Daily Buzz: January 23, 2017

Overview of the Day:

As part of the opening ceremonies for the 2017 Legislative Session today, Speaker of the House Greg Hughes gave an impactful speech after being sworn in. Listen in here to learn what current legislation Speaker Hughes finds most important to improve upon and change this year.

Justice Reform Initiative Success Story: Brandon Kitchen

After being convicted of a federal crime in another state and spending 21 years in the Utah State Prison, Brandon Kitchen was released into a strange city – homeless, jobless and unsure of where to go next.

Brandon just happened to meet a woman who told him about the Road Home, and that is where he spent his first night of freedom. He still recalls the palpable feelings of despair that permeated the facility and its inhabitants.

At one point, Brandon recalls, he faced losing his bed at the shelter as a consequence of having a job; he was told there was no way for him to have both because leaving to work a job kept him from standing in line all day for a bed. Eventually, through the efforts of the Pioneer Park Coalition, a workers’ bed program was instituted to help those like Brandon, who were trying to become self-reliant.

The morning after he arrived at the shelter, Brandon met Salt Lake City Police Deputy Chief Fred Ross, who told him about the department’s Homeless Outreach Service Team (HOST) program. This program allowed him to secure a job and within three weeks, Brandon worked his way out of the shelter and into transitional housing. Soon after, he moved into his own apartment and is now living with his partner, Heather, and their twin boys, born June 9th.

Despite his past, Brandon understands that self-reliance is the path his future will follow. As he will tell you, Fred Ross, Scott Howell, HOST, the Pioneer Park Coalition and others, they showed me the way. They gave me hope. Not a handout, but a hand-up. That’s the key.

Legislative Schedule for Jan. 24, 2016

8:00 AM: Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee REVISED

8:00 AM: Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee

8:00 AM: Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee

8:00 AM: Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee

11:00 AM: House Chamber, House Floor Time

2:00 PM: House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee REVISED

2:00 PM: House Government Operations Committee REVISED

2:00 PM: House Political Subdivisions Committee

2:00 PM: House Revenue and Taxation Committee