Category: Press

Utah House Democratic Leadership Team for 2019/20

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2018

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

Utah House Democratic Leadership Team for 2019/20

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democratic Caucus elected its new leadership team for the upcoming legislative session Tuesday evening.

  • Rep. Brian King, D – District 28, was selected to continue serving as Minority Leader.
  • Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D – District 37, was selected to serve as Minority Whip.
  • Rep. Angela Romero, D – District 26, was selected to continue serving as Minority Assistant Whip.
  • Rep. Karen Kwan D – District 34, was selected to serve as Minority Caucus Manager.

“I am grateful and honored that our caucus continues to have confidence in my leadership,” said Rep. Brian King. “We have a very cohesive team, and we will continue speaking up for hardworking Utahns.  I look forward to working closely with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues on tackling the challenges facing Utah and ensuring that all Utahns have opportunities to succeed and thrive.”

Minority Leader, Representative Brian King was first elected to the Utah State House in 2008. He has practiced law in Salt Lake City for over 30 years. His district covers the east side of Salt Lake City along with parts of Summit County and Parley’s Canyon. Following the 2014 election he was first elected to serve as the House Minority Leader.

The Minority Whip-Elect, Representative Carol Spackman Moss was first elected to the State House in 2000.  Before serving in the legislature she taught English and student government at Olympus High School for 30 years. Her district covers neighborhoods in Holladay and Murray. She previously served as the Assistant Minority Whip in the Utah House from 2004 to 2010.

The Minority Assistant Whip, Representative Angela Romero was first elected to represent Salt Lake City in 2012.  Her district covers much of Salt Lake City’s westside. She is the Community Programs Manager for Salt Lake City’s Youth and Family Division. In 2016 she was selected by her colleagues to serve as House Democratic Assistant Whip.  She is also currently the First Vice President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.

The Minority Caucus Manager-Elect, Representative Karen Kwan is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Salt Lake Community College. She was first elected to the Utah House in 2016. Her district represents neighborhoods in Taylorsville, Murray and West Valley City.

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Utah House Democrats’ Statement on the Passing of Congressman Jim Hansen

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democrats issued the following statement on the passing of Congressman Jim Hansen:

“We are sad to hear of the passing of former Congressman Jim Hansen, Utah’s longest-serving U.S. congressman. While Democrats did not always agree with the congressman’s positions, he was fair and respectful. He recognized the importance of working across the aisle. He knew that achieving good legislation requires consensus and good relationships. Congressman Hansen admirably took on the challenging and sometimes thankless roles as chairman of the House Ethics and Natural Resources Committees. He also was a staunch supporter of the Hill Air Force Base community which has continued to benefit generations of Utahns.  We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family for their loss.”

 

Speaker Greg Hughes statement about the passing of Jim Hansen

Salt Lake City – Speaker Greg Hughes has issued the following statement about the passing of Jim Hansen, the former Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives and Utah’s longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives:

“As a former Speaker of the House and longtime member of Utah’s congressional delegation, Jim Hansen got involved in politics to make a positive impact in his community. He was very successful in that effort. He was a tireless advocate and champion for Hill Air Force Base, multiple use of public lands, improving our transportation and water infrastructure and many other issues. Utah and its citizens have greatly benefitted from his public service. He will be missed but certainly not forgotten. I extend my condolences to the Hansen family during this time.”

 

Utah House Democrats Congratulate Speaker-Elect Brad Wilson

Utah House Democrats Congratulate Speaker-Elect Brad Wilson

SALT LAKE CITY – This evening the Utah House Democrats released the following statement following the Republican Caucus’s announcement of their new leadership team:

“Congratulations to Speaker-Elect Brad Wilson and the new members of the Republican Caucus leadership team. The House Democratic Caucus looks forward to working with Speaker-Elect Wilson, as we know he values inclusivity and listening to all perspectives.  Speaker-Elect Wilson has shown himself to be fair, astute, and respectful of collaboration.  He understands that many Democratic priorities align with the Republican Caucus’s own concerns, such as quality education for our children, public safety, high-quality jobs and protecting the well-being of all Utahns.  Going forward, we are eager to work in partnership with Speaker-Elect Wilson and all of our Republican colleagues for the people of Utah.”

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House Majority Leadership Team for 2019/20

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Majority Caucus elected their leadership team for the upcoming legislative session Thursday night. They are as follows:

  • Brad Wilson, R – District 15, was selected to serve as Speaker
  • Francis Gibson, R – District 65, was selected serve as Majority Leader
  • Mike Schultz, R – District 12, was selected to serve as Majority Whip
  • Val Peterson, R – District 59, was selected to serve as Majority Assistant Whip

“I am humbled and grateful for this opportunity to lead the Utah House,” said Speaker-elect Brad Wilson. “During this upcoming session, we will continue to tackle big issues and find solutions to pressing concerns. Our work in the Utah Legislature will reflect the values and needs of all Utahns. Together, we will work to keep Utah the leading state for quality of life, prosperity and opportunity.”

“It is an honor and privilege to be selected by my colleagues to lead the majority caucus,” said Majority Leader-elect Francis Gibson. “I’m grateful for the chance to lead the men and women of our caucus, reach across the aisle and work with the Senate to pass legislation that will better our state.”

Bios for the newly elected majority leadership team are below.

Representative Brad Wilson, Speaker-elect  

Brad Wilson, a Davis County native, represents Kaysville in District 15. He and his wife, Jeni, are the parents of three children.

Rep. Wilson is the CEO of Destination Homes, a residential homebuilder. In 2010, he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives. He served as the assistant majority whip in 2014-16. Currently, he is the majority leader and a member of the Executive Appropriations Committee.

During his time in the Legislature, Rep. Wilson has passed legislation to reform alcohol policy, strengthen the ability for small businesses to grow within the state while generating numerous strategies to improve Utah’s air quality, put protections in place for property owners from frivolous lawsuits and helped ensure victims of crime receive fair and timely restitution and reparation. Additionally, his leadership in moving the state prison to a new location will result in numerous jobs created, which will help stimulate even more economic growth.

Rep. Wilson is a public servant who aims to inspire and rally people to work together to find the best solutions for challenging issues.

He is active in the community. Boards Rep. Wilson has served on include Davis Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Davis Economic Advisory Council,  Children’s Aid Society of Utah, National Advisory Council for Weber State University, World Trade Center of Utah, Walker Institute and Utah Capital Investment Corporation. He is also a member of the Utah Chapter of the Young President’s Organization. He was named as one of Utah’s Top 40 Under 40 Business Professionals.

Wilson has a business degree from Weber State University and is a graduate of the College of Financial Planning. In 2015, he was the Weber State University Alumnus of the Year.

Representative Francis Gibson, Majority Leader-elect

Rep. Francis Gibson has represented District 65 in the Utah House of Representatives since 2009. He has chaired the Education Standing Committee and served on the Education Appropriations Committee, been a member of the Health Care Task Force, House Special Investigative Committee and the Legislative Redistricting Committee. He has served in a leadership position as majority whip for the past four years.

He believes being actively involved in the community where you live, rather it be an elected or voluntary position, is an important part of giving back.

For four years, he was a councilman for Mapleton City. He has served in many volunteer positions from Executive Board for Boy Scouts of America National Parks Council, Children’s Justice Center of Utah County, Utah Sports Commission and coached youth sports in the community and at the high school level.

As Rep. Gibson represents his district, he strives to be humble, dependable and accessible. He believes in addressing difficult matters is vital to improve and maintain Utah’s way of life we all know and love. Some of the most significant issues that he has and continues to tackle include growth, transportation, affordable housing and homelessness.

Rep. Gibson is the CEO and Administrator of the Orem Community Hospital and Spanish Fork Hospital, which is part of the Intermountain Healthcare organization. He has a Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young University, a Master of Social Work from the University of Houston and a Master of Business Administration from Utah State University.

In his spear time, he loves boogie boarding in the ocean, camping and golfing with his family and recently began riding dirt bikes with his sons. He looks forward to the day when he can retire and travel the country in a motorhome, visiting national parks.

Rep. Gibson and his wife, Shiela, have been married 25 years and have four children, three sons, and one daughter.

Representative Mike Schultz, Majority Whip-elect

A lifelong resident of Hooper, Roy and West Haven, Representative Mike Schultz grew up working on his grandfather’s cattle farm. From that experience, he learned one of life’s greatest lessons–the value of hard work.

With this in mind, and with the help of his parents, at the age of 10 Schultz began his career as an entrepreneur selling worms to fishermen. At 12, he took his first job milking cows at his neighbor’s dairy farm and by the age of 16 he had started a hay hauling business and was sub-contracting with a ward member to roof houses. He earned his general contractor’s license and started building homes when he was 20 years old.

Rep. Schultz owns and operates a number of small business and currently serves as president of Castle Creek Homes, headquartered in Roy, Utah. He also serves on the Board of Directors for First National Bank.

As an employer and small business owner, he believes that the role of government is simply to give its citizens the framework to build their own success and then get out of the way.

He was first elected to represent District 12 in the Utah House in 2014. Serving in the Utah Legislature has been most meaningful to him when it gives him the opportunity to make a positive impact in people’s lives, especially in those areas where government has overstepped its authority.

He and his wife, Melissa, are the proud parents of six children.

When not busy with work or family, he can be found in the great outdoors hunting, fishing, cattle ranching or snowmobiling.

Representative Val Peterson, Majority Assistant Whip-elect  

Representative Val Peterson was first elected to the Utah State Legislature in 2010. As a member of the Utah House of Representatives he has served as chair of House Education and Vice Chair of Rules, Government Operations, Economic Development, Work Force Service and Labor Appropriations.

Rep. Peterson is the Vice President for Finance and Administration at Utah Valley University (UVU). He serves on the UVU Events Center Board, is a board member of Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem and has served on the Provo Airport Board.

During his time in the legislature, Peterson has and continues to work a number of issues including education funding, air quality, transportation funding, public lands, prison relocation and public lands legislation.

Prior to running for office, Peterson served his country for 32 years. He served in the National Guard for 30 years and as the Land Component Commander for the State of Utah. He retired as a Brigadier General. Throughout his military career, his areas of responsibility consisted of the Army National Guard MACOMS, military intelligence, engineers, aviation, artillery, special forces, medical services and commanded at the Company, Battalion and Brigade level.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, a master degree in Mass Communications from Brigham Young University (BYU), a master degree in Strategic Studies from United States Army War College and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from BYU.

Peterson, originally from Idaho, lives in Orem with his wife, Ann. They are parents of three children. The Peterson family enjoys boating, water skiing, hiking, skiing and golfing together.

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Utah House Majority to Announce 2019/20 Leadership Team 

For Immediate Release
November 7, 2018

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

Utah House Majority to Announce 2019/20 Leadership Team

What:
The Utah House Majority will hold its leadership elections on the evening of Thursday, November 8. A press conference to announce the newly elected 2019/20 majority leadership team will immediately follow.

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

When:
Thursday, November 8, 2018 following the adjournment of the majority caucus meeting (approximately 6:45 p.m.). Media can set-up equipment starting at about 6:30 p.m.

Who:
Members of the Utah House Majority Leadership

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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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