Category: Press

Rep. Schultz and Sen. Harper ask UTA to hold on rebranding UTA

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2018

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

Bryan Smith
Deputy Chief of Staff
Utah State Senate
bsmith@le.utah.gov

 Sen. Harper and Rep. Schultz ask UTA to hold on rebranding UTA

Salt Lake City – Due to confusion and misinformation surrounding SB 136, Transportation Governance Amendments, bill sponsors Senator Wayne Harper and Representative Mike Schultz request Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to not proceed with the request for proposal (RFP) and rebranding. The Legislature will continue to study this issue and work with the new UTA board once it is in place, to decide the best path forward.

“We want all to focus on the new day of multimodal transportations, better utilization of resources, improved land use and planning and adequate funding,” said Sen. Wayne Harper. “A plan for the next 40 years.”

“The name change was a minimal aspect of the bill. No money was appropriated to rebrand UTA,” said Rep. Mike Schultz. “The purpose of this legislation is to revamp the transit agency by increasing transparency, improving checks and balances and providing local governments with the necessary tools to assist with the growing demand for multimodal transportation. It is now time for stakeholders to come together to further enhance Utah’s transportation system and set clear directives that will lead to better efficiencies and oversight and ultimately benefit all Utahns.”

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Watch the press conference from May 16, 2018, here.

Read highlights of SB 136 here.

 

 

 

Transportation Reform

Utah’s population is expected to double within the next 50 years and we will need to continue to plan and prepare for this future growth. Utah is recognized nationwide for its innovative transportation systems and collaboration. SB 136, Transportation Governance Amendments, restructures the governance of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), enhances the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), creates a new fund for transportation and transit and modifies some of the funding sources.

Highlights of SB 136, Transportation Governance Amendments

 UTA Governance

  • Creates a three-member full-time board of trustees that will oversee the agency.
  • Board members will be nominated by counties, appointed by the governor with consent from the Senate:
    • Salt Lake County – 1
    • Utah county with Tooele County – 1
    • Davis County and Weber County with Box Elder County – 1
  • Board members will serve three year, staggered terms that will be at-will, under the governor.
  • Creates a nine-member advisory board.
  • Must have approval from State Bonding Authority before issuance of any new bonds.
  • Requires the State Attorney General’s Office to provide legal counsel.

UDOT Governance

  • Restructures UDOT to accommodate an increased role in multimodal planning and capital development.
  • Creates a Planning and Investment Division.

Investment Fund

  • Creates a structure to form future Transit Transportation Investment Funds (TTIF), which will require at least 40 percent non-state funding.
  • Permits political subdivisions to create Transportation Reinvestment Zones to capture increases in property taxes around transportation infrastructure improvements.

Fair Share

  • As more people have switched from traditional vehicles to electric and hybrid, the gas tax has lagged behind.
  • SB 136 implements a three-year phase-in of fees for these vehicles. The purpose is to start working towards every driver paying a fair share for the use of the roads.

Provides Local Governments with Key Tools

  • Expands and clarifies counties’ authority to implement a local sales tax option of .20% for public transit after July 1, 2019.

Restructures State Transportation Planning

  • Directs UDOT to develop statewide strategic initiatives for planning and coordinating multimodal transportation.

 

Former Representative Carl Duckworth

Media Statement
For Immediate Release:
May 1, 2018

House Democrats Mourn the Passing of Former Representative Carl Duckworth

SALT LAKE CITY – Today Utah House Democrats offered their condolences to Representative Susan Duckworth and her family upon hearing news of the passing of her husband and former Democratic Representative Carl Duckworth.

Representative Carol Spackman Moss said, “Carl was always kind and friendly, and never appeared to be in a bad mood. He had a quiet demeanor, but as a legislator he was always engaged and followed everything closely.  If ever I had a question during a floor debate I could always ask Carl and he knew the answer.”

Representative Patrice Arent said, “Carl was truly someone who cared about his community.  He was a wonderful friend and he cared about his colleagues. I truly enjoyed serving with him.”

Representative Mark Wheatley said, “Besides being a nice guy, Carl was a strong advocate for unions. He worked to ensure people received equal pay for equal work. He wanted people to have a livable wage with health benefits. In that sense, he was true Democrat who fought for hardworking Utahns.”

Rhoda Struhs, who was Administrative Assistant for the House Democrats while Rep. Carl Duckworth served, said, “Carl was a quiet champion. He very seldom spoke up, but instead chose to work behind the scenes. He wasn’t one to pontificate.  But when he did, the whole floor would get quiet. Carl would stand and speak very articulately and calmly about a bill, and everyone would stop and listen. That almost never happens at the legislature, and I thought it was so powerful.  Everyone heard the words he was saying when he spoke.”

Former Representative Carl Duckworth served the state of Utah as a legislator for 10 years, from January 1, 1999 until December 31, 2008.

Contact:
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Minority Caucus
 rosschambless@le.utah.gov

Representative Susan Duckworth Statement

Media Statement
For Immediate Release:
May 1, 2018 

SALT LAKE CITY – Today Representative Susan Duckworth gave this statement on the passing of her husband, former Democratic Representative Carl Duckworth:

“Carl Duckworth lived a full life and passed away on Monday, May 1, surrounded by his family. Carl loved his family and the gospel. He married his sweetheart, Sue Duckworth on June 15, 1973. They are blessed with four children and eight grandchildren.  His service to the State of Utah spanned 1999 through 2008, where he served in the House of Representatives. Carl enjoyed his work in the House and is grateful for the experiences and the lifetime of friendships made there.”

Former Representative Carl Duckworth was 63.

Contact:
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Minority Caucus
 rosschambless@le.utah.gov

Speaker Greg Hughes statement about the passing of Former Rep. Carl Duckworth

Media Statement
For Immediate Release
May 1, 2018

 Speaker Greg Hughes statement about the passing of Former Rep. Carl Duckworth

Salt Lake City – Speaker Greg Hughes issued this statement following the death of former Representative Carl Duckworth:

“I served with Representative Carl Duckworth. He was a committed public servant who quietly went about the People’s business without pause and never for praise. Carl’s diagnosis of cancer and the attending health complications meant it would not be possible for him to run for re-election. Carl’s exuberant wife, Sue, became our colleague when she was elected to his seat in the next election. That was a decade ago, and this incredible couple have been a dear part of our lives ever since.

“During this most recent General Session, an emotional highlight for the House was when Carl, still quietly battling for his health after all of these years, joined me on the Dais during our Floor time. In that moment, there wasn’t a dry eye in our Arena.

“We love Sue Duckworth and will dearly miss Carl. The House extends its heartfelt condolences. The Duckworth’s are family to Utah’s House of Representatives. We are sorry for the loss that is felt among family and our community as a whole.”

 

 Former Representative Duckworth served in the Utah House of Representatives from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2008.

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

 

Rep. Gage Froerer to be recognized for his legislative work

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
April 11, 2018

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

 Rep. Gage Froerer to be recognized for his legislative work

What:
Youth Impact is holding a press conference to recognize Representative Gage Froerer for his legislative work of supporting non-profits and helping reduce the size of government. 

Who:
Rep. Gage Froerer, District 8
Youth Impact
Northern Utah Red Cross
Cottages of Hope
Intermountain Donor Services

 Where:
Youth Impact
2305 Grant Ave, Ogden, UT 84401

When:
Thursday, April 12 at 3:30 p.m.

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Utah Legislature to hold a veto override session

MEDIA ADVISORY
April 11, 2018

CONTACT
Aundrea Peterson
Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Utah Legislature to hold a veto override session

Salt Lake City – As outlined in the Utah Constitution, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House have conducted a poll of their respective members, and two-thirds of the members of each chamber are in favor of reconvening the Legislature to reconsider bills and items vetoed by the Governor. President Niederhauser and Speaker Hughes will issue the official call of the veto override session to their members including the date and time of the session.

Article VII, Section 8(4) of the Utah Constitution states that the veto override session “shall begin within 60 days after the adjournment of the session at which the disapproved bill or item of appropriation passed. This session may not exceed five calendar days and shall be convened at a time set jointly by the presiding officer of each house solely for the purpose of reconsidering the bill or item of appropriation disapproved. If upon reconsideration, the bill or item of appropriation again passes both houses of the Legislature by a yea and nay vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house, the bill shall become law or the item of appropriation shall take effect on the original effective date of the law or item of appropriation.”

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Combating Violence with Kindness

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2018 

 

Combating Violence with Kindness
Utah Legislature Passed a Resolution Designating April as #MSDkindness Month

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Legislature passed HCR 22, Concurrent Resolution Designating April as #MSDkindness Month, which aims to pay tribute to the victims who lost their lives in the senseless act of violence that was committed against students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clinton) and Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley), designates April as Act of Kindness month to encourage Utahns to perform random acts of humanity to honor the victims of Parkland, Florida. In honor of #MSDKindness, a feature was added to the SafeUT so users could report acts of kindness in addition to incidents of crisis. People are encouraged to report their acts of kindness during April through SafeUT, which has been designed to improve school safety and help students access critical mental health resources. These acts of kindness will highlight the good of the community while engaging students in using an app that aims to help prevent future acts of violence.

“It is my goal to makes sure that my daughter’s legacy is remembered as one not of tragedy, but of hope, service, and love,” said Ryan Petty, the father of 14-year-old Alaina who lost her life during the recent attack in Florida. “It is also my goal to make sure this time will be different because we are going to focus on school safety initiatives to prevent anyone else from going through what we have gone through these past few weeks. I am grateful to the sponsors and supporters of this initiative who are working diligently to accomplish both of these goals.”

“The purpose of this resolution is to focus on the hope that comes from the strength of families, like the Petty’s,” said Rep. Ray. “Their determination is an example to us all on how to persevere through challenging times and bring about positive change to school safety. My heart goes out to families during this time of unthinkable loss. Utah is ready to lead by taking actions to promote acts of kindness as well as developing the Davis School District mental wellness program that can serve as a model for schools around the state and nation.”

“With the noise of the world getting louder every day, simple acts of kindness are the best way to get to the root of the problem,” said Sen. Thatcher. “In fact, it may be the only way.”

“My heart also goes out to the perpetrator of this evil and senseless act,” said Petty. “And I wonder if somebody had put their arms around this young man a few months ago or a few years ago, would his life have been different? How much would the lives of the 17 families who have been impacted by the choices he made be different.”

SafeUT was launched in January 2016, following the passage of SB 175, School Safety and Crisis Line. Attorney General Sean Reyes, chair, and Rep. Steve Eliason and Sen. Thatcher are on the SafeUT Commission, which serves as a powerful tool for dealing with school safety, teen suicide and the opioid epidemic. The Pettys have publicly encouraged Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi for the adoption of a version of the SafeUT in the Sunshine State.

“By designating April Kindness month, we want to encourage a little kindness to go a long way,” said Attorney General Reyes. “One small act of kindness can change the trajectory of a life. In doing this we honor the legacy of those children and families in Parkland, Florida, many of whom were dedicated to acts of kindness and service and all of whom deserved more years to accomplish them. By celebrating their lives, we hopefully remind ourselves that we are all part of one large human family. We hope our challenge to other states continues a wave of kindness that will cascade over the nation and turn such tragedy into a little bit of light. Thank you to the Petty family for being an inspiration to us. Alaina has become one of our heroes for her kindness.”

Reyes Family Foundation, The Grand America Hotel and M. Peterson Consulting hosted the Petty Family while they were in Utah.

The resolution also challenges other states to claim the remaining months in the year to carry on the legacy of kindness and service left by those who lost their lives in this tragic incident. Two cities in Washington, Camas and Washougal, have already declared March as their month of kindness to honor the victims of this singular act of violence.

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Watch the press conference here.

Contacts:
Aundrea Peterson
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Bryan Smith
Utah State Senate
bsmith@le.utah.gov

Cindy Reinhard
Utah Attorney General’s Office
creinhard@agutah.gov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislature reaches an agreement with Our Schools Now on education funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2018

Contacts:
Bryan Smith
Deputy Chief of Staff
Utah State Senate

Aundrea Peterson
Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives

Austin Cox
Executive Director
Our Schools Now

Legislature reaches an agreement with Our Schools Now on education funding

Salt Lake City – The Utah Legislature and Our Schools Now have successfully worked together to find common ground in their efforts to better fund education for the schoolchildren of Utah. It has been agreed that the best path forward is to not only increase education funding now, but to also fix the significant structural issues in the tax system that have led to our current education funding imbalance.

Education in Utah will receive an additional $292 million this year. As a result of the discussions with Our Schools Now, the Legislature has committed to a make a number of tax changes and place a question on the ballot that together could lead to an additional $845 per pupil by 2023.

“This compromise is a win-win for the future of Utah. Education has always been my number one priority,” Gov. Herbert said. “This major investment in per-student spending is going to make a noticeable difference for student success in Utah. This solution also allows us to invest in local road needs and make significant progress toward reducing some of the imbalances in our tax code. I appreciate Our Schools Now for bringing this issue to the forefront and the Legislature for responding to the encouragement of the public, and look forward to working to pass the November ballot question and implementing the will of the voters.”

“I appreciate Senator Adams, Our Schools Now, and all the stakeholders who have come together to address these crucial issues,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “These changes will not only result in more money going to education now but a more stable and sustainable tax structure to continue to support education and future growth in the state.”

“The Legislature has shown their commitment to education with historic levels of funding over the last three years. This year we renewed that commitment,” said House Speaker Greg Hughes. “We appreciate Our Schools Now and their efforts to generate better ideas for education reform.”

Statement from Gail Miller, Scott Anderson and Ron Jibson: “This is the year of education in Utah. The actions of this legislature can lead to an $845 increase in per-pupil spending. It’s gratifying that we can come together with the Governor and the Legislature to take such a major step to improve outcomes for our students. We look forward to reaching out to voters across the state for the benefit of our children, and our state, in support of the November ballot proposal.”

These efforts which will replace the Teacher and Student Success Act ballot initiative are detailed below:

  1. Creation of the Teacher and Student Success Account

This account will be used to directly fund schools at the local level and will include specific guidelines, management and oversight. In the first year of the program, the equivalent of 1.5 percent WPU will be deposited into the fund, which at this time is equivalent to approximately $47 million, and will pass through the local education agency (LEA). Distributions from this account will begin in 2020 directly to schools through the TSSA.

  1. Establishing a Working Group

The Legislature will work with Our Schools Now and other education stakeholders to determine the administration of the Teacher and Student Success Account. The working group will review and make recommendations to the Legislature on equal distribution, local control, transparency, performance improvement, accountability and approved areas of investment.

  1. 10-Cent Gas Tax Ballot Question

HB 491 authorizes a non-binding question to go on the ballot. HJR 20 directs the Lt. Governor to place a question on the ballot that would ask voters if the state should increase the gas tax by the equivalent of 10 cents per gallon, indexed for inflation.

Implementing a 10-cent per gallon tax would generate approximately $170 million in new revenue for the Transportation Fund in the first year. Thirty percent would be dedicated to local roads and the remaining 70 percent would be used to offset an equivalent cut in funding for transportation, that would then go toward education. Of these new education funds, 80 percent is intended for the Teacher and Student Success Account for K-12 and 20 percent for higher education performance funding.

  1. Freezing the Basic Rate and Indexing the Basic Levy

HB 293 freezes the state basic property tax rate for 5 years and uses new revenue to equalize student spending among all LEAs. It also indexes the basic levy and places new revenue into the Teacher and Student Success Account subject to periodic review.

  1. Amendments to Education Rainy Day Fund

During the interim, the Legislature will work to change the statute to allow the use of Rainy Day Funds to continue the tradition of funding student enrollment growth and inflation even in economic downturns.

  1. Local Funding of Technology

SB144 Authorizes a local school board to unlock significant new revenue sources for technology and infrastructure projects and programs in our schools.

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Speaker Hughes to hold media availability

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
March 8, 2018

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

Speaker Hughes to hold media availability


What:
Speaker Greg Hughes will host media availability to answer questions about the 2018 General Session.

Who:
Speaker Greg Hughes

When:
Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 6:00 to 6:30 p.m.

Where:
Utah State Capitol, Office of the Speaker of the House
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

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