Legislative Site Visit Recap

Legislative Site Visit Recap

Many members of the Utah Legislature recently returned from a two-day site visit to Southern Utah, with stops in Millard, Beaver, Iron, Garfield, Piute and Sevier Counties. In addition to various site visits, the bus ride consisted of presentations from officials in many of the areas through which the lawmakers were traveling. They visited the largest power plant in the state, Intermountain Power Plant (IPP), which, incidentally, produces power mainly for the Los Angeles area. Power seemed to be the theme of the day – from traditional coal-fired to fuel storage to windmills to solar. Southern Utah produces and provides energy for much of the state and beyond and the legislators visited a few of those sites, including Magnum fuel storage, First Wind and the Red Hills solar project.

Another major theme was education. Not only did lawmakers enjoy presentations by representatives of Southern Utah University and Snow College, but were able to hear about many of the challenges facing rural schools. Despite limited budgets and falling rates of enrollment, rural districts are facing their challenges head on in meeting the educational needs of their students.

It was clear that no matter where on the political spectrum one falls, one of the greatest issues facing those in rural Utah is the ever-encroaching power of the federal government as it relates to federal lands, and the need of local officials to have more control.

The opportunity to see other areas of the state and speak with residents, business and education leaders and local representatives in their own communities, had a significant impact on those from more urban areas whose constituents oftentimes face far different challenges. The experience will allow for greater understanding of the unique issues faced by rural Utahns and hopefully lead the state to new ways of solving old problems in our rural communities. 

Press Release: President Trump Signs Executive Order to Review National Monuments

Press Release
For Immediate Release
April 26, 2017

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

President Trump Signs Executive Order to Review National Monuments

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to have Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke review national monument designations and the history of the Antiquities Act, which was never intended to lock up large swathes of land as it has been used over the past two decades. The intent of the Antiquities Act was to set aside only the smallest area necessary to protect significant archaeological or historical sites.

“I’m thankful we have a President that is sensitive to the needs of those of the West, of our great land and great people,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “This is the first step in the process of reviewing Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument designations to ensure that the antiquities are preserved, while keeping the lands accessible to the Native Americans and citizens.”

During the 2017 session, Speaker Hughes sponsored  H.C.R. 11, Concurrent Resolution Urging the President to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation. This concurrent resolution urged the new administration to remove the 1.35-million-acre monument designation made by the previous president shortly before leaving office.

“I’m grateful to live in a nation where things are not forced upon us by politicians that do not care and do not listen to what a majority of Utahns want,” said Speaker Hughes. “We now have a president that is willing to listen to the input of Utahns and discuss viable alternatives.”

Utah has endured two of the most controversial national monument designations in recent history. Nearly 70 percent of Utah is under federal management and control, and 90 percent of Utah’s population lives on just 1 percent of its land.

“The days of a president decreeing whatever he pleases despite the adverse effects it has on the people in the community are over,” said Speaker Hughes. “I am grateful that this President wants to be a partner with us in figuring out how best to preserve our lands while still providing economic opportunities for those residing in the area.”

###

100-year anniversary of the U.S. entering the War to End All Wars

Representative Stephen Handy, sponsor of H.C.R. 2 Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the United States and Utah’s Participation in World War I, spoke at the ceremony to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I.

The war to end all wars began July 28, 1914. Nearly two years later, on April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked United States Congress to declare war on the German Empire. On April 6, America entered the Great War.

A few months later, on May 18th the Selective Draft Act passed, which allowed compulsory enlistment in the military. According to the Utah departments of Veterans and Military Affairs and Heritage and Arts, over 21,000 Utahns went into the Armed Forces of the United States, 10,000 volunteered to serve, and 11,000 were drafted.

On November 11, 1918, the armistice to end the war was signed. During WWI, 655 Utahns lost their lives, and 864 were wounded.

H.C.R. 2 recognizes the United States’ and Utah’s participation in the Great War. It also helped establish a Utah World War I Centennial Commission. The purpose of the Commission is to develop a statewide awareness campaign to recognize the history of the war, the role of the U.S. military played, the impact of the war on America’s and Utah’s society and culture and to remember those who served and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

 

“I think it is important to remember the dedication and sacrifice of all those who served in World War I,” said Rep. Handy.  “Courageous men and women fought to preserve our freedom, and it is our responsibility to acknowledge what they fought so hard to achieve.”

This event was co-sponsored by the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and the Utah Division of State History. It featured the Utah National Guard Brass Quintet, a poetry reading by Robert Means, senior librarian for Brigham Young University, and artifacts from the period.

 

The Utah Division of State History created an interactive map to find locations of veterans’ memorials located throughout the state. MVI_0964There are approximately 180 memorials dedicated to over 20 wars, conflicts and terrorist attacks that occurred since 1775. Visit the website to see photos of the memorials, war descriptions and memorial dedications dates here.

Thank you to all those who served and are currently serving for your dedication and sacrifice.

 

See additional pictures from the event here.

Media Advisory: Commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
April 4, 2017 

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

Commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I

Salt Lake City – Representative Stephen Handy, sponsor of H.C.R. 2 Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the United States and Utah’s Participation in World War I, to speak at a ceremony to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I.

This resolution recognizes the United States’ and Utah’s participation in the Great War, which spanned from July 28, 1914, to November 11, 1918. It also helps the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and the Utah Department of Heritage establish a Utah World War I Centennial Commission. The purpose of the future Commission is to develop a statewide awareness campaign to recognize the history of the war, the role of the U.S. military played, the impact of the war on America’s and Utah’s society and culture and to remember those who served and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

This event, co-sponsored by the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and the Utah Division of State History, is open to the public. The event will feature several speakers, music and artifacts from the period.

Who: 
Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs
The Utah Division of State History
Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton

What:
Remembering the Great War – Commemorating the Centennial Anniversary of the United States’ entry into the first world war

Where:
Utah State Capitol ­– Rotunda
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

When:
Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 10 a.m.

Notes:
For more information and details about the commemorative period, please visit history.utah.gov.

###

 

New State Work of Art: The Spiral Jetty

The Spiral Jetty, a 15-foot-wide coil that stretches more than 1,500 feet into the Great Salt Lake, was designated as an official Utah state work of land art during the 2017 General Session.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts refers to the Spiral Jetty as “Undoubtedly the most famous large-scale earthwork of the period, it has come to epitomize Land art. Its exceptional art historical importance and its unique beauty have drawn visitors and media attention from throughout Utah and around the world.”

“It truly is a bucket list item for art lovers around the world,” said Rep. Rebecca Edwards, sponsor of H.B. 211 State Work of Art.

In 1970, the Spiral Jetty was created on the desolate Rozel Point shoreline in the Great Salt Lake by Robert Smithson. The Dia Art Foundation leases the lake bed where the Spiral Jetty is located from the State of Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. Dia collaborates with two organizations, the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College (GSLI) and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah (UMFA), to help preserve the artwork.

While studying for the 2015 AP Art History exam, an American Fork High School class was delightfully surprised to find that one of the 250 works of art was in Utah: The Spiral Jetty.

The AP Art History curriculum features the Spiral Jetty as one of the Top 250 art pieces. The curriculum is designed to focus on the layers of meaning of artworks from around the globe. The emphasis, to study art pieces from political, visual, cultural, historical, societal and economic angles with a focus on the broader cultural context of a smaller number of works of art intended to reflect world history. Some of the other art pieces include the Stonehenge, the Parthenon, Great Pyramids of Giza, Sistine Chapel, Machu Picchu, Westminster Palace, Versailles, Petra, Mesa Verde, Angkor Wat as well as works by Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Cezanne, Picasso, Rembrandt and Rodin. See the full list here.

“I think the Spiral Jetty is an excellent example of work that connects cross-culturally and why it was included in the AP Art curriculum,” said, Rep. Edwards, District 20. “It symbolizes how Utahns collaborate and work together to find the best solutions for our communities.”

H.B. 211 State Work of Art passed the Utah Legislature and was signed by the Governor.

Check out some of the stories about the Spiral Jetty being named a state work of art:

New York Times: ‘Spiral Jetty’ Is Named an Official State Work of Art by Utah

Smithsonian Magazine: Utah Chooses New State Works of Art

Apollo-Magazine: Robert Smithson’s ‘Spiral Jetty’ named official Utah state artwork

Salt Lake Tribune: Spiral Jetty and ancient rock art honored by lawmakers

Artnet News: Iconic ‘Spiral Jetty’ Voted Utah’s Official State Work of Land Art

KSL: Utah’s Spiral Jetty to become state work of art

The Davis Clipper: Legislators will be working into the night to wrap things up on Capitol Hill 

April 2017 Legislative Calendar

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

3:00 p.m. Legislative Audit Subcommittee

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

3:00 p.m. Legislative Management Committee

Friday, April 14, 2017

9:00 a.m. Prison Development Commission

Thursday, April 20, 2017

1:30 p.m. Point of the Mountain Development Commission –CANCELED

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

1:00 p.m. Point of the Mountain Development Commission

*Not all meetings are streamed online.

Media Advisory: One hundred twenty-seven people to take the Oath of Allegiance at the Utah State Capitol

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
March 20, 2017

 

Contact:
                                 Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

One hundred twenty-seven people to take the Oath of Allegiance at the Utah State Capitol                        

Salt Lake City – Representative Norm Thurston, in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will host a naturalization ceremony for approximately 127 people from 43 countries at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 22 at the Utah State Capitol.

Utah Speaker of the House Greg Hughes and former Utah State Representative Sophia DiCaro will deliver remarks at the ceremony. Rep. Norm Thurston will serve as master of ceremonies. Laura McNeer, field office director for USCIS, will administer the Oath of Allegiance.

Sharlee Hendricks, violinist, will play the national anthem. “America, My Home” will be sung as a surprise by an international lyric tenor-baritone who is a relative of a person naturalizing.

On-site voter registration will be available following the ceremony. 

Who: 
Speaker Greg Hughes, Utah House of Representatives
Rep. Norm Thurston, District 64
Sophia DiCaro, Former Utah State Representative for District 31
Laura McNeer, USCIS Field Office Director
Sharlee Hendricks, Violinist

What:
U.S. Naturalization Ceremony

Where:
Utah State Capitol ­– Rotunda
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

When:
Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at 10 a.m.

###

Notes:
New citizens will be available for interviews immediately following the ceremony. When photographing someone with their certificate, have the person cover up their alien number (top right) to protect their privacy.

 

H.B. 199, High Needs Children Adoption Amendments

Adoption of High-Needs Children
Legislation Preventing Unregulated Custody Transfers

SALT LAKE CITY – H.B. 199, High Needs Children Adoption Amendments, sponsored by Representative Merrill Nelson, District 68, passed the House and the Senate. The intent of this legislation is to prevent parents who adopt high-needs children and later become overwhelmed with their care, from transferring custody of the adopted child to strangers through internet websites. Such informal transfers of custody often can result in the children being subjected to bondage, sex trafficking or other forms of abuse or neglect. This illegal practice, known as “rehoming,” is prohibited by the bill as an “unregulated custody transfer.”

This legislation requires full disclosure of the history of a high-needs child, available training about the challenging behavior and guidance about where parents can find additional assistance and resources. There will also be a penalty for those who engage in an unregulated custody transfer across state lines. Child Protective Services will have authority to investigate the safety of a child who has been subject to an unregulated custody transfer.

“Investigations of this practice reveal that 18,000 or more children, most of them adopted from foreign countries, have been given away to strangers by way of internet websites,” said Rep. Nelson. “Unfortunately, Utah families have been involved on one side or the other of this rehoming phenomenon.  We must act to protect these children from child predators and others who would harm them.”

The U.S. Department of State invited Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Human Services, Children’s Bureau and the Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children to participate on a committee to help stop to unregulated custody transfers. Attorney General Reyes requested Rep. Nelson to run this legislation.

Attorney General Sean Reyes said, “We applaud the efforts of Rep. Nelson efforts. This bill provides adoptive parents more resources facing challenges with finding another adoptive family through legal processes. H.B. 199 is absolutely necessary to protect children and assist adoptive families. It allows the state to better educate and inform adoptive parents, empowering them to be more informed and prepared. With its passage, this bill will now provide a model for other states, and for that, we are truly grateful to Rep. Nelson for his work to pass this bill.”

This legislation is supported by the Utah Adoption Council and the Division of Child and Family Services.

###

 

 

Press Release: Next steps for addressing Utah homeless crisis announced

Press Release
For Immediate Release
February 24, 2017

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Next steps for addressing Utah homeless crisis announced

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Speaker of the House, state leadership and the mayors of Salt Lake County and City announced the next steps to address the homelessness crisis in Utah. The plan includes a new direction of the shelter model that breaks up the one-size-fits-all model into three resource centers— two in Salt Lake City and one located outside the city but in Salt Lake County.

“This proposal will allow us to move forward in our efforts to better serve those experiencing homelessness in Utah and relieves some of the pressure on Salt Lake City in providing those services. While the location and size of resource centers are changing slightly, what remains the same is the unprecedented level of cooperation and dedication among City, County, and State leaders in working with service providers to compassionately address this issue,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

“At the state’s request, we will provide options for locating a homeless resource center outside of Salt Lake City. We believe the framework of this plan as outlined today will make it possible to reach our Collective Impact goal of minimizing homelessness, enhancing public safety, meeting the needs of those in crisis and helping them return to stable and independent lives,” said Mayor Ben McAdams.

Next steps include:

  • Improvements in coordinating resources across the housing and homelessness delivery system.
  • Two facilities in Salt Lake City. Each facility will serve up to 200 individuals.
  • One facility to be located outside of Salt Lake City is scheduled to be selected by March 30, 2017.
  • The current downtown shelter is anticipated to close by June 30, 2019.

A new bill sponsored by Rep. Francis Gibson will be presented to finalize funding for the new centers, which will utilize the process created under H.B. 436 Housing and Homelessness Reform Initiative from 2016. Under the direction of the State Homeless Coordinating Committee, the Department of Workforce Services will continue to work closely with the County and City to ensure funds are used as directed by the legislation and the approved plan.

“As I mentioned in my opening day remarks at the start of this session I’m drawing a line in the sand.  Homelessness and the criminal element that is preying on the most vulnerable amongst us is a statewide issue. One city, one county and the state alone can’t take this on by itself. We’ve come together in a collaborative effort, we’ve listened to concerns, and we’ve come up with a unified plan to reform this issue and address this crisis. It hasn’t been easy, and we are just getting started, but together we are committed to make this right and reform the way we address this crisis,” said Speaker Greg Hughes.

###

NOTES:

  1. The homelessness proposal can be found here: http://www.utahreps.net/press/homelessness-proposal

 

 

 

 

Homelessness Proposal – 2017 Utah State Legislative Session February 24, 2017

Homelessness Proposal
2017 Utah State Legislative Session February 24, 2017

Over the last two years, stakeholders from all sectors — public, private, and nonprofit — have been working to responsibly address the homelessness crisis we face in our state. Through this work, we have developed a plan to break up the ‘one-size-fits-all’ shelter model and reorient the system to minimize homelessness.

Plan Overview

This plan has four primary components:

  • A redesigned shelter model that breaks up the one-size-fits-all emergency shelter into four resource centers, tailoring services to population needs. There will be a family resource center in Midvale, two facilities in Salt Lake City capped at 200 beds each, and another resource center located in an area outside Salt Lake City. These resource centers will serve distinct populations of adult women, adult men and a gender-segregated facility serving both adult men and women. Population locations will be determined at a later date. No additional facility for families with children is anticipated at this time, as the intent is to divert and prevent these families from entering homelessness through the alternatives discussed below.
  • Alternatives to shelter will continue to be pursued to draw down demand for emergency shelter. Efforts include Salt Lake County’s Pay for Success initiative which targets persistently homeless individuals, more affordable housing, behavioral healthcare treatment facilities, increased diversion, additional e orts to reduce length of stay at a shelter and prevent repeat stays, motel vouchers and other alternatives to meet shelter demand.
  • System improvements that more efficiently coordinate resources across the housing and homelessness delivery system, including a coordinated entry and assessment system.
  • A public safety and treatment initiative, similar to Operation Diversion launched last fall, to ensure neighborhoods are safe and individuals have access to treatment.

Full funding for the above plan is anticipated to move forward this legislative session.

Next Steps 

Utilizing the process created by last year’s HB436 Housing and Homelessness Reform Initiative, funds will be distributed to achieve the above plan. At the request of the state, through a process facilitated by Salt Lake County, stakeholders will identify possible sites for a resource center located in an area outside Salt Lake City for consideration and approval by the State Homeless Coordinating Committee by March 30, 2017. If implemented, the state anticipates being able to responsibly close the downtown emergency shelter by June 30, 2019.