupil spending, Rep. McCay said they are seeing positive results.”

 

ICYMI: U.S. News recently ranked Utah 9th in the nation in overall education.  Read more here.

 

Watch: Speaker’s & Minority Leader’s Interview on Inside Utah Politics

Watch Speaker Greg Hughes and Minority Leader Brian King interview with Glen Mills on ABC 4 Good for Utah here.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – To debate some of the biggest stories of the week, Speaker Greg Hughes (R) District 51, and Rep. Brian King (D) Minority Leader, joined the Inside Utah Politics Panel.

Lead by Chief Political Correspondent Glen Mills, the panel discussed the validity of Utah’s special election to fill Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ soon-to-be-vacated 3rd Congressional District seat, and if there’s room to negotiate on Senate Bill 54.

“The Democrats and the house and the senate have been pretty strongly in favor of SB54 in the sense that we support an alternative method to the primary ballot and we’ve seen attempts at times in the house and the senate to undermine that process a little bit,” said King. “…There are some people that want to figure out a way to put more power in the caucus and convention system that exists right now, and there are other people that will die on the hill of making sure that there’s an alternative method to the primary ballot as SB54 puts in place.”

“I think we need to go back and see why was the county my vote issue even before us? I think people in the Republican party, and I’m not sure the Democrats had as strong of a voice in this, but they wanted to see more primaries and less of these candidates decided in convention. I think if that was the goal, if SB54 was to create an alternative route to the ballot so that we could see primaries, so that a broader swath of people can have a voice, I think that’s worth talking about. What I think the downside is to SB54, that I think all sides agreed, but we’ve never resolved years later is plurality,” added Hughes.

 

 

 

June 2017 Legislative Calendar

Stay in the know about what is happening at the Utah State Legislature.  Here is a list of June’s meetings. Click the committee to see the agenda, meeting materials and listen to live and past audio* of meetings.

Thursday, June 1
8:30 a.m. Retirement and Independent Entities Interim Committee

Tuesday, June 6
9:00 a.m. Veterans’ and Military Affairs Commission

Thursday, June 8
1:00 p.m. Health Reform Task Force

Monday, June 12
3:30 p.m. State Fair Park Committee

Tuesday, June 13
9:00 a.m. Administrative Rules Review Committee

Wednesday, June 14
1:00 p.m. Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force

Tuesday, June 20
8:30 a.m. Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee
8:30 a.m. Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee
8:30 a.m. Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee
8:30 a.m. Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee
3:00 p.m. Legislative Audit Subcommittee
4:00 p.m. Senate Education Confirmation Committee
4:00 p.m. Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands

Wednesday, June 21
8:30 a.m. Business and Labor Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. Education Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. Government Operations Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. Political Subdivisions Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. Judiciary Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. Transportation Interim Committee
5:00 p.m. Commission on Federalism

 Tuesday, June 27
9:00 a.m. Veterans’ and Military Affairs Commission
2:00 p.m. Utah Tax Review Commission

*Not all meetings are streamed online.