The Pacifica Institute hosted the legislature for a lunch featuring Turkish food and entertainment. Some of the cutest children you’ve ever seen danced the whirling dervish for us. Video is embedded below. We also learned about the importance of the US/Turkey military alliance, religious, cultural, and economic outreach of Turkey within the Anatolian region as well as within the US. It was a great and informative meeting, and the baklava was to die for.
Today brought the passage of my HB 157, Children’s Hearing Aid Pilot Program, out of committee with a unanimous recommendation. It now moves to the House floor for a vote.
From Natural Resources Committee this morning:
1. HJR 15, Joint Resolution on State and Political Subdivisions Jurisdiction, Rep. Roberts. This resolution asserts state and local sovereignty and encourages them to assert those rights to respond to and take action when conditions on federally managed land if the state may adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of the people of the state. This resolution passed out of committee with my support.
2. HB 164, State and Political Subdivision Jurisdictional Amendments, Rep. Roberts. This bill describes actions that may be taken by a city, county, or state to respond to action or action not taken by the BLM or Forest Service on federally managed land in the state. Primarily the provisions in this bill include language that subdivisions may act, may provide notice, may adversely affect the health, safety and welfare of citizens etc. I did not support this bill as I felt it was a) too vague with the use of the word may, and b) needs clarification on properties addressed as current language includes National Parks, Camp Williams and others. Other concerns are with the requirement for the state to indemnify an individual against an action by the federal government if the individual was acting in good faith to exercise authority authorized in the bill.
3. HB 365, Swine Amendments, Rep. Mathis. This bill regulates the release and harvest of swine within the state. Discussion on the health impact associated with feral pigs such as Pseudorabies which can kill cattle, dogs, and cats. These are pigs that are raised in pens and released an hour prior to the hunt. The State Veterinarian raised concerns with the bill, including disease control and procedure of raising and harvesting of the swine. A motion was made to hold the bill in committee to allow the bil sponsor to address concerns. I supported that motion, which passed, and we will hear this bill at our next committee meeting.
4. HB 357, Waste Management Facilities Siting Amendments, Rep. Menlove. This bill requires a siting notice for a new solid or hazardous waste facility include a traffic impact study that takes into consideration the roads serving the facility, also all land acquisition and leasing, construction, and estimated annual operation. These considerations are not currently part of the conditional permit received for siting. I supported this bill.
5. SB 61, Hunting Permit Amendments, Sen. Christensen. This bill establishes a process whereby an individual can gift a hunt draw to a youth they are related to or a child with a terminal illness. The adult must accompany the child at the hunt. This is a great bill that supports individuals who want to include family members in a hunt. I supported this bill.
6. HB 382, Escalante Region Grazing Zone, Rep. Noel. This bill establishes a Utah resource management plan for the management of federal lands, specific to the grazing on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This bill will prevent the shutting down of allotments for grazing, water development right transfers, on those lands. I supported this bill and it passed unanimously.
Economic Development Committee from this afternoon.
SB 11, Substitute Joint Resolution on Environmental and Developmental Policies, Sen. Weiler. This resolution addresses concerns with the UN backed Agenda 21 that is impacting policies being adopted regarding city, county, and state planning. The focus of the resolution is to warn entities in Utah about the UN Agenda 21 that has infiltrated some of the innocuous sounding things like sustainability, transportation and mobility management. In the end I voted against this resolution, primarily because I’m not sure it falls within the role of the legislature to spend our time throwing up red flag warnings for municipalities and counties on a variety of issues. Also, I’m concerned about the impact on cities that may adopt policies that could appear to be a part of Agenda 21 and how that impedes their ability to enter into contracts etc. as per language in the bill. As the bill sponsor put it, he substituted the bill to make it less “tin-foil hatty.” Enough said.
We also heard two other bills. SCR 9, Concurrent Resolution Designating a Week to Recognize Workplace Safety, Sen. Mayne, designated a week in June, 2013, as worker safety week.
The other, HB 380, Economic Development Revisions, Rep. Lowry Snow, raised the % of post performance tax credits given to companies bringing in over $1,000,000,000 in capital expenditures. This is a tool that is necessary to compete in the process that attracts and brings businesses to Utah.
Additional resources you may want to check out for different legislative perspectives and analysis:
1. Utah League of Women Voters
2. Ron Mortenson, retired US Foreign Service Officer and long time District 20 (now District 19) resident and citizen lobbyist writes for www.examiner.com. Ron provides analysis to the hot political topics of the day.