Monday, May 9, 2016

Candidate Surveys: NRA and Utah Sierra Club




One of the exciting and often tedious parts of being a candidate for office is the request to fill out dozen's of candidate questionnaires.  I find this often to be a great opportunity to quantify my views and demonstrate my political philosophy.

So, here are two surveys I received and my responses.  One is from the NRA and the other is from the Sierra Club:





I hope you enjoyed reading these.  If you have any other questions or concerns about my views on the issues, don't hesitate to CONTACT ME.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Letter to the Editor: No Gochnour Bullies, Just GOP Food Fight




The Standard Examiner came out recently with a rather prickly editorial piece blasting my colleague, Representative Justin Fