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.

 

 

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

https://kutv.com/news/local/new-monument-to-vietnam-veterans-open-to-the-public-in-layton

Vietnam Wall: Replica dedicated in Layton Commons Park

Job Opening: Chief Clerk

STATE OF UTAH, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

invites applications for the position of:

Chief Clerk, House of Representatives

OPENING DATE: Tuesday, August 28, 2018

CLOSING DATE: Tuesday, September 4, 2018, 5:00 pm

WHO CAN APPLY: Current and former Legislative employees only

 JOB DESCRIPTION:

The House of Representatives is seeking a full-time Chief Clerk.  The Chief Clerk is appointed by the Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives. The Chief Clerk provides administrative and clerical support to the members of the House of Representatives and advises on legislative procedures and parliamentary practices during the legislative session.

 EXAMPLE OF DUTIES:

  • Certifies and transmits all legislation to the Senate and informs the Senate of all House actions;
  • Assists in the preparation of the House Journal and certifies it as an accurate reflection of House action;
  • Makes technical corrections in bills;
  • Is the custodian of all official documents;
  • Records the number, title, sponsor, each action, and final disposition of legislation;
  • Prepares and distributes the daily order of business;
  • Advises the Speaker on parliamentary procedure, constitutional requirements, and Joint and House Rules; Assists with amendments to bills;
  • Records votes and presents the results to the Speaker;
  • Transmits to the Governor all enrolled House bills;
  • Assigns the duties and responsibilities, and supervises, some House of Representatives personnel during the legislative session;
  • HR, financial and payroll tasks; and
  • Other duties as assigned.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Master’s degree in a related field;
  • Understanding of the Utah Legislature and its processes;
  • At least 5 years of experience working with the Utah Legislature.

SALARY:  $33.66 – $48.07 Hourly

BENEFITS:  This position is eligible for a full benefits package.

TO APPLY SEND A COVER LETTER AND RESUME TO:  hr@le.utah.gov

RECRUITER NAME:  Debbie Cragun

RECRUITER PHONE NUMBER:  801­326­1600

RECRUITER EMAIL ADDRESS:   dcragun@le.utah.gov

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

Congratulations

Though each person’s journey to this day was unique,  in unison over 100 people from more than 40 countries took an oath to become U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Utah State Capitol on August 3, 2018.

The event was hosted by Rep. Norm Thurston in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Chris Mann, a business owner, designer and a recently new U.S. citizen delivered the keynote. He encouraged the new citizens to write down why they decided to become an American to remind and inspire them during difficult times.

Congresswoman Mia Love gave the welcoming remarks where she stated that naturalization ceremonies are her favorite event to attend as a member of Congress.

“It’s truly a joy to see and meet the people who take that oath seriously and to share my family’s story with them, said Love in her weekly newsletter. “ They now have something that no one can take away: full, legal American citizenship.”

Laura McNeer, field office director for USCIS, administered the Oath of Allegiance.

Rep. Thurston concluded the ceremony by encouraging the new citizens to be actively engaged in local, state and national matters as well as voice their opinion in future elections by registering to vote.

Congratulations to the new citizens of this great country.

See additional pictures here.

 

 

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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August 2018 Legislative Calendar

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

Monday, August 6

1:00 p.m. – Criminal Code Evaluation Task Force

3:00 p.m. – Higher Education Strategic Planning Commission

Tuesday, August 7

10:00 a.m. – Veterans and Military Affairs Commission

Monday, August 13

10:00 p.m. – Administrative Rules Review Committee

Tuesday, August 14

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

11:00 a.m. – Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee

11:00 a.m. – Legislative Water Development Commission

1:15 p.m. – Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee

1:15 p.m. – Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee

1:15 p.m. – Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee

Wednesday, August 15

7:30 a.m. – Victim Advocate Confidentiality Task Force

8:30 a.m. – Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee

8:30 a.m. – Judiciary Interim Committee

8:30 a.m. – Transportation 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. – Revenue and Taxation 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

Thursday, August 16

8:00 a.m. – Transportation and Tax Review Task Force 

 

*Not all meetings are streamed online.

 

 

Special Session Recap – July 2018

The governor issued a call for a special session to be held in conjunction with July interim day in order to make some technical fixes to existing bills and provided tax relief for Utah families. Highlights of the bills are below.

Dependent Tax Exemption for Utah Working Families

Now that the impacts of federal tax reform are better understood,  the Utah Legislature was able to find a way to lessen the tax burden for some Utahns with dependents. The Legislature passed HB 2003, Income Tax Code Amendments, which designates that $30 million in new money be used to fund a state dependent tax exemption for working families with children, as this population was most impacted by the loss of the personal exemption at the federal level.

It also conforms provisions of the Utah tax code dealing with loss carry backs and carry forwards to federal tax law. These amendments give companies a longer time period to carry forward net operating losses.

Tax Amendments

Federal tax reform included a new, reduced tax on repatriated foreign earnings, payable over eight years. This new lower rate only applies for tax years beginning prior to January 1, 2018. In order for Utah state law to conform to the new federal law, it became necessary to clarify some issues, including that the same date provisions apply for state tax purposes.

