Day 29 — Hear ye, hear ye

As a state Representative I have always felt one of my most important responsibilities is to hear from my constituents.  During the time of my service this has taken many forms:

  • Nightly blog
  • Weekly newsletter
  • Bagels & briefings each Saturday morning at my house during the legislative session 
  • Family Night at the Capitol
  • And one of my favorites….Town Halls.

Tonight was the annual mid-session Town Hall, held at the Bountiful City Hall, and hosted by Rep. Ray Ward, Sen. Todd Weiler and me.

We were able to present some of our bills we are currently working on and then take questions from the audience.  The topics discussed were driven by the constituents who were there.  They included:

  • Gender change
  • Toll roads
  • Fuel tax
  • Air quality
  • Hunting permits for cougars
  • Wild horses
  • Bicycle laws
  • Education funding
  • Hackers
  • Federal designation of wilderness
  • Voter registration
  • Watershed law
  • Davis County’s biggest challenges
  • Gun & violence

 

 

Thank you to all those who came and participated tonight as well as the thousands of others who have come to Town Halls and all the other constituent events throughout the past 10 years.  Your voices have been heard and have directed my service.  The final Town Hall of the legislative session will be held after our session ends.  Stay tuned for details.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week FOUR Highlights

Wow, what a whirlwind Week Four has been! So many good things happened, including HCR 7, Concurrent Resolution on Environmental and Economic Stewardship passing out of committee and SCR 1, Concurrent Resolution on Recommending Replacement of Phil Farnsworth Statue in United States Capitol passing off the House floor.

If I were to have a theme for Week Four it would have to be a shout out to the students, young girls, and girl scouts who have made their voices heard this week.  They made stuff happen and I couldn’t be more proud of them.  I hope this marks the beginning of a lifelong commitment to being actively engaged in community, state, and national issues.  We are going to be in good hands.

Pictures from this week, in no particular order 🙂 

Logan High School, West High School, and McGillis School students making a big impact on the passage of HCR 7. 

  

My great-great-Grandpa Moroni Price was a member of the 1897 Utah State House of Representatives.  He was a colleague of Martha Hughes Cannon, who made a little news this week.

 Sometimes you find truth in the most unusual places.

Presenting the Martha Hughes Cannon statue resolution, SCR 1, on the House floor.  Sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler is behind me wearing a t-shirt that says, “A woman’s place is in the House and in the Senate.”  Some people say we should add “and the Dome” to the shirt.

The 4-H State Ambassadors visited the Capitol on the day we voted on Martha Hughes Cannon.  What a great day to sit next to Cheyenne on the floor.

Meet Rep. Seegmiller, newest member of the House, representing St. George. He was sworn in on Day 25.  One of his first votes was on SCR 1.  Luckily, good things are ahead for him.  He was wise enough to vote yes 🙂

Pictures of Sen. Martha Hughes Cannon, left side of the front row, with other members of the Utah legislature, including two woman State Representatives to her left Sarah M. Anderson and Eurithe K. LaBarthe.

Martha Hughes Cannon, far left standing, with prominent women engaged in advocating for women’s suffrage, including Emmeline B. Wells and Susan B. Anthony, seated, to her left.

Utah’s Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus, established in 2015, includes current and former members of the Utah State Legislature.    

Memories….Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus Reception for current and former members of the legislature and legislative session interns.

Martha Hughes Cannon

A painting in the House Chamber of the first woman in the U.S. to vote, Seraph Young, a 23 year old daughter of Territorial Governor Brigham Young.  This occurred on Feb. 14, 1870, and she was the first woman to vote in the U.S., a full 50 years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave all women the right to vote.

    My niece, Sunny, was with me as we passed the Martha Hughes Cannon bill.  What a treat!

Some of the BetterDays 2020 team who were so critical to the passage of the bill.

More 4-H State Ambassadors!

Wonderful, insightful, and talented Natalie Tonks.  Check out her op-ed in the Deseret News about what Martha Hughes Cannon means to her.

