Category: Press

State leaders announce year-end budget surplus

SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 17, 2018) – State leaders announced Wednesday that the State of Utah will close out the prior fiscal year (FY 2018) with a budget surplus. This announcement comes as the Division of Finance wraps up its yearly analysis. Under the division’s current calculation, it will deposit $107 million into state reserve accounts and the Industrial Assistance Fund. After accounting for these transfers, the division estimates there will be nearly $158 million in additional, one-time revenue available from FY 2018. This budget surplus includes $8 million in the General Fund and $150 million in the Education Fund.

“Balancing the budget and operating according to prudent fiscal policies are top priorities here in Utah,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “This one-time surplus revenue will help our legislature lend short-term support to our education system for one-time expenses such as buildings. But we still need a long-term solution to fund excellence in our classrooms.”

“A responsible budget should always spend less money than it takes in and set aside savings for a rainy day,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “These surplus calculations are encouraging and reflect our growing economy, but we must continue to be conservative when planning the entire state budget to ensure we find the correct fiscal balance.”

“These revenue surplus numbers are the result of Utah’s robust economy and I’m encouraged by them,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “However, we must remain vigilant as we plan for our future to continue investing in critical areas such as education, transportation, public safety and our rainy day fund.”

As mentioned above, Utah made significant deposits into rainy day reserve accounts during FY 2018. An additional $6 million went into the general rainy day fund, $65 million into the education rainy day fund, $30 million into Medicaid rainy day fund, and $6 million into various other funds.

These numbers may slightly change as the Division of Finance finalizes its calculations.

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ATTACHMENTS:

FY 2018 Preliminary Fund Balances

FY 2018 State of Utah Financial Highlights

State Revenue Snapshot

CONTACTS:

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

Anna Lehnardt
Gov. Gary R. Herbert
alehnardt@utah.gov

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

Medical Cannabis Policy Update

What: Gov. Herbert, legislative leadership, and community advocates will discuss their shared vision for medical cannabis policy in Utah.

Who:
Gov. Gary R. Herbert
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser
House Speaker Greg Hughes
Michelle McOmber, CEO, Utah Medical Association
DJ Schanz, director, Utah Patients Coalition
Elder Jack N. Gerard, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mark Madsen, patient advocate
Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Utah
Connor Boyack, president, Libertas Institute

When:
Thurs., Oct. 4, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. MST

Where:
Utah State Capitol, Gold Room

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Read the draft Utah Medical Cannabis Act bill here.

View a summary of the draft bill here.

Listen to the press conference that was held on October 4, 2018 here.

Utah Legislative Auditor General John M. Schaff Announces Retirement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2018

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

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

Utah Legislative Auditor General John M. Schaff Announces Retirement

Salt Lake City – After 42 years of service to Utah’s taxpayers, Legislative Auditor General John M. Schaff is retiring. In a letter announcing his plans to retire, Schaff, who has led the 28-person staff of the Office of the Legislative Auditor General since 2004, described his career with the Legislature as “a grand experience.” He praised the legislative body’s respect for the independence of his office saying, “…in all my years on the hill they have never attempted to censor or control the audit process. Rather, the Legislature has allowed the audit function freedom to discover and report the truth.”

Legislative Leaders Offer their Praise for a Dedicated Public Servant

“Utah is a better place thanks to the devoted public service of John Schaff,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “Good policy is predicated on good information. Under John’s leadership, the Office of the Legislative Auditor General has effectively provided information, analyses, and recommendations helping the Legislature make the best policy decisions for our state. John’s impartiality, integrity, and expertise have been above reproach. On behalf of the Utah Senate and the citizens we represent, we thank John for his many years of exceptional public service.”

President Niederhauser’s sentiments were echoed by Speaker of the House of Representatives Speaker Greg Hughes: “The Utah Legislature has been well served under the leadership of John Schaff,” said Speaker Hughes. “John has always exemplified professionalism, and I entrusted his ability to do his job in an exceptional manner. Our state is better because of his dedication to his position. I want to thank him for all the work he has done on behalf of legislators and the citizens of Utah. I want to congratulate John on his retirement, and I wish him well as he begins this new chapter in his life.”

Praise for Schaff and the Office of the Legislative Auditor General came from both sides of the aisle: “John has distinguished himself as an outstanding public servant,” said Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis. “He and his office has set the standard for balanced, in-depth audits. His legacy is a more efficient and accountable state.” House Minority Leader Brian King added, “Because John lead his office professionally and without partisan slant his work has been integral to making our government more competent, efficient, and responsive to Utahns. Even when his assignments were potentially politically-charged, he worked honestly and with transparency to keep our state agencies accountable. I’ve appreciated his diligence and integrity very much.”

Search Underway for Replacement

John Schaff’s retirement will be effective November 30, 2018. Meanwhile, the process has begun for hiring his replacement. The Legislative Audit Subcommittee, which is co-chaired by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, is currently seeking applicants for the position. Applicants must be a Licensed Certified Public Accountant or Certified Internal Auditor, have at least five years of experience in performance auditing in the private or public accounting profession or the equivalent prior to appointment and must hold a master’s degree in a related business field. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume and references to hr@le.utah.govno later than September 16, 2018, by 5:00 p.m.

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The Office of the Legislative Auditor General is charged with examining and evaluating taxpayer-funded programs, operations, and entities. Their mission to serve the citizens of Utah by providing objective information, in-depth analyses, and useful recommendations that help legislators and other decision makers improve programs, reduce costs, and promote accountability.

 

 

Speaker Hughes statement about Commissioner Squires retirement

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2018

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

Speaker Hughes statement about Commissioner Squires retirement

SALT LAKE CITY –  Speaker Greg Hughes issued this statement following  Commissioner Keith D. Squires’ retirement from public service.

“While Commissioner Keith Squires retirement is well deserved, his departure from public service will be felt across the state. I have never had a better relationship with our Department of Public Safety, and it is all due to his dedication and collaboration. His leadership has made our state safer, and without him, Operation Rio Grande would not have been possible.

Just recently my district felt the impact of his leadership when he did not hesitate to provide resources and support in search of a missing Draper Boy Scout and the honoring of Draper Fire Battalion Chief Matt Burchett. Utah has greatly benefited from Squires’ dedication to making positive impacts throughout the state, and I consider him a close friend.”

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Speaker Hughes statement on the death of Draper Firefighter

SALT LAKE CITY –  Speaker Greg Hughes issued this statement following the death of Draper Fire Battalion Chief Matt Burchett, who passed away Monday, August 13, 2018, due to injuries sustained fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire in California:

“There is a special place in heaven reserved for those who sacrifice all in the service of others. My sincerest condolences go out to the family of Matt Burchett, we owe them a debt that we will never be able to repay.”

 

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

Naturalization Ceremony to be Held at the Capitol

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
August 2, 2018

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

Naturalization Ceremony to be Held at the Capitol

What:
Representative Norm Thurston, in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will host a naturalization ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, August 3 at the Utah State Capitol.

Congresswomen Mia Love will give the welcoming remarks. Chris Mann will deliver the keynote. Chris is a business owner, designer and recently became a U.S. citizen.

Rep. Norm Thurston will serve as master of ceremonies. Laura McNeer, field office director for USCIS, will administer the Oath of Allegiance.

A video welcome message from President Donald Trump.  Cytel Schults will sing the national anthem.

Following the ceremony, on-site voter registration will be available for the new U.S. citizens.

Who:
Rep. Norm Thurston, District 64
Congresswoman Mia Love, District 4
Chris Mann, business owner and designer
Laura McNeer, USCIS Field Office Director

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

When:
Friday, August 3, 2018, 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 number (top right) to protect their privacy.

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Utah Safe Schools Commission to hold a press conference

For Immediate Release
June 18, 2018

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

Utah Safe Schools Commission to hold a press conference to present recommendations to increase safety measures in Utah schools 

What:
The Utah Safe Schools Commission to present recommendations of how to improve school safety.

The uncompensated commission reviewed policies and programs directed at increasing safety in schools in Utah. Dialog among elected officials, stakeholders, parents, teachers, community members and students helped develop solutions that will increase safety measures to protect children across the state.

During the press conference, members of the commission, elected officials and stakeholders will review their findings.

Where:
Capitol Building, Gold Room
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

This event will also be live-streamed on the Utah House of Representatives Facebook Page.

When:
Wednesday, June 20, 11:45 a.m.

Who:
Rep. Ray Ward
Rep. Steve Handy
Rep. Mike Kennedy
Speaker Greg Hughes
Members of the Utah School Safety Commission

Members of the Utah Safe Schools Commission:
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the board of the Utah Shooting Sports Council
Dallas Earnshaw, superintendent at Utah State Hospital
John Hoffmann, professor of sociology at Brigham Young University
Terryl Warner, member of the Utah State Board of Education
Keith Squires, commissioner for the Utah Department of Public Safety
Bryan Turner, director of Architectural Services at Davis School District
Heidi Matthews, president of Utah Education Association
Elizabeth Love, student representative – West High School
Isaac Reese, student representative – Brighton High School
Brian Nelson, director at Utah Division of Risk Management
Captain Justin Chapman of the Sandy City Police Department and School Resource Officer (SRO) instructor

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Speaker Hughes and Senator Dabakis to host a news conference to discuss the inland port

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
June 4, 2018

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

Speaker Hughes and Senator Dabakis to host a news conference to discuss the inland port

What:
Speaker Greg Hughes and Senator Jim Dabakis will host a press conference to discuss a compromise framework for SB 234Utah Inland Port Authority, and the future inland port in the Northwest Quadrant of Salt Lake County.

Who:
Speaker Greg Hughes
Senator Jim Dabakis

When:
Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 10:30 a.m.

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

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Utah Legislature Recognizes Contributions of Confucius Institutes

For Immediate Release
May 24, 2018

Contact:
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

Utah Legislature Recognizes Contributions of Confucius Institutes
University of Utah, Southern Utah University and Davis County Public Schools Receive Commendations  

Salt Lake City – Confucius Institutes across the state were honored by the Utah legislature at the state capitol on May 17. The legislature presented a citation of honors to a delegation from the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing (Hanban) attending the Eleventh National Chinese Language Conference. Senator Curtis Bramble (R – District 16) said that this citation recognizes the efforts of the people of Utah to advance Chinese language programs with the support of Confucius Institutes.

At the conference opening ceremony, Utah Governor Gary Herbert affirmed his commitment to advancing Utah’s Chinese dual language immersion program, citing the value of Chinese language education for Utah’s economic development and workforce employability.

Since the establishment of the first Confucius Institute in Utah in 2007, more than 13,000 students have participated in Chinese language classes. Supported by Confucius Institutes, Utah’s dual language initiative has become a leading program in American immersion language instruction, preparing Utahns to thrive in a globalized society. In his meeting with Utah students and educators, Senator Orrin Hatch (R) called the Confucius Institutes’ programming “really critical and crucial” and said “learning [Chinese] … is in [the US’] best interest.”

Senator Howard Stephenson (R – District 11) said that “the success of Utah’s Chinese language program would not have happened without the Confucius Institutes and the caliber of teachers provided through these partnerships.” He added, “I have never seen more dedicated teachers than those from the Confucius Institute.” An advocate for dual language immersion in Utah, Sen. Stephenson claims “monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st Century.”

Memorandum of Understanding Signed

Following the recognition, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Hanban and the Utah State Board of Education on May 18. The MOU recognized Utah’s dual language Chinese immersion education program and the role of the Confucius Institutes in promoting people-to-people exchanges between the US and China. Hanban pledged ongoing support of Confucius Institutes to meet Utah’s growing demand for Chinese language and culture classes.

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The Confucius Institute U.S. Center is a nonprofit organization that supports the teaching of Chinese language and culture in the United States and fosters educational exchanges between China and the United States.

 

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.