Online Sales Tax

When online sellers do not collect sales tax, the responsibility falls on the consumer to pay the use tax when filing. However, the process can be confusing and time consuming, and only approximately 1.3 percent of returns filed in Utah include a use tax return.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court, handed down an opinion in South Dakota v Wayfair, permitting states to require the collection of sales tax on remote purchases by sellers engaged in over 200 transactions or $100,000 worth of business within a state.

The Legislature passed SB 2001, Online Sales Tax Amendments to conform and align state statutes with the SCOTUS decision and to implement start date of January 1, 2019.

This new law eliminates the tedious process of calculating the amount of sales tax owed when filing Utah state income taxes.

Additionally, the Wayfair decision is projected to lead to a $60 million annual increase in state sales tax.  That new money will be used to fund the manufacturer 3-year life, which enables all manufacturers to depreciate new equipment over a three-year period.


Inland Port

HB 2001, Utah Inland Port Authority Amendment, is a result of weeks of open and candid dialogue with stakeholders, including the Salt Lake City Council, to strengthen and improve provisions enacted by SB 234, Utah Inland Port Authority, which passed during the 2018 session.

HB 2001 clarifies the strategies, policies and objectives of the Inland Port Authority, establishes clearer procedures and increases transparency.

Highlights of the bill:

Overview

  • Ensures that municipalities within the authority will provide services and be allocated a tax increment
  • Places a 2 percent cap on property tax to be used for the authority’s operating expenses
  • Encourages the Inland Port board to work with neighboring communities to develop plans to mitigate potential environmental impacts
  • Respects existing land use and other agreements/arrangements between property owners and government authorities

Appeals

  • Will first be considered by the municipality
  • Require a public hearing
  • Specifies that the Inland Port Authority board is an appeals board of last resort

Boundary Adjustments

  • Reduces the overall size of the jurisdictional land
  • Removes wetlands
  • Removes developed areas in the south east
  • Removes farmland in the northeast corner
  • Removes the airport, including all land they currently own

Environmental Concerns

  • Ensures that environmental sustainability policies and best practices meet or exceed applicable state and federal standards
  • Requires monitoring and emissions reporting, and strategies to utilize the best available technology systems to mitigate environmental impact
  • Requires the port authority annual report to include a sustainability plan on regulated emissions and efforts made by the authority to achieve compliance with applicable regulations

Governance

  • Permits the authority to appoint non-voting members and advisory councils from various organizations and entities
  • Sets in statute the inclusion of the SLC council member whose district includes the Salt Lake International Airport
  • Clarifies conflict language for employees or board members
  • Exempts statutorily required board members from conflict issues beyond their control, while still requiring transparency and public disclosure of circumstances that would have otherwise precluded them from serving

The bill also includes a provision that designates 10 percent of the property tax increment to be dedicated to affordable housing.

The amendments were supported by Governor Gary Herbert, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Salt Lake City Council, West Valley City, Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office, Utah League of Cities and Towns, World Trade Center Utah and the Salt Lake Chamber, , in addition to receiving unanimous support from the Salt Lake City Council. The bill passed the House on a vote of 62-5 and Senate, 22-2.


Water

HB 2005, Drinking Water Source Sizing Requirements, corrects a clerical error. HB 303, Drinking Water Source Sizing Requirements, unanimously passed the House and Senate during the 2018 session, but the signed bill did not include an amendment that passed both chambers.

HB 2005 amends definitions and the authorities of the Drinking Water Board, requires specific public water systems to provide data for water use and the director of the Division of Drinking Water to establish water source requirements for certain public water systems.

Damages

An ambiguity in statute when calculating settlement payments against government entities was recently identified, and SB 2005, Calculating New Damages Limits For Personal Injury Cases, clarifies the formula and aligns it to the consumer price index.

Beer Licenses

A business that sells beer for off-premise consumption, like grocery and convenience stores, must receive a city business license before applying for a license to sell beer. An inadvertent oversight occurred when the legislature passed comprehensive alcohol legislation during the 2018 session that could have businesses waiting six or more weeks after opening before obtaining a license to sell beer for consumption off-premises.

SB 2003, Off-premise Beer Retailer Licensing Amendments, corrects this oversight by permitting Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to issue conditional licenses for off-premise beer retailers. The bill provides clarification of the intent of the original law.

Procurement Code

Utah Communications Authority (UCA) is currently subject to the procurement code, though they are not included on the list of procurement units. UCA recently noticed this error and requested that the Legislature add them in order to avoid confusion. HB 2004, Utah Communications Authority – Procurement, simply amends the procurement code to include UCA.

Roads

SB 2004, Class B and Class C Road Fund Amendments, makes adjustments to the road funding formula to not disadvantage smaller counties, where minor population fluctuations could greatly impact funding. A similar bill, HB 314, Class B and Class C Road Funds Amendments, passed the Utah Senate during the 2018 General Session but did not make it back to the House in time for concurrence before the session ended.