‘Twas the End of Week Four and All Through the House…

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Fancy Family Night brownies this week for Valentine’s Day!  Two more weeks of Family Night at the Capitol, Feb. 27 and March 6.  Hope to see you there!

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The view of the Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee from my vantage point as Chair.  This is Rep. Dixon Pitcher presenting a bill expanding FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act.  This bill was held in our committee with the intent to continue conversations on ways we can address this important need. We hope to study this issue during the interim.

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Welcome back, Nick Baker!  Nick was an intern with me last session and is back helping put together an online survey.  He’ll be doing the data analysis and helping me present it through some videos.  Things just work better when Nick is around, so I’m glad to have him back at the Capitol!

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There are always special programs in the Rotunda during the session and one of my favorites is the Utah Music Educators Association.  They bring top notch talent from our public schools and the performances are awesome.  This group of students is from Rocky Mountain Middle School in Heber City, with students from Heber, Midway, Charleston Daniel, and Wallsburg.  Rebecca O’Boyle is their Director.  They sang with heart, soul, and precision, and brought the house down.

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Todd Campbell is the band director at Woods Cross High School and just happens to have taught three of my four children, and hundreds of other lucky students at WX and South Davis Jr. High through the years.  Mr. Campbell also happens to be the incoming president of the UMTA and I look forward to his advocacy on behalf of music teachers everywhere.

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Today we were the lucky recipients of these wonderful porcelain Utahs.  They were created by an elementary school class in Riverton and were greatly appreciated by all in the House.  Thank you, and long live the arts!

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Part of our group who attended for Mondays Family Night.  This is a scout group from North Salt Lake.  I kept them way too long telling them story after story about this great People’s House of ours!

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Students from West Bountiful Elementary were up at the Capitol this week supporting the Leader in Me project, based on Sean Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Happy Kids.  This school has supported this project for several years and I know it is making a difference in the lives of their students.  Thank you, Principal Eric Holmes, and these students, teachers, and moms, for coming to the Capitol today!

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This group of sharp looking folks are with the Davis Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute.  They represent businesses throughout Davis County who were here today learning about the legislative process and how they could get more involved and make a difference.  I spoke to them about some of the legislation being run that may impact their businesses and invited them all to continue to make an impact in their community.  It was a treat to be with them.

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Student leaders from West Bountiful who are involved in making a difference in their school because of principles they’ve learned from the Leader in Me project.

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It was Arts Day on the Hill on Tuesday the 14th and it was great to have our own Bountiful Davis Arts Center up on the Hill advocating for the arts.  They are such an important part of our community and I appreciate their taking time to come up and spend time with us.  They are making an important contribution, thank you all !

 

 

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My Bills — Where Are They Now?

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I have twelve bills that are currently working their way through the process.  Two additional bills are still being drafted, so I’ll hopefully have language on those bills this coming week that I can share. I’m abandoning one bill that was found to be unnecessary in solving the problem we were addressing.  Additionally, I’m the House sponsor on five Senate bills.  Here’s where they all stand in the process:

HB 34,  Employment Security Act Sunset Extension, passed through the House and Senate. Sent to the Governor for signing.

This bill extends the sunset on a pilot program where the Department of Workforce Services shares information with the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor in order to determine if employers are correctly classifying their employees.

1st Sub, HB 36, Affordable Housing Amendments, passed from the House, and 2nd Reading in the Senate.  It will sit on the Senate 3rd Reading until the bill is funded in the last few days of the session.

The goal of this bill is to increase the availability of affordable housing units.  It accomplishes this in two ways:

  1.  Increasing state low income housing tax credits.
  2.  Establishing a Economic Revitalization and Investment Fund, that can provide funding to developers, builders and investors who want to get into the affordable housing market. The funds must be repaid to the state after 30 years, or when the property is sold or refinanced.

The fiscal note on this bill is $6M.  We are in the process of trying to secure the funding.  More on this legislation in this previous post, Day 2 — House 2 Home.

HB 69, Capital Facilities Revisions, passed out of the House and Senate.  Sent to the Governor for his signature.

This bill removes from statute the requirement that the Department of Heritage and Arts execute capital facilities grants.

HB 129, Adult Protective Services Amendments, passed out of House and will be heard in Senate committee this week

This bill authorizes Adult Protective Services authority to provide emergency protective services to a vulnerable adult in an emergency.

HB 182, Labeling Requirements for Types of Retail Goods, passed out of the House and Senate and is awaiting the signature of the Governor.

This bill amends labeling regulations in stores selling second hand items by providing alternative methods for labeling goods and disclosing to consumers that goods sold in the store are used.

HB 211, State Work of Art, passed out of the House and will be heard in the Senate committee this week.

This bill designates the Spiral Jetty as the State Work of Art.

HB 246, System of Care Amendments, passed out of House committee and is on the House 3rd Reading Calendar.

This bill supports a whole-person, family-centered approach to services within the Department of Human Services, called Systems of Care, which is proven to achieve more sustainable, positive outcomes that break cycles of government involvement.

Historically, public human services have been crisis oriented, positioned to respond to needs only after escalating to tragic consequences that often involve separating family members from one another, taking youth into state custody, isolated treatment experiences that disrupt home and community engagement with repeated cycles of government involvement, and often leading people to becoming involved in adult corrections, experiencing intergenerational poverty, homelessness, or premature death.

Science, research, evidence from innovative practices, and the voices of the very individuals seeking help have all encouraged state systems to evaluate how to focus on earlier opportunities to support people through coordinating services.

In addition, System of Care helps reduce redundant business operations, share information more efficiently, leverage our purchase power to maximize taxpayer investment in contracted services and simplify the experience of our multi-diciplinary partners working beside us to help others.

HCR 17, Autism After 21, passed out of the House and will be heard in the Senate next week.

This bill calls attention to the many adults on the autism spectrum for whom federally mandated services have ended, recognizes the limited opportunities for employment and education for many adults on the autism spectrum, and the need for residential services and an opportunity for individual self-determination.

HJR 8, Retention of Public Educators, passed House floor and is being heard in the Senate next week.

This bill recognizes the shortage of credentialed public educators in the state, and lays out a plan whereby a portion of new revenue generated from the management of public lands that have been transferred to the state of Utah be deposited into a new fund for the purpose of increasing public educator salaries.

HB 345, Telehealth Pilot Project, passed out of the House committee and is on the House Third Reading Calendar

This bill sets into place a pilot to provide telemedicine to remote areas of the state where access to certain medical specialties and crisis intervention services are not existent.  

HB 278, Second-hand Store Amendments, awaiting a committee hearing in the House

This bill removes regulations on small businesses who deal in second hand goods.

HB 348, Voter Records Amendments, this bill will be heard in the Government Operations Committee this week

This bill protects your voter registration information from groups wanting to purchase and sell your private information.

Additionally I have a few other bills that are in the process of being drafted.  Time will tell if we get them out in time for them to get a hearing in committee and consideration on the floor. 

Targeted Business Tax Credit Revisions – in drafting

Tax Incentive Amendments — in drafting

School Testing Funds Amendments – I will be abandoning this bill and it was determined that a legislative fix was not required.

 

Additionally, I am the House sponsor on a few Senate bills:

SB 29, Utah Marriage Commission Amendments, Sen. Christensen

SB 100, Early Childhood Services Coordination Amendments, Sen. Millner

SB  149, Financial Education and Savings Plan to benefit At-Risk Children, Sen. Fillmore

SB 210, Equal Pay Amendments, Sen. Anderegg

SB 170, Workers Compensation Workgroup, Sen. Mayne

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Day 26 — New Revenue Numbers

More retro clipart at http://www.clipartof.com/

The new revenue numbers are in.  We will use these numbers as we finalize a balanced state budget these next three weeks.  Our work so far in our appropriations sub-committees has been based on revenue estimates made in November. We will adjust our subcommittee recommendations accordingly based on these new consensus numbers that come from the economists from the legislature, the Governor’s office, and the Tax Commission.   

Here’s what we learned yesterday:

Overall, revenue is up by $100M from the November projections.  The disparity between the November projections and the new numbers are due to the unstable/dynamic tax sources that are in play.  There is a growing divergence between the three revenue sources (income, sales, and property taxes) and for that reason we are continuing to pursue some long term tax reform this general session that will create a more stable, reliable, and consistent tax policy. Which brings us to this…..tax reform discussions.  We have three weeks left in the session.  Tax reform is complex and a heavy lift in the best of situations.  The timing we are facing makes this especially challenging, however, I strongly support these conversations and potential action.  Stay tuned.  It could be an interesting next three weeks.  Here is an article about tax reform ideas being discussed in our Majority caucus meeting  on Thursday. 

An “in a nutshell” version of the new revenue numbers:

Overall, budget continues to grow, the General Fund has grown 6.4%, for a total of $6.3M.  The Education Fund has grown 7.5%, for a total of $6.6B.

General fund down $10M in one time, and includes the factor for the Amazon sales tax, and up $13M in ongoing, including Amazon, with net of $3M, in more in GF than we thought. 

The Eduction fund has grown by $22M OT and $75M ongoing, for a total total of $97M additional revenue for Education.  

In other words, we have approx. $100M more than we thought we would have.

$100M seems like a lot of %, but it is only 1% of the total budget, and we have almost three times the requests for available dollars.

 

 

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Day 25 — Slicing the Pie

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Each Appropriations Subcommittee has submitted their recommendations for ongoing and one time funding requests.  You can search by subcommittee to see how a program you’re interested in has fared on the prioritization list.  The new budget numbers will be released tomorrow and that will let us know how we’re going to slice the pie, in other words how far down each of these lists we are able to fund, so stay tuned! 

Appropriations Subcommittee Recommendations

Retirement and Independent Entities

Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality

Business, Economic Development, and Labor

Social Services

Public Education

Executive Offices and Criminal Justice

Higher Education

Infrastructure and General Government

Executive Appropriations Committee

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Day 24 — In God We Trust

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We begin each day in the Utah House with a prayer and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  It is one of my favorite parts of the day.  Each morning brings a prayer representing a different faith community in our state at the invitation of one of the Representatives and I truly feel the power and blessings of the almighty called down on us through these heartfelt prayers.  I’ve included below three of my favorite prayers from this session, as well as some heartfelt prayers from former US Presidents through the years.  The wonderful thing about these prayers, across faiths and centuries,  is the consistency of pleas for compassion, wisdom, peace, and humility.  May we join the fervent prayer of George Washington, who as President asked God to “impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves to the whole family of mankind.”

 

Prayer given in the Utah House of Representatives, 2017, by Imam Shuaib Uddin, Utah Islamic Center

O Lord of the Universe, Our Creator, and Creator of All, save us all from words which hurt, bless us with hearts that touch.

O God, O Allah, Oh Yahweh, grant us the wisdom to learn from the wisdom you blessed upon all your prophets.

O Lord, Our Creator, Our Maker, Sustainer of all.  Please give us compassion and mutual understanding so we may live in peace and with justice. Please help us and give us strength for justice.  Give us the strength to work for the good of all humanity and against what is harmful to all of us.

O Lord, let our children learn from our errors to establish a just, and peaceful world for all.

O God, guide our leaders to make fair and just decisions.

O Allah, protect us from hate and intolerance.

Among those who are just, good, and beautiful.

O God, O Allah, O Yahweh, help us raise children who will be better than ourselves. Protect us from violence, from fear, from danger. Nourish our minds and our hearts from examples from the prophets.

O God of Abraham, and God of Moses, and God of Jesus, and God of Mohammed, be upon all of them.  Accept our humble prayers, Amen.

 

 

Prayer given in the Utah House of Representatives, 2017, by Robert Geyer, Lead pastor at Crossroads Christian Fellowship

Heavenly father, I come to you this morning, one of your names is Abba—father—so, Dad this morning I ask you to come and I ask you to bless these incredible men and women who represent us so well. In 2017 I ask you to come let your favor, let your anointing, let your presence, be upon every single one. That in 2017 we wouldn’t just hear one another we would see one another. So I ask for your blessing, ask for your protection, ask for your guidance, ask to give them wisdom beyond their wildest of imagination; that 2017 would be a jubilee year for all of us. I ask you to bless them, I ask you to protect them, I ask you to look after and care for their families and they sacrifice so much for us. But we thank you for the privilege as we launch into 2017. Would you guide us, would you lead us, would you empower us to be everything you called us to be. Help us represent one another well.  In your precious, precious name, amen.

 

 

Prayer given in the Utah House of Representatives, 2017, by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Our Father in Heaven, Father of us all, we come before thee at the beginning of this important session of the House of Representatives for the state of Utah.  We thank thee, Heavenly Father, for the freedom of this land and for the inspired constitutions that have been established throughout its various states.  We thank thee for the privilege of self-government that is working so effectively in this chamber and in our national government.  We thank thee for those who have made themselves available for public service. We pray for their families and for their occupations which they have left to perform this service.  Wilt thou look over them and bless them in all of their needs.  We pray for the officers who serve in this House of Representatives and for the staff that serve them and ask thou to bless them in all of their activities.  We pray that they will enjoy safety and good health as they perform their duties.  We pray that thou will bless this House, the members, and the performance of all of their duties that they may always embrace statesmanship over partisanship, and civility over contention, that they may have wisdom, even the wisdom of thy blessing in all of the performance of their duties as they serve the people under this divinely inspired system of government.  We give thee thanks for the blessings of peace, prosperity, and the blessings of this land and pray that thou will bless us as we continue to seek to serve thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

 

 

Prayer given by President Abraham Lincoln –Second Inaugural address, March 4, 1865

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continues… until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid another drawn with the sword… so still it must be said that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

 

 

Prayer given by President George Washington, –An undated prayer from Washington’s prayer journal, Mount Vernon

 O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul….

Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.

 

 

Prayer given by President Thomas Jefferson, Washington, DC, 1801

Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Prayer given by President Jimmy Carter–Prayers from his inaugural address, January 20, 1977, and his Thanksgiving speech to the nation, November 27, 1980

I would like to have my frequent prayer answered that God let my life be meaningful in the enhancement of His kingdom and that my life might be meaningful in the enhancement of the lives of my fellow human beings.

I call upon all the people of our Nation to give thanks on that day for the blessings Almighty God has bestowed upon us, and to join the fervent prayer of George Washington who as President asked God to “impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves to the whole family of mankind.”

 

 

Prayer given by President George H. W. Bush–Inaugural address, January 20, 1989

My first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads.

Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: “Use power to help people.”  For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord.

The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways… that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

 

 

Prayer given by President Bill Clinton–Second Inaugural address, January 20, 1997

May Those generations whose faces we cannot yet see, whose names we may never know, say of us here that we led our beloved land into a new century with the American Dream alive for all her children; with the American promise of a more perfect union a reality for all her people; with America’s bright flame of freedom spreading throughout all the world. From the height of this place and the summit of this century, let us go forth. May God strengthen our hands for the good work ahead–and always, always, bless our America.

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 23 — Valentines Day, 1870 Style

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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.  

In 1870 Utah granted women the right to vote, the second state to do so after Wyoming.  Utahs election was held prior to the election in Wyoming 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.

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                                                         *Seraph Young

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. 

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                                                   *Martha Hughes Cannon

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 suffragette movement.  Utah History To Go also includes a thorough account of the ways Utah women contributed to the suffragette movement.

Additionally, this 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.  #iheartutah

 

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‘Twas the End of Week Three and All Through the House

Congressman Stewart Addresses House

On Thursday, February 9, Congressman Chris Stewart gave his annual report to the Utah Legislature. During his visit, he addressed Congress’ priorities, which include reforming the tax code and repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Stewart expressed that we as Americans have the responsibility to speak the truth, listen respectfully to others and protect Americans and America’s interests around the world. Click here to watch his remarks (begins at 15:34 mins).

Congressman Chaffetz Visits the Utah House

During the Majority Caucus meeting on Thursday, February 9, Congressman Jason Chaffetz gave an update on what he is working on in Washington, as well as his recent meeting with the president. During that meeting, Chaffetz asked the president to repeal the Bears Ears National Monument designation. He mentioned to the caucus that he would like to do away with the Antiquities Act in its entirety.

Rep. Chaffetz talked about the new Congress’ aggressive reform agenda, including repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, reforming the burdensome U.S. tax code and rebuilding the military infrastructure. He expressed his desire to do away with the U.S. Department of Education, saying that states and the many layers of interested parties, from parents to teachers and principals to school boards, pretty much have it covered.

Notable bills:

Bears Ears

H.C.R. 11Concurrent Resolution Urging the President to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation, passed the House and Senate and was signed by Governor Gary Herbert on the evening of Friday, Feb. 3. It is now headed to Utah’s Washington delegation. This concurrent resolution urges the new administration to remove the 1.35 million acre monument designation made by the previous president shortly before leaving office.

Nearly 70 percent of Utah is under federal management and control, and 90 percent of Utah’s population lives on just 1 percent of its land. The Antiquities Act, created by Teddy Roosevelt, was never intended to be used to lock up large swathes of land; it was meant to set aside only the smallest area necessary to protect significant archaeological or historical sites. This monument declaration claims to protect such “antiquities” as star-filled nights, coyotes and pine trees. While these are a part of Utah’s wild areas, they are certainly not what has ever been contemplated as worthy of protection under the Antiquities Act.

 

Non-Compete 

Rep. Brian Greene’s bill, H.B. 81 Post-employment Restrictive Covenant Amendments, was presented in the House Business and Labor Committee on Monday, February 6, 2017. It passed the committee with a vote of 6-5-3.

This bill amends provisions related to post-employment restrictive covenants. It also addresses consideration and termination of employment as they relate to post-employment restrictive covenants, modifies remedy provisions, restricts the time for bringing an action to enforce post-employment restrictive and makes technical changes.

Post-employment restrictive covenant may not be enforced if the contract was executed at the time the employee was employed unless he received new consideration, such as a raise or promotion or if an employee is terminated without cause within one year of date of execution of the contract.

Continuation of employment will not be considered consideration.

If the employer seeks to enforce a post-employment restrictive covenant through legal action and it is found unenforceable, the employer is liable for three times the amount of actual damages, in addition to attorney fees and court costs.

Evidence – Based Policy Making

According to a recently released study by Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation, Utah is one of five states leading in the application of evidence-based policy making, ranked second in the nation.

State leaders have tended to focus efforts and financial resources on ensuring that policy prescriptions and programs are solving problems not only efficiently, but effectively. As Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes often says, “We let good information drive good decisions.” We can’t afford to do things any other way.

Our state, with its young population, large families and access to significantly less than half the land within our borders, faces many unique challenges. While these challenges impact our ability to fund services to the same level as many other states, they have also led to public policy that tends to prioritize solutions that work well for the right cost. In Utah, we really do more with less.

Digital Assets

Historically, our personal property has all been tangible and easily identifiable, but recent technological advances have changed that. Unlike in the past, much of what we own today is intangible, digital property and the law is trying desperately to catch up with this new reality. One of the central questions around which new policy has yet to be clearly established is the question of how to appropriately handle virtual property after the death or incapacitation of a loved one.

A proposal before the Utah Legislature this year, HB 13, would allow residents to pass down social media and email accounts after death. With this bill, individuals can select an individual to handle those accounts and specify the level of access.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Lowry Snow, says he has had nothing but positive feedback about the legislation, including from both Google and Facebook.

 

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I’m Just a Bill, Here on Capitol Hill

bill-on-capital-hillI have ten bills that are currently working their way through the process.  Five additional bills are still being drafted, so I’ll hopefully have language on those bills this coming week that I can share. Additionally, I’m the House sponsor on four Senate bills.

HB 34,  Employment Security Act Sunset Extension, passed through the House and Senate. Sent to the Governor for signing.

This bill extends the sunset on a pilot program where the Department of Workforce Services shares information with the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor in order to determine if employers are correctly classifying their employees.

1st Sub, HB 36, Affordable Housing Amendments, passed from the House, and 2nd Reading in the Senate.  It will sit on the Senate 3rd Reading until the bill is funded in the last few days of the session.

The goal of this bill is to increase the availability of affordable housing units.  It accomplishes this in two ways:

  1.  Increasing state low income housing tax credits.
  2.  Establishing a Economic Revitalization and Investment Fund, that can provide funding to developers, builders and investors who want to get into the affordable housing market. The funds must be repaid to the state after 30 years, or when the property is sold or refinanced.

The fiscal note on this bill is $6M.  We are in the process of trying to secure the funding.  More on this legislation in this previous post, Day 2 — House 2 Home.

HB 69, Capital Facilities Revisions, passed out of the House and Senate.  Sent to the Governor for his signature.

This bill removes from statute the requirement that the Department of Heritage and Arts execute capital facilities grants.

HB 129, Adult Protective Services Amendments, passed out of House committee and is on the Third Reading Calendar in the House.

This bill authorizes Adult Protective Services authority to provide emergency protective services to a vulnerable adult in an emergency.

HB 182, Labeling Requirements for Types of Retail Goods, passed out of the House, Senate committee, and is on Senate Consent Calendar.

This bill amends labeling regulations in stores selling second hand items by providing alternative methods for labeling goods and disclosing to consumers that goods sold in the store are used.

HB 211, State Work of Art, passed out of the House Committee and is on the House Third Reading Calendar.

This bill designates the Spiral Jetty as the State Work of Art.

HB 246, System of Care Amendments, passed out of House committee and is on the House 3rd Reading Calendar.

This bill supports a whole-person, family-centered approach to services within the Department of Human Services, called Systems of Care, which is proven to achieve more sustainable, positive outcomes that break cycles of government involvement.

Historically, public human services have been crisis oriented, positioned to respond to needs only after escalating to tragic consequences that often involve separating family members from one another, taking youth into state custody, isolated treatment experiences that disrupt home and community engagement with repeated cycles of government involvement, and often leading people to becoming involved in adult corrections, experiencing intergenerational poverty, homelessness, or premature death.

Science, research, evidence from innovative practices, and the voices of the very individuals seeking help have all encouraged state systems to evaluate how to focus on earlier opportunities to support people through coordinating services.

In addition, System of Care helps reduce redundant business operations, share information more efficiently, leverage our purchase power to maximize taxpayer investment in contracted services and simplify the experience of our multi-diciplinary partners working beside us to help others.

HCR 17, Autism After 21, this bill will be heard in committee on Monday

This bill calls attention to the many adults on the autism spectrum for whom federally mandated services have ended, recognizes the limited opportunities for employment and education for many adults on the autism spectrum, and the need for residential services and an opportunity for individual self-determination.

HJR 8, Retention of Public Educators, passed out of House committee and is on the House Third Reading Calendar

This bill recognizes the shortage of credentialed public educators in the state, and lays out a plan whereby a portion of new revenue generated from the management of public lands that have been transferred to the state of Utah be deposited into a new fund for the purpose of increasing public educator salaries.

HB 345, Telehealth Pilot Project, awaiting committee assignment

This bill sets into place a pilot to provide telemedicine to remote areas of the state.

 

Additionally, I have bills on the following subjects that are still being drafted and are not numbered yet.  Stay tuned for more information and details on:

Voter Records Amendments, draft has been accepted and the bill is awaiting numbering

Targeted Business Tax Credit Revisions – in drafting

Second-hand Store Amendments – in drafting

School Testing Funds Amendments – in drafting

Tax Incentive Amendments — in drafting

 

Additionally, I am the House sponsor on a few Senate bills:

SB 29, Utah Marriage Commission Amendments, Sen. Christensen

SB 100, Early Childhood Services Coordination Amendments, Sen. Millner

SB  149, Financial Education and Savings Plan to benefit At-Risk Children, Sen. Fillmore

SB 210, Equal Pay Amendments, Sen. Anderegg

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Day 19 — Stronger Together

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There was a lot of focus this week on the issue of affordable housing, and my bill HB 36. 

ABC4 covered the rally on Thursday and brought attention to efforts being made by Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, other municipalities throughout the state, as well as the legislature. It will take all of us working together to make significant progress on increasing the availability of affordable housing in the state.  The Affordable Housing Task Force, convened by Utah’s Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, was the impetus for the statewide assessment, plan, and recommendations that formed the framework for HB 36 this session.  I appreciate the many people involved in the Task Force and the conversations that have taken place over the past several years.  We are stronger together, and can accomplish more, as we combine our efforts.

ABC4 Story, How do we Solve Utah’s Unaffordable Housing Problem?

SL Trib, Affordable Housing Advocates Rally at the Capitol

HB 36

SLC Housing Plan

Statewide Affordable Housing Assessment and Plan

 

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Day 18 — Dave Was One of Us

Homelessness-Washington-D-010-1This tender and tragic story puts a face on the issues of homelessness and affordable housing.  Dave was one of us, a parishioner of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Centerville, and homeless to his last day on New Years Eve, 2015.   

The Rev. Lyn Zill Briggs

Vicar, Episcopal Church of the Resurrection

23 February 2016

There are numerous bills and appropriations decisions facing the legislature concerning our homeless population. I pray that the legislature will never forget that the people who are presently homeless have names and faces. We at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection will never forget Dave.

Dave was one of us. He wandered into the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Centerville one day, introducing himself and his cause: bringing the lottery to Utah. He wore a leather jacket embroidered with “UTAH LOTTO” on the back. He drove a car, when it was operable, on which he had painted the American flag. He had printed up flyers about his candidacy for the governorship of Utah and fully expected to be elected.

Dave was one of us. He came to church most Sunday mornings, an hour or two early to make himself some coffee. To charge his cell phone. To get warm. He sat as best he could through the liturgy and the sermon and came forward to take holy communion. Whenever he received the bread from me, he said “Thank you.” He came to our monthly community dinners, and our fellowship time following Sunday morning service.

Sometimes he slept in his car in the church parking lot. During the cold of winter. Sometimes he slept in our memorial garden in back of the church. Sometimes he found a lawn chair to sleep in on the front porch of the church.

He considered himself the church’s unofficial groundskeeper. When he had the energy he cleared the yard of debris that had blown in on the east wind. He shoveled the walks when they needed it.

Dave was homeless. And mentally ill. And he was one of us.

Many people tried to help Dave. But the government services for mentally ill didn’t quite fit Dave, and he didn’t stick with any recommendations or appointments intended to help him. Members of the congregation brought him food when he was hungry. I visited him many times when he was hospitalized. We answered the many phone calls he made, just to keep connected to someone who would listen. We gave him clothing that he needed, and often bailed his car out of impound. As winter approached last year, when his car was out of commission, we drove him to a homeless shelter in Ogden (since there is no shelter in Davis County) so he would be warm and fed. If he’d stayed for several nights, they would provide him with a caseworker who would connect him to services he might need and could certainly use. But he could not bring himself to stay more than one night.

Dave was homeless and often invisible here in Davis County. He was annoying and exasperating, but he was one of us. He didn’t live or belong anywhere, but was at home at the Church of the Resurrection.

At the end of last year, Dave got sick. His phone calls to me increased up to 11 per day. I could tell he was increasingly out of touch with reality. On December 30, he wandered into the pizza place next to the church, so sick he could not hold his head off the table at which he sat. The concerned staff there offered to call him an ambulance to get him some immediate medical care, but he refused.

He left that establishment when the temperature was in the teens. The next morning, two members of the church found his body in the snow in front of the church.

It was a very sad end to a very sad life. And we are sorry he is gone.

No next of kin has been found, eight weeks later. Dave is still not laid to rest. The Church of the Resurrection held a memorial service for him two weeks after his death. There were no next of kin in attendance, but his family was together. We sang and prayed and commended his soul to the arms of our loving God who created him. At this service, we also prayed for “all who are lost in this world; without shelter, without reliable income, who are unsure of when next they will eat; for those who struggle with mental illness. Grant that we may serve them with humility and welcome them into our community of faith with compassion.”

We have been in touch with the medical examiner and hope to receive his ashes when we are legally allowed to do that. and will bury his ashes here at the church. You see, Dave was a homeless child of God. He found family at the Church of the Resurrection and we are planning to bring him home here to rest.

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