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.

 

Laws

Bills that pass the Utah Legislature go into effect 60 days following adjournment of the general session, unless another date is specified in the legislation. See a full list of bills that became law on May 8, 2018, here.

 

 

EduHam

More than 2,000 high-school students, teachers and volunteers filled the Eccles Theater to participate in Hamilton Education Program (EduHam) on May 4, 2018. Students from across the state participated in the unique opportunity of performing Hamilton-inspired musical or spoken numbers on center stage.  Utah definitely has talent.

Every student who attended created their own performance. The top 15 performances from different schools were selected to present at the theater.  Each act (solo or group) presented a rap, song, poem or spoken for their  classmates.

Additionally, the cast of Hamilton answered student’s questions. Then the day concluded with a special matinee performance of the Tony-Award winning musical.

Check out the news coverage of the event here:

Northern Utah students join others at special ‘Hamilton’ show in Salt Lake City – Ogden Standard Examiner

Utah students rap and sing their way onto the ‘Hamilton’ stage – Salt Lake Tribune

‘It’s like going to Disneyland’: Utah high school students react to seeing ‘Hamilton’ – Deseret News

LISTEN: Utah Students Take The ‘Hamilton’ Stage – KUER

EduHam, ‘Hamilton’ education program, shows Utah students exciting side of history – KUTV

Utah High School Students To Enjoy Private Hamilton Performance – Utah Public Radio 

Northern Utah students join others at special ‘Hamilton’ show in Salt Lake City – Ogden Standard Examiner 

Provo students learn U.S. history through ‘Hamilton’ curriculum – Provo Daily Herald

Provo students have their eyes on history through ‘Hamilton’ – AP News


 

What is an interim?

During the 45-day general session, many items that do not make it through committee are put on a master study list. The committee chairs then prioritize what should be studied over the interim period based on this list and input from committee members.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Senate President and committee chairs meet to collectively determine the final list. The Legislative Management Committee then votes to adopt interim study items and the schedule for the year. Due to the limited number of meetings, committees focus on those issues that are a top priority to help ensure a proper vetting.

Interim committees then study the identified key issues facing the state. They listen to expert and public testimony to determine whether or not to recommend legislation, and they vote to prioritize particular bills for the upcoming general session and occasionally for future special sessions.

Unlike during the general session, when the Senate and House each have standing committees comprised of only their own members, interim committees are made up of both senators and representatives.

These meetings are held throughout the year, generally the third Wednesday of the month, and are open to the public, can be streamed live or listened to at a later date at le.utah.gov.

See the list of potential 2018 interim study items here. A list of committees and schedules can be found here.

 

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

 

New Nation Letter Writing Competition

The Utah Legislature and the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts teamed up to give high school students an opportunity to see the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical through the New Nation Letter Writing Competition

High school students from across the state wrote an essay about an issue of concern in their community, along with a proposed solution, for a chance to see the musical with their representative here in Salt Lake. The purpose was to encourage students to become engaged in the civic process, know who represents them and discover their own passion, using that to find a way to make a positive impact in their local community.

Watch the video about the project here.

Unclaimed Money

The Utah State Treasurer’s Office recently announced that Utahns have more than $38 million in property waiting to be claimed. The Utah Unclaimed Property Division receives lost property from various sources, such as dormant bank accounts, uncollected insurance payouts and stock certificates. Visit mycash.utah.gov, the official government website that manages and returns unclaimed property, to see if you have any unclaimed money.

 

 

Veto Override Recap

The Legislature voted to override Governor Gary Herbert’s veto of two vitally important pieces of legislation that passed during the 2018 General Session. HB 198, Attorney General Responsibility Amendments, and SB 171, Intervention Amendments, are key to protecting the constitutional role of the Legislature and ensuring proper separation of powers. These two bills provide clarity to issues that have caused recent confusion in regard to where the line of separation among the branches of government ought to be drawn.

HB 198 merely requires the attorney general respond in good faith to legislative requests for an opinion within 30 days and allows the Legislature to petition the Utah Supreme Court to obtain an opinion if the attorney general does not comply. It also adds additional clarity to the role of the attorney general.

SB 171 allows the Legislature to intervene in support of litigation challenging the constitutionality of state statute.

According to the Utah Supreme Court’s Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 24, the Legislature is authorized to direct, by statute, that certain parties to a lawsuit be allowed to intervene. That is precisely what this law does by allowing the Legislature to intervene on its own behalf to defend the constitutionality of legislation it has passed, where necessary, to fully represent its interests and those of the people it represents.

HB 198 and SB 171 add additional guidance and clarity to the powers held by each branch when seeking opinions from the attorney general and defending statute from constitutional challenge.