                   

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 26 — A pretty great-great-Grandpa

Just getting a little family history done at work. This is my great-great-grandpa Moroni Price. I’m mighty proud to carry on his legacy. In 1897 he was a member of the Utah House, representing Cache Valley’s District 2. He fought for women’s suffrage, representing Utah on the national scene, and was a colleague of Martha Hughes Cannon, the first woman in the U.S. elected to a state Senate. A true pioneer in so many important ways!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 25 — A change of climate

Last year I met a group of students from Logan. They had prepared a resolution on our changing climate to be heard in the Utah State legislature.  Through a series of events their resolution ended up in my hands.  With a late in the session roll out we felt fortunate to have a hearing on the last day committees could hear bills.  The resolution received a 5-5 vote.  While we were disappointed to not move on to the full House for a vote, there was a tremendous amount of energy for carrying the discussion forward.  To that end these students became an important part of a team working to normalize the discussion of our changing climate with a special emphasis on solutions that support environmental stewardship and the economic vitality of our state.  

Those discussions became the genesis for a bill I am running this session, HCR 7, Concurrent Resolution on Environmental and Economic Stewardship.


We had an initial hearing on this bill this week, but had to end committee right at public comment because our House floor time was starting.  Two days later we were back on the agenda and after a brief intro by me, we went straight to public comment.  Six students testified in front of the committee, and were backed by a large group of their peers from Logan High School, West High School, McGillis School, and Utah State University.  They were succinct, thoughtful, well prepared, and impressive.  In short, they wowed the committee members and won the day.  The bill passed out of the
House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and the Environment Committee with a vote of 8-3.  We now move to the House floor for a full vote.

Comments by the students can be found below.  They are worth a listen.   

My bill presentation follows:  

Three weeks ago, on Day 4 of the 2018 legislative session, many of us met in the auditorium of the State Office Building to listen to a Climate Solutions Panel, made up of scientists, local, state, and federal elected officials, industry, and business representatives.  This event was organized by Utah students, high school and college, and hosted by Rep. Ward, Rep. Briscoe, and myself. Videos of the event are in three parts and can be seen on youtube:  

 

 

The opening remarks came from our own Congresswoman Mia Love, an early member of the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus, who recorded a message that was shown at the beginning of the event.  She stated that, “We all have a part in making sure we are good stewards of the land that we live in.  Unfortunately, our toxic political climate sometimes makes it difficult to effectively address our physical climate.”

HCR 7 is an attempt to prove that wrong.  It is a consensus resolution that has been examined and vetted by a variety of stakeholders, many of whom are represented here today.  Folks representing:

  • Industry, large and small
  • Scientists from our Utah research institutions of higher education
  • Government agencies, tasked by us to examine these issues
  • Stakeholders in the community

 

This resolution is an attempt to:

  • Build bridges instead of divides
  • Conduct constructive dialogue in place of the dissent of extremism, and to
  • Work for solutions instead of seeing problems as an immovable status quo

 

It repeatedly affirms that it is our opportunity and responsibility to work for solutions that enhance a future that is both economically viable, and also environmentally viable.

 

Let the language of the resolution do the talking, beginning on Line 54:

 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
Governor concurring therein, commits to working constructively, using our heritage of
technological ingenuity, innovation, and leadership to create and support economically viable and broadly supported private and public solutions, including in rural communities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED we should prioritize our understanding and use of sound science to address causes of a changing climate and support innovation and

environmental stewardship in order to realize positive solutions.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor encourage individuals, corporations, and state agencies to reduce emissions through incentives and support of the growth in technologies and services that will enlarge our economy in a way that is both energy efficient and cost effective.

 

Utah is a special place. We are fond of saying that we deal with our problems using the “Utah Way.”

In that spirit, we believe Utah can tackle the challenges of a changing climate through its own means. But we must first have open and honest discussions of the problem, which is what my resolution is meant to initiate. We can continue to grow our economy and be good stewards of our natural resources as we work together to seek solutions that create a bright future for our state. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 24 — #sendMartha

Today was a momentous day for Utah.  The Utah House passed SCR 1, Concurrent Resolution Recommending Replacement of Statue of Philo Farnsworth in United States Capitol, the resolution that moves a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon to Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol, to join Brigham Young, as the two statues representing the state of Utah.

Sen. Todd Weiler and Sen. Deidre Henderson are both sponsoring bills to recognize Utah’s role in the suffrage movement.  Sen. Henderson is sponsoring SB 119, Special Group License Plate, that creates a new recognition special group license, “First to Vote,” plate to recognize and commemorate women’s suffrage.  Sen. Todd Weiler was the Senate sponsor on this the Martha Hughes Cannon statue resolution, SCR 1, and I was pleased to be the floor sponsor in the House. 

There was a tremendous outpouring of community support for this effort.  Girl Scouts and young girls wrote their State Representatives, sharing how the example of Martha Hughes Cannon inspired them and because of her example the girls knew they could accomplish anything.  One girl shared her aspiration to be the 3rd female President of the United States.  She is 11 years old.  American women better get busy. 

Pictures of members of the public, including supporters from BetterDays 2020, Adam Gardiner, former State Representative who was the original sponsor of the resolution before being elected to serve as the SL County Recorder, girl scouts, students, members of the public, Utah Cultural Alliance, League of Women Voters, and representatives of the Women’s State Legislative Council who took a position of support for the resolution.  It was a great day all around.  We could not have achieved this vote without the support and advocacy from so many, only a few who are pictured here.  

     

But back to Martha.  Martha Hughes Cannon is a remarkable woman, with a strong influence that extends beyond our state.

Her resume speaks for itself:

  • First woman in the U.S. elected to a State Senate, in 1896, beating her husband Angus M. Cannon in the general election
  • Bachelors degree in Chemistry, University of Deseret
  • Received medical degrees from University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania
  • Bachelors degree in Elocution and Oratory, University of Pennsylvania

As a Senator, Dr. Cannon:

  • Founded the Utah State Board of Health, later became the Utah Department of Health
  • Founded what later became the School for the Deaf and Blind
  • Sponsored legislation on public health, sanitation, and workplace protection and safety
  • Supported vaccinations, early childhood education, nursing education
  • Advocate for the U.S. women’s suffrage movement

Martha Hughes Cannon is most famous for being the first woman in the U.S. elected as a State Senator.  In addition to that, what makes her story a bit more unique is that Martha actually ran and beat her opponent, who just happened to be her husband, Angus Cannon.  Mattie and Angus were married during the time polygamy was practiced openly by LDS members in Utah.  She was his 4th wife and he was 23 years her senior.  Mattie trained in Philadelphia as a physician, returned to Utah, married, had 3 children with Angus, lived for awhile in exile while the government was out to prosecute those living polygamy.  Eventually Mattie was able to return to her home in Utah and founded the Department of Health, worked extensively with deaf and hard of hearing students, nursing, and left a big market in the area of public health in Utah. 

This is one of my favorite paintings in the House Chamber at the Capitol.  It is artist David Koch’s depiction of 23 year old Seraph Young, grand niece of Brigham Young, casting her ballot as the first woman in the United States to vote, on Valentines Day, 1870.  Utah granted women the right to vote in late 1869, the second state to do so after Wyoming.  Utahs election was held prior to the election in Wyoming, however, and the first woman to cast her ballot in that 1870 election, held on Feb. 14, was a young woman named Seraph Young. She was 23 years old, single, and stopped to vote before she went on to her day job as a school teacher.

Women’s Suffrage–the right of women to vote–was actually won twice in Utah. After being granted in 1870 by the territorial legislature it was revoked by Congress in 1887 as part of the Edmunds-Tucker Anti-polygamy Act, which among other things, revoked women’s right to vote, along with the effort to rid the territory of polygamy. It was restored in 1895, when the right to vote and hold office was written into the constitution of the new state. 

Throughout this time many prominent Utah women were involved in the women’s rights movement as advocates and suffragists, working with national leaders.  On November 3, 1896, following the reinstatement of a womans right to vote in 1895, Utah distinguished itself again by electing Martha Hughes Cannon as the first female State Senator elected in the United States.  Cannon defeated her own husband, Angus Cannon, who was also on the ballot. 

Artist David Koch writes about his treatment of the subject matter in the Seraph Young painting.  His account:  

This mural is about two windows; Two windows of opportunity that were opened in Utah history. The first window was opened in the Salt Lake City Hall on Valentine’s Day in 1870. Twenty three year old Seraph Young was the first woman to cast her ballot in the Utah Territiories and quite possibly in boundaries more far reaching. This municipal vote took place without much fanfare or publicity and was short lived. This window was closed in 1887 when Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Antipolygamy Act.

The second window of women’s suffrage would be opened largely due to the efforts of three visionary women: Emmeline B. Wells, Sarah M. Kimball, and Emily Richards. These women championed this cause for women by climbing the staircase of adversity, prejudice, historical culture, opposition of top state leaders and national government and resistance to change. The challenge to open this second window was accomplished one hard fought step at a time. Today we must climb these same stairs in order to improve the quality of life now and to provide a better future for our children.

This article by provides background to the ways early Mormon Utah women were involved in the suffrage movement.  Utah History To Go also includes a thorough account of the ways Utah women contributed to the suffragette movement.

Additionally, this 1995 Deseret News article highlights the many women who paved the way by dedicating their life to equality and suffrage.  

This Valentines Day, as we think of the people and things we love and cherish, I cherish and am grateful for my right to vote and for all the people who made that a possibility.  Just one of the many things I love about Utah.  

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 23 — Martha Hughes Cannon, a Caucus worth keeping

About three years ago Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck and I formed the Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus, made up of current and former Utah women legislators.  Our intent was to honor and celebrate Mattie Cannon, the namesake of the caucus, while providing an opportunity for our members to work together on issues and policies, and get in some good old fashioned bonding along the way.

This Deseret News op-ed, penned by Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus member and former State Representative Holly Richardson, highlights the reasons behind the caucus, My view: Martha Caucus seeks to inspire interested women in serve in politics and business

“We look forward to the day when it is the norm to see women running for office and excelling in business, when it is so ingrained in our Utah culture that we no longer need to note and take action about the lopsided electoral presence.  Until then, we intend to continue speaking up and speaking out about the value women bring to all organizations.”

The impact of Martha Hughes Cannon was felt in the 1800’s and is still felt today.  A recent Deseret News op-ed, Martha Hughes Cannon changed my world; I want to change the world for her, by Lone Peak High School senior Natalie Tonks, shares how this move is about so much more than just one statue or one woman.

We held our first Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus Reception several years ago and invited the women legislative session interns for some speed mentoring and group discussions with the MHCC members.  It was a great event, with numerous former legislators returning to the Capitol for the first time in years.  The 2017 MHCC Reception had 25 current and former legislators and about 20 interns in attendance.  This year our numbers were even higher.  On either end of the spectrum were an 18 year old high school intern and an 88 year old former Representative who served for 21 years from the 70’s to the 90’s.  We listened, learned, shared, and laughed…..a lot.  

Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus Reception, 2016

Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus Reception, 2017

We also held a retreat in 2016 to kick things off for the MHCC. 

 

We shared the reasons we got involved in public service, ways in which we felt we have made a difference, what we wish we had known at age 22, the importance of women having a voice in politics, and our desire to serve as mentors for these bright interns.That was the first year we heard a presentation on a project rolling out in the state to celebrate the role Utah women played in the suffrage movement.  The project is called BetterDays 2020, and in 2017 co-founders Neylan McBaine and Mandee Grant discussed their large vision for events rolling out in 2020 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of women getting the vote.  Tonight we had Jen Christensen, BetterDays 2020 Public Policy Director, give us an update on what’s happened since last year and what we can watch for as we get closer to 2020 and the 150th anniversary.  Some fantastic events are in the works!

I’m grateful for my legislative colleagues and for my predecessors who paved the path for my service.  I hope to be in a position where I can encourage and support other women in achieving their potential and making a difference in their communities.

Some photos from this evening and our group mentoring activity:

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week Three Highlights

Jevonne Tanner and Alicia Mercer brought their Girl Scout troop from Bountiful to the Capitol for a tour this week.  Rep. Ray Ward and I loved spending time with them.  They also brought letters and illustrations showing their support for SCR 1, authorizing the move of the statue of Martha Hughes Cannon to the U.S. Capitol Statuary Hall.  They were great advocates!

More and more time is spent in this position as the session moves along.  

Senior Pastor Don Proctor, Bountiful First Baptist Church, offered the prayer this week at the opening of one of our floor sessions, and he was joined by my intern Anahit Verdyan, student at the University of Utah, who led the House Chamber and gallery in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Again…..floor time.

Making an appropriations request to the Social Services Appropriations Sub-committee.  The request was for a program that trains individuals in the homeless shelter with culinary skills preparing them for jobs once they leave the shelter.  

After delivering their letters of support to Rep. Mike Noel, we were lucky to have Rep. Noel share a little about the history of Philo Taylor Farnsworth and the great contributions he made to our state and nation.

An appropriations request for Ballet West in front of the Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations Sub-committee.

Discussing the Ballet West appropriation with Sara West, Vice President of Development, Ballet West.

It was Arts Day on the Hill and I had the opportunity to introduce the Woods Cross High School Jazz Band percussion ensemble, starring Clara Campbell on keyboard, Connor Pemberton on drums, and Alex Pope on bass.  They were amazing!

Outside the House chamber talking to advocates about my resolution on environmental stewardship.  Carrie Butler, middle, is the Policy Director of Action Utah, and Ashley Soltysiak, right, is the Chapter Director of the Sierra Club.  I appreciate their participation in the process and help on several issues through this year.

This man takes the phrase “The People’s House” literally.  He is at the Capitol every day.

Meet Utah’s future leaders!

Another view of the public who attend our Social Services Appropriations sub-committee meetings.  Their advocacy and input are critical to this process.

Brandon Dunn, a junior at Woods Cross High School, is the son of educator and constituent Jessica Dunn.  Brandon has been coming to the Capitol every year.  This year he gave me some good advocacy on why educators could benefit from more money invested in the WPU.

A view of our House Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Standing Committee.  Here Erin Jemison, Director of Public Policy, YWCA, testifies on a bill sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler.

Our annual Clean Air Caucus press conference outlining a number of bills to improve air quality.  I enjoy working with my colleagues as a co-chair of this caucus and looking for solutions as to how we can continue to improve our air quality.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 19 — Calendars, websites, and bills…..oh my!

The Utah State Legislature has a very clear process for how bills are considered and move through to passage.  As each bill moves through that process there are many sets of eyes on each bill, including those from members of the public who can comment during committee hearings, who have an opportunity to analyze, debate, and eventually make recommendations on the outcome of the bill.

The organization of that process once bills have made it out of a committee is organized by House and Senate Reading Calendars  on the floor of the House and Senate.  Calendars contain the list of bills waiting in line to be voted on.  A description of each of those calendars follows.  It is a helpful reference for understanding our legislative process and why it matters.

To begin with, by legislative rule each bill must be read, which means heard and discussed, three times.  The First reading is when the bill is introduced, usually when the staff Reading Secretary reads the number and title of the bill on the chamber floor.  After that the bill is assigned to a committee.  In the House the committee hearing is considered the Second reading.  In the Senate both Second and Third readings occur on the Senate floor, which means the Senate votes twice on each bill, and a bill is not fully passed out of the Senate until it has passed Second and Third reading calendars.

If the bill receives a favorable recommendation from the committee (“passes out”), the committee report is read and adopted on the floor (with no presentation or debate), and then moved to the Third reading calendar (Second in the Senate, see above).  The Third reading calendar is what you see above in the photo.  In the third reading, the sponsor (legislator who produced the bill or is sponsoring the bill from the other chamber) gives a presentation and then the bill is open to debate.  Sometimes it is amended or substituted, and sometimes it is only debated amongst the members.  After the debate has concluded, the bill is voted on and moved off the Third reading calendar and over to the other body for their consideration. There are several other Calendars that can be a landing spot for a bill after it has been recommended by a committee:  Consent, Concurrence, and Time Certain.

Each Calendar has it’s own rules.  For instance, the Consent Calendar means that the bill has received so much support from the Standing Committee  that no discussion to the bill is allowed on the floor.

The Concurrence Calendar contains bills that originated as House bills, went to the Senate and were amended there.  The House then must vote on whether or not to concur, or approve, the Senate changes.

The Time Certain Calendar contains bills or resolutions that are going to be read at a specific day and time.  This is usually because there are members of the community or those involved with the bill who would like to be present in the gallery for the vote.  Or sometimes a person is being honored on the House floor and we make sure to schedule that recognition, usually in the form of a House Joint Resolution, while they are present in the House.

The House Third Reading Calendar contains bills that have received a favorable recommendation from their Standing Committee.  There are several reading calendars, but you’ll see Second and Third reading calendars in the Senate and a Third reading calendar in the House.  The order on the Calendar mirrors the order in which they were passed out of Committee.

“Under suspension of the Rules” means that any legislator can make a motion to suspend any of the above calendar or committee rules.  With a majority vote of their colleagues in the House or Senate their motion will be supported.  This means that near the end of the session we may see bills that “under suspension of the rules” get voted on once in the Senate instead of twice as described above.  We also see that as long as a bill has had one committee hearing, in either House or Senate, the other body may move the bill straight to a Reading Calendar without a committee hearing, “under suspension of the rules.”

Now let’s talk about how to read a bill.  My former legislative colleague Holly Richardson, now a Salt Lake Tribune columnist, wrote an excellent article on how to read and understand bills and legislative calendars, “Utah Legislative Bill Reading 101.”   For those wanting a little hands-on audio-visual guidance, Holly’s video below, includes a walk-through of a couple of bills, one old, one new, and a little tour around the legislative website.  It is a great resource.  

From Holly’s SLTrib article, “If you have an interest in following — and influencing — Utah’s legislative process, be sure to go to Utah’s legislative website, le.utah.gov. Utah’s website is top-notch for ease of use and ability to find information. If you want email notifications of bill changes, enter your email on the bill page, on the right-hand side under ‘Track this’.”

Hopefully that helps you understand a little more of the legislative process and how you can find out about specific bills or bills related to a certain issue.  Now all that’s left is for you to get involved and make your voice heard.  Thank you in advance!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 18 — Ask and maybe you shall receive

Each appropriation subcommittee conducts budget discussions, hears proposals for funding requests, prioritizes all budget items and requests, and votes on the final prioritized list.  Any additional revenue coming in to the subcommittee will be distributed as per the prioritization of the committee until the funds are expended.  

I served as sponsor for several appropriations this session.  Above I’m presenting in the Social Services Appropriations Committee with Melva Sine, President of the Utah Restaurant Association, about a request to fund a program where they would teach culinary job skills to homeless individuals onsite in the homeless shelter.  They’ve been teaching these skills in high schools for 20 years through the ProStart program, and for 2 years to juvenile justice clients who are incarcerated.  It is a perfect marriage of teaching skills necessary to obtaining a job and helping ease the critical need for more workers in the food service and culinary industry.  

Each of my requests was assigned to the appropriations subcommittee that oversees that portion of the state budget.  I believe these are all worthy projects, but since they are competing against many other great programs and there is never enough money to go around, it will come down to how the committees vote to prioritize these along with the numerous other requests for funding.  

  • 4-H Youth Development
    Description: Build Statewide capacity for 4-H program by adding 4-H coordinators in all 29 counties.
    Agency: Utah State University
    Purpose: These coordinators will expand opportunities for youth to engage statewide to participate in programs like robotics, traditional AG, financial management.
  • Work is the Way Initiative
    Description: Culinary/Job training at the homeless resource centers. Provide certification and a career pathway for homeless population.
    Agency: Workforce Services
    Purpose: Job training for homeless population.
  • Ballet West
    Description:  Ballet West is seeking a one-time appropriation to help support the international tour to China & Victoria, British Columbia, as well as the trajectory of the Choreographic Festival as it matures into an international destination for dance. $500,000 represents 25% of total cost.
    Agency: Heritage and Arts
    Purpose: Arts & tourism
  • Children in Family Treatment Programs 
    Description: Funds the treatment and services delivered to young children in family treatment programs. Services delivered are not medicaid reimbursable. Family treatment programs provide SUD and mental health services to the parent while concurrently treating and reunifying the children keeping them out of foster care.
    Agency: Human Services
    Purpose: Parents and their children throughout the state access these services. Family treatment programs are a partnership between DCFS, DSAMH, juvenile court, Guardian ad Litem, the local substance abuse authorities.
  • Utah Sports Hall of Fame Relocation of Museum
    Description: Since 1975, the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Museum was in the Salt Palace. In 1991, Larry Miller moved the museum to the Jazz Arena. Now with the re-construction of the Jazz Arena, the museum and all the memorabilia , trophies, and videos have been boxed waiting for funding to relocate the museum. The funding will also fund some additional scholarships
    Agency: Economic Development
    Purpose: The “best of the best” 228 inducted athletes in USHOF represent the proud tradition of athletic, scholastic, and cultural unity. Exhibit the history through memorabilia, awards, and video bios of our great athletic achievements.e are now homeless. An additional $1 million will be raised by at-large businesses/sponsors.

This is Sarah West, Vice President of Development, Ballet West.  We’re discussing the appropriation request that will assist Ballet West in making a stamp on the international scene with a tour to China and Victoria, British Columbia, and the growth of the Choreographic Festival.

Presenting to the Business, Labor, Economic Development Appropriations Committee on the Utah Sports Hall of Fame and Ballet West.

One of my requests, Children in Family Treatment Programs, funds the treatment and services delivered to young children in family treatment programs because their parent is in an inpatient treatment program. Family treatment programs provide substance use disorder and mental health services to the parent while concurrently treating and reunifying the children keeping them out of foster care.  This is a beautiful way to help a parent get necessary treatment and keep the family together in a safe and trial basis.  Upon completion of treatment DCFS makes an assessment as to whether to grant permanent custody to the parent.  The goal is keeping families intact when possible and this program helps with that.  It is a complement to many of the efforts going on right now addressing homelessness through a program called Operation Rio Grande.

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Law enforcement officers from several agencies increase their presence in the Rio Grand homeless area in Salt Lake City Monday August 14, 2017.

On August 14, 2017, an extensive collaborative effort to combat lawlessness in the Rio Grande area and lend a helping hand to those in need was launched. On February 5, a six-month update was given on the progress of the program. Operation Rio Grande (ORG), as it has been called, has been shown to have substantially improved the area, both for those seeking services and those who live and work there. Lives have been changed as more resources have been made available for those wanting help and as authorities have appropriately dealt with the drug dealers and cartels who would take advantage of them.

“There’s help out there, and Operation Rio Grande really put me in the avenues to get that help,” said one beneficiary of ORG, Rich Duprez. 

Since the launch of the operation: 

  • • Nearly 200 new addiction treatment beds, and counting, have been created 
  • • About 70 people have entered treatment through Salt Lake County’s new specialty drug court program. 
  • • More than 3,400 safe space cards issued. 
  • • One hundred thirty-three behavioral health assessments have been completed. 
  • • Sixteen people have been placed into sober living and seven new beds have been created, with more on the way. 
  • • Of individuals referred to short-term housing, 44 have been housed, 121 have been diverted from emergency shelter and 189 are receiving housing case management. 
  • • Fourteen individuals have been employed through the Dignity of Work program, 100 have completed employment plans, 33 are work ready and 48 job listings have been posted by participating employers. 
  • • Over 800 individuals assessed during ORG have now been enrolled in Medicaid, which includes coverage for behavioral/mental health treatment. 

Though we have made significant strides, it does not end here. The state is committed to securing funding, improving public safety, offering support to those struggling with mental illness and drug addiction to help them get back on the path of self-reliance, and preparing and connecting individuals with housing and job opportunities. 

The progress of the three phases can be tracked online at operationriogrande.utah.gov.

Last week we saw first hand an example of the early successes of Operation Rio Grande when Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams visited the Capitol with Cedric Willis, Branden Jenkins and Mikhail Kotlov, clients of Operation Rio Grande’s specialty drug court. I’m familiar with how effective drug court can be because I served with my husband for two years as volunteers in the Salt Lake County Oxbow Jail.  We worked with many individuals who left incarceration and found success transitioning in productive work and safe housing through structure and requirements of the drug court program.  It was inspirational to see the impact it has had on the lives of these three men.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 17 — They do more than just sell cookies

Some young, and very determined, constituents visited the Capitol yesterday with a mission.  They came as a Girl Scout troop, along with leaders Alicia Mercer and Jevonne Tanner, for a tour of the Capitol and to learn about the way our government works, but that wasn’t all.  Their main goal?  To do some in person lobbying for the resolution replacing one of Utah’s two statues in the U.S. Capitol Statuary Hall, one representing Philo T. Farnsworth, with a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon.  They knew their stuff.  They knew Martha Hughes Cannon was the first woman in the U.S. elected to a state senate.  That she beat her husband in the general election.  That she was a doctor, a mom, and founder of what became the Utah Department of Health.  

Oh, they also knew that Martha Hughes Cannon was a fighter.  And that she spent a lot of her energies fighting so girls like them could do something very special in just a few short years.  Vote.  

They also knew that over 100 years ago there were a whole lot of women in Utah just like Martha Hughes Cannon who were involved in the suffrage movement to bring women the right to vote.  Martha, called Mattie by her friends, was one of their leaders, along with Emmeline B. Wells, Zina D.H. Young, Sara M. Kimball, Ruth May Fox, and Emily Richards.  These girl scouts knew something many Utahns don’t, that Utah women played an important role in bringing women the vote and were very real partners with other activists we’re more familiar with like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.   

We sat in the Rotunda and talked about how some things in Utah are the same as back in the day when the Capitol was built 101 years ago and how lots of things have changed.  The nice folks with the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center who had a display table set up in the rotunda showed us some old fashioned Utah hospitality and gave the girls brownies.  Utah–this is the place!  Most of the girls were my constituents, but a few actually live in the area of Bountiful represented by Rep. Ray Ward, who just happened to wander by as we were talking in the rotunda.  Time for a picture 🙂

Off to the Senate chamber where we ran into our Sen. Todd Weiler and Sen. Jerry Stephenson, who gifted the girls a wonderful commemorative coin with a depiction of Martha Hughes Cannon on one side.  These are one of a kind and will be a special remembrance for the girls.  

Of course the highlight of the House chamber was the painting depicting the first woman in the U.S. to vote.  On Feb. 14, 1870, Seraph Young, a 23 year old school teacher and niece of Territorial Governor Brigham Young, stopped by on her way to work to make some history by doing something that had never been done before.  Dropping her ballot in a box.   

Feeling mighty proud to be a Utah woman with this troop of girl scout power by my side!

The girls had written notes and illustrations for Rep. Mike Noel, the chair of the Rules Committee, who would be voting the next day to place the “Martha Hughes Cannon” resolution into a House committee.  Remember the part about their goal? Well, we went in search of Rep. Noel.  He was still in a committee, but we were able to see another member of House leadership, Rep. Mike Schultz, who took time to accept the letters on behalf of Rep. Noel and even confided he might be keeping a few of them on his own desk.  He asked the girls why they liked Martha and their answers were short and meaningful:

“I think if Utah had Martha’s statue I think people will see that women can be amazing leaders, too.”

“It is an example for me that I can do anything I want.”

“I think it is a really good idea to replace the Philo statue with Martha because women are not as noticed as the men are.”

Then just to be fair we thought we might go pay our respects to the statute of Philo Taylor Farnsworth on the 4th floor of the Capitol.  While we were there, guess who should walk by on the way out of his committee?  Rules chair Rep. Mike Noel!  He was as kind as could be to this group of girl scouts and stopped and talked to them for quite a while.  He shared with them the amazing contributions Philo Farnsworth made to Utah and the world in the area of television, radio, telescopes, and even baby incubators.  Philo was a remarkable individual and his statue has represented Utah in the U.S. Capitol since 1990.  The statues representing each state were never intended to be housed there permanently, and there are provisions to change them out as state’s desire.  In the next week we will have the chance as a legislature to vote on if it is time to bring Philo T. Farnsworth home and send Martha Hughes Cannon to Washington.  

If this determined girl scout troop from Bountiful has anything to say about it, we’ll all have a new face to welcome us to the U.S. Capitol next time we visit:  Martha Hughes Cannon!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments