Utah State Legislature Launches Redesigned Website

In anticipation of the 2018 General Session, the Utah State Legislature is excited to launch the newly redesigned version of the legislative website, le.utah.gov. The site helps Utahns connect and interact with their legislators. Utah residents can learn about proposed and past legislation and hear committees and floor debates.

With the growing use of smartphones and tablets, the new mobile-friendly site is more accessible to most users. Features of the site include a cleaner aesthetic design, a more engaging user experience and enhanced search and navigation functions. The new design also streamlines the site’s familiar main menu, providing a clear navigation and a responsive layout for all platforms.

“The redesign aims to simplify access to the Legislature, helping to improve communication and make information about the legislative process easily accessible to all,” said President Wayne Niederhauser. “A visually appealing and user-friendly legislative website is paramount to keeping legislators accountable to the people of Utah.”

Key components of the new site:

  • Mobile Friendly Design – offers responsive user experience that allows site visitors to navigate information easily on various platforms;
  • Find Your Legislator – helps users identify who represents them as well as who represents the area in which they are currently located – based on the current location of their device, an address look-up or a map;
  • Innovative Search Tool – integrates formerly separate search functions into a single interface, allowing users to more easily find legislation, Utah Code, budget information, audits and much more.

“The purpose was not only to update the look of the site but also to make finding information easier and more convenient,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “In a world where communication is increasingly digitized, we want to provide a convenient path to useful information on mobile platforms for Utahns. I appreciate the hard work put in by many legislative employees to complete this project.”

The goal of this website redesign is to facilitate citizen involvement in the legislative process by enhancing the user experience. The site contains valuable easy to navigate information, allowing for greater engagement and encouraging further exploration.

We encourage all residents to go to le.utah.gov and see the exciting changes for themselves. Please submit questions, observations and concerns in the comment box on the website. Feedback is important to us as we continue to strive to develop a website that is valuable to Utahns.

 

Utah Legislature Hires New HR Administrator 

Press Release

 

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Utah House of Representatives
801-791-3365 | aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Utah Legislature Hires New HR Administrator 

Salt Lake City – The Utah Legislature is pleased to announce that Debbie Cragun, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, will be the Legislature’s new Human Resources Administrator.

Cragun has 25 years of experience working in all aspects of human resources. She currently serves as a cabinet member for Governor Gary Herbert as the executive director of the Utah Department of Human Resource Management.

“The Legislature recognized more than a year ago the importance of hiring a human resources professional given the increasing complexity of employment law,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “We are ecstatic that someone with as much knowledge and experience as Debbie has agreed to serve in this role.”

Cragun will oversee the Utah Legislature’s human resource operations, management and strategies. Her contributions will bolster the Legislature’s strong history of providing a positive work environment that values teamwork, fairness, integrity, compassion and respect.

“A highly qualified HR manager is key to protecting our employees, managers and the legislative institution itself,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “Debbie is an excellent fit and will be a great partner. She has the capacity to make us more effective and efficient at all aspects of human resources.”

Cragun received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Masters of Arts in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix-Utah Campus.

Cragun’s first day with the Legislature will be January 15, 2018.

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State leaders announce forecast of FY 2019 revenue numbers  

Press Release
For Immediate Release
December 12, 2017

State leaders announce forecast of FY 2019 revenue numbers  

SALT LAKE CITY –  Consensus revenue figures indicate Utah’s prosperous and diverse economy is generating additional revenue for the state. The consensus revenue forecast shows a supplementary $101 million of one-time funds and $382 million in new ongoing appropriations for the upcoming FY 2019 budget. That’s an increase from the amounts available at this time last year, which were $1 million one-time and $283 million ongoing.

“Utah’s continued economic growth provides the revenues that will allow the State of Utah to make critical investments in our long-term future, including education,” said Governor Gary Herbert.

“A reliable state budget depends on a reasonable, conservative budget forecast,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “These consensus figures are encouraging and good news for our economy, but we must continue to be conservative when examining the entire budget to ensure we find the correct fiscal balance.”

“This revenue and economic forecast illustrates that Utah’s economy continues to thrive,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “While these numbers are encouraging, we must continue our measured approach as we put together the state budget that addresses critical needs of this great state. We have some of the best legislative economists in the nation and I appreciate the hours they spent working on this forecast.” 

The Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst presented the consensus forecast on Tuesday, November 12, 2017, to the Executive Appropriations Committee. The office also presented a comprehensive review of revenue volatility and a trend analysis. It recommended using $67 million ongoing and $85 million one-time from the new revenue to pay existing obligations.

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Speaker Hughes Announces Changes to House Majority Leadership

Press Release
For Immediate Release
December 7, 2017

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

Speaker Hughes Announces Changes to House Majority Leadership

Salt Lake City – With the pending resignation of Rep. Dean Sanpei, Speaker Greg Hughes has appointed Rep. Brad Last, to serve as the House chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee and Rep. Mike Schultz to serve as House vice-chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee, effective immediately.

“While we will greatly miss Rep. Sanpei, Rep. Last is ready, willing and able to lead our executive appropriations committee, and I’m excited to work closely with him in this new position,” said Speaker Hughes. “Rep. Schultz has proven to be a natural leader with a strong understanding of the legislative process and will be a great addition to our leadership team. I’m confident that both representatives will serve the House well and I look forward to working with them in their new respective roles.”

The changes to the leadership team come after Rep. Dean Sanpei announced his resignation from the Utah House of Representatives after accepting a career position out of state.

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Utah Public Lands

On Monday, December 4, President Donald Trump announced modifications to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, after Secretary Ryan Zinke conducted a review of national monument designations and the history of the Antiquities Act earlier this year. The result is five unique national monument units that total more than 1.2 million acres.

Bears Ears will now encompass two monument areas – Shash Jáa, approximately 129,980 acres and Indian Creek, approximately 71,896 acres. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service will continue to co-manage the land. Bears Ears remains larger than Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park combined.

The new proclamation also provides increased public access to the land and restores allowance for traditional use for activities including motorized recreation, cattle grazing and tribal collection of wood and herbs.

Boundaries that remain protected include Bears Ears Buttes, the Lime Ridge Clovis Site, Moon House Ruin, Doll House Ruin, Indian Creek Rock Art and Newspaper Rock.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) will now consist of three monument areas – the Grand Staircase (209,993 acres), Kaiparowits (551,034 acres) and Escalante Canyons (242,836 acres). The three areas total more than a million acres and will be managed by the BLM.

To determine the necessary size to adequately protect significant objects and artifacts within the original designations, a thorough examination was conducted. Regions protected in the GSENM include areas of the highest concentration of fossil resources; important landscape features such as the Grand Staircase, Upper Paria Canyon System, Kaiparowits Plateau, Escalante Natural Bridge, Upper Escalante Canyons, East Kaibab Monocline, Grosvenor Arch, Old Paria Townsite and Dance Hall Rock; and relict plant communities such as No Mans Mesa.

During the review, Secretary Zinke personally visited the monuments and met with local Tribal representatives, county commissioners, residents and ranchers, as well as organizations such as the Wilderness Society and Nature Conservancy. In addition, for the first time in history, Secretary Zinke opened a formal comment period of the review of monuments designated under the Antiquities Act to individuals, providing an opportunity for many voices to be heard.

The purpose of the Antiquities Act is to protect archaeological or historical sites in the smallest area necessary. It was not intended to lock up large swathes of land. Since 1996, Utah has endured two of the most significant incidents of federal overreach regarding national monument designations in recent history.

During the 2017 session, the Utah Legislature passed, HCR 11, Concurrent Resolution Urging the President to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation and HCR 12, Concurrent Resolution Urging Federal Legislation to Reduce or Modify the Boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

President Trump and his administration demonstrated that they are listening to Utahns and the desires of those who live in the area by pulling back a small portion of the federal overreach and abuse of the Antiquities Act that our state has endured. Through this process, they have shown their willingness to give greater access to public land, while still continuing to protect significant artifacts.

This is not the first time a president has reduced a monument. Reductions have occurred at least 18 times, by both Republicans and Democrats. For instance, President John F. Kennedy altered Bandelier National Monument; Presidents Taft, Wilson, and Coolidge reduced Mount Olympus National Monument; and President Eisenhower reduced the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.

The recent modifications by the Trump administration restore local input on federal lands, increase economic opportunity, especially in rural communities through grazing, commercial fishing, logging and in certain cases, mineral development, and protect objects without unnecessarily preventing public access.

We want to sincerely thank President Trump and Secretary Zinke for listening and allowing those closest to the lands to have some input on how to best manage and care for them.

Rep. Dean Sanpei to resign from Utah House

Press Release
For Immediate Release
December 1, 2017

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

Rep. Dean Sanpei to resign from Utah House

Salt Lake City – Representative Dean Sanpei, current House chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee and vice president of strategy for Intermountain Healthcare, will resign from the Utah House of Representatives on December 8, 2017. Sanpei has accepted a position with Centura Health as senior vice president and chief strategy officer, which will require him to relocate to Colorado.

“On behalf of the Utah House of Representatives, we want to thank Rep. Sanpei for his years of service and leadership,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “He will be hard to replace. Utah’s national recognition for being a well-managed state, and economically strong, are in large part due to his efforts. While we will greatly miss his friendship and leadership, we wish him and his family the very best as they venture out on this new journey.”

During his time in the Legislature, Rep. Sanpei has proven to be an expert on very complex issues including budgets, taxes and healthcare. Rep. Sanpei currently serves as House chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee and is a member of the Government Operations Committee and Health Reform Task Force.

“It has been an honor to serve in the Utah House during such a significant period of economic recovery and growth,” said Rep. Sanpei. “I am proud to have worked with remarkable colleagues, and I’m grateful to the constituents who entrusted me to represent them.”

Rep. Sanpei was appointed to the Utah House of Representatives in June 2010 to fill the remaining term of Rep. Stephen Clark and was elected by his district that November. Since then he has served on the Executive Appropriations Committee, Health and Human Services Interim Committee, Health Reform Task Force, Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, House Health and Human Services Committee, House Workforce Services and Community and Economic Development Committee, Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee, Education Interim Committee, House Education Committee, House Rules Committee, House Transportation Committee, Legislative Policy Summit, Government Operations Interim Committee, House Government Operations Committee, Legislative Site Visit, Transportation Interim Committee, Point of the Mountain Development Commission, and Economic Development Legislative Liaison Committee.

The Utah County Republican Party will now establish a process for choosing a replacement to be submitted to Governor Herbert for appointment.

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New Transportation Governance Model

The Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force met to review and discuss a potential new governance model for the state’s transportation system. This task force, the result of SB 174, Public Transit and Transportation (2017), was charged with making recommendations on transportation in the state.

They have been looking at statewide governance and organizational strategies to coordinate management and oversight of all types of transportation, and to evaluate and implement best practices.

A proposal was presented—the culmination of months of study and analysis—to replace the UTA board and president/CEO with a three-member panel and a nine-member advisory board. There would be some state control and oversight that would allow the agency to receive state Transportation Investment Fund dollars but because it would not be a complete takeover, the state would be protected from assuming UTA’s $2 billion debt.

The task force will hold at least one more meeting between now and the start of the Legislative session on January 22, 2018, where it is expected that a bill incorporating the new governance model, with additional details, will be reviewed. You can listen to the recent meeting here.

Point of the Mountain Development Commission Presents Scenarios

For Immediate Release

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

Aimee Edwards
GOED Communications Director
edwards@utah.gov

 

SALT LAKE CITY (Nov. 28, 2017) — Public input is being sought for five development scenarios outlining possibilities for future growth of the Point of the Mountain region.

During a presentation to the Utah Legislature’s Point of the Mountain Development Commission at the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday, Envision Utah unveiled showed what the region could look like in 2050 according to specific development priorities.

Each of the five scenarios include varying levels of focus on residential and commercial development; transportation infrastructure; job growth and workforce development; and air quality, open space, recreation and water use.

The Point of the Mountain Development Commission will host two workshops to gather public feedback on the five scenarios:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 29, 6 p.m. at the Ashton Gardens Visitor Center in Lehi
  • Thursday, Nov. 30, 6 p.m. at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper

Residents may also weigh in on the scenarios through a survey on pointofthemountainfuture.org until Dec. 31, 2017.

The Point of the Mountain Development Commission was created during the 2016 Legislative Session by H.B. 318. The commission is a unique entity comprised of local officials, private sector representatives, and state officials from both the legislative and executive branches. It is tasked with providing recommendations on infrastructure planning and financing tools to develop the area joining Salt Lake and Utah Counties.

For more information, visit pointofthemountainfuture.org.

 

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The Other Side Academy

It’s nice to know that amidst all the depressing news on the opioid crisis, homelessness and poverty, there are beacons of hope springing up across this country. One of those beacons can be found in downtown Salt Lake City, and it’s called The Other Side Academy.

The Other Side Academy is modeled after Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco, and opened its doors in Salt Lake City in 2015. These organizations provide the tools and structure for those who’ve lived lives marred by abuse, drugs and dysfunction. According to The Other Side Academy, these individuals “don’t need rehabilitation, they need habilitation.” They likely haven’t been exposed to orderly, well-functioning ways of life. “When they want to change they don’t need more motivation in the form of threats, fines and penalties, they need more ability – mentoring, training and full-contact coaching.”

In 2015, the Utah Legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, HB 348. This reform made changes to the way we treat criminals by assessing those charged with crimes and providing them with treatment where applicable, to allow for a more successful eventual transition back into the community. The last thing we want is for our prisons to simply provide a revolving door for those who could live successfully out in the community if they only had appropriate treatment and/or skills to be able to do so.

Treatment is one component of this reform, but providing opportunities for certain highly-motivated individuals to turn their lives around seems to fit perfectly into this idea that prison alone is not the only answer to every societal problem.

The Academy helps residents learn to work together, to be responsible and to follow through on commitments. It is self-sustaining through businesses run by participants, and they quickly learn that to eat requires work. There are no free rides. To be accepted into the program, all that is asked is for a participant to exhibit a sincere desire to change and a willingness to do the hard things that will allow that change to occur.

The Academy assisted with Phase Three of Operation Rio Grande, which focuses on the dignity of work. The plan establishes work activities, workshops, devotionals and other employment preparation activities to the daily routine of individuals residing in the Rio Grande area.

Read the story that started it all here.

 

 

 

 

 

Naturalization Ceremony to be held at the Utah State Capitol

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
November 27, 2017 

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

Naturalization Ceremony to be held at the Utah State Capitol

 Salt Lake City – Representative Norm Thurston, in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will host a naturalization ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday, November 28 at the Utah State Capitol.

The keynote speaker Silvana Effio, news anchor and director at Telemundo Utah, will share her experience of becoming 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.

Carla Swensen-Haslam will perform the U.S. National Anthem. A video welcome message from President Donald Trump.

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

Who:    
Rep. Norm Thurston, District 64
Silvana Effio, News Anchor and Director for Telemundo Utah
Laura McNeer, USCIS Field Office Director

What:
U.S. Naturalization Ceremony

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

When:
Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 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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