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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FY 2018 Preliminary Fund Balances

FY 2018 State of Utah Financial Highlights

State Revenue Snapshot


Aundrea Peterson
Utah House of Representatives

Anna Lehnardt
Gov. Gary R. Herbert

Bryan Smith
Utah State Senate

New House Member

The Utah House of Representatives welcomes the newest House member, Casey Snider. The Cache County Republican Party selected Rep. Snider to fill the vacancy in District 5, after former Rep. Curt Webb, whose term would have ended in December, voluntarily resigned to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rep. Snider will fulfill the remaining of Webb’s term in the Utah legislature.

He was appointed by Governor Gary Herbert on Wednesday, Oct 15 and sworn in by the chief clerk of the House on Oct 16, 2018.  A ceremonial ceremony with the Governor was held on the afternoon of Oct. 16, 2018.

Rep. Snider will resume former Rep. Webb’s interim committee assignments.

Utah Medical Cannabis Act Draft Bill

On October 4, 2018, Speaker Greg Hughes, President Wayne Niederhauser, Governor Gary Herbert and community advocates announced a compromise and shared vision for medical cannabis policy in Utah.

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.

See the media advisory here.

Medical Cannabis Policy Update

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

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

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

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.

October 2018 Legislative Calendar

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

Wednesday, October 3
12:30 p.m. – Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel

Tuesday, October 9
10:00 a.m. – Veterans and Military Affairs Commission

Wednesday, October 10
10:00 a.m. – Administrative Rules Review Committee

Monday, October 15
10:00 a.m. – Commission on Federalism
1:00 p.m. – Criminal Code Evaluation Task Force
4:00 p.m. – Legislative Audit Subcommittee

Tuesday, October 16
7:30 a.m. – Executive Appropriations Committee
8:00 a.m. – Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee
8:30 a.m. – Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee
8:30 a.m. – Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee
8:30 a.m. – Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. – Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. – Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. – Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. – Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee
1:15 p.m. – Legislative Water Development Commission

Wednesday, October 17
7:00 a.m. – Victim Advocate Confidentiality Task Force
8:00 a.m. – Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. – Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. – Judiciary Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. – Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. – Natural Resources, Agriculture, & Environment Interim Committee
8:30 a.m. – Transportation Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. – Business and Labor Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. – Education Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. – Government Operations Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. – Health and Human Services Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. – Political Subdivisions Interim Committee
1:15 p.m. – Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Interim Committee
6:00 p.m. – Subcommittee on Oversight

Thursday, October 18
8:30 a.m. – Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands

Wednesday, October 24
9:00 a.m. – Administrative Rules Review Committee

Thursday, October 25
1:00 p.m. – Health Reform Task Force

Monday, October 29
1:00 p.m. – Criminal Code Evaluation Task Force

*Not all meetings are streamed online.




September 2018 Legislative Calendar

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

Monday, September 4
1:00 p.m. – Criminal Code Evaluation Task Force

Wednesday, September 5
1:00 p.m. – Native American Legislative Liaison Committee

Monday, September 17
6:00 p.m. – Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee

Tuesday, September 18
8:30 a.m. – Legislative Audit Subcommittee
10:00 a.m. – Executive Appropriations Committee
11:00 a.m. – Point of the Mountain Development Commission
1:00 p.m. – Victim Advocate Confidentiality Task Force

Monday, September 24
10:00 a.m. – Administrative Rules Review Committee
1:00 p.m. – Criminal Code Evaluation Task Force

Wednesday, September 26
1:15 p.m. – Retirement and Independent Entities Interim Committee

 Friday, September 28
1:00 p.m. – Health Reform Task Force


Constitution Day

On this day 231 years ago, the Constitution of the United States of America was signed on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We recognize and honor the men and women who helped compose the most significant document of freedom ever created by human hand. Read the Constitution here.


Utah Legislative Auditor General John M. Schaff Announces Retirement

September 4, 2018

Bryan Smith
Deputy Chief of Staff
Utah State Senate

Aundrea Peterson
Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives

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.



Paying Tribute

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. serves as a tribute to honor the brave members of the U.S. Armed Forces who fought in the Vietnam War and were killed or missing in action.

It is now possible for individuals to pay their respects with a visit to a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Davis County. The replica is 80 percent of the original size of the monument in our nation’s capital and is the only one of its size west of the Mississippi, according to the Utah Vietnam Veterans of America.

The Wall displays the names of the more than 58,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country during the Vietnam War, including  361 Utahns who gave their lives.

Its purpose is to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who answered the call to serve.

“It was a tremendous privilege to work with the Utah Vietnam Veterans’ Association to secure a little funding in order to complete the replica wall in Layton’s Commons Park,” said Rep. Steve Handy, who helped secure funding to build the memorial in Utah. “The dedication ceremony was moving and already it has become a quiet place of honor and reflection. It’s only right and fitting that we should honor these men and women who gave their last full measure in defense of our country so long ago. I’m very pleased to have had a little part in the success of this project.”

The monument is free and open to the public at Layton Commons Park, 437 N Wasatch Dr. Layton, UT 84041

News Stories:

Replica of Vietnam Memorial wall now in Layton, Utah

‘We’re kind of bringing them home’: Volunteers put final touches on Layton’s new Vietnam Memorial replica

New monument to Vietnam Veterans opened to the public in Layton

Vietnam Wall: Replica dedicated in Layton Commons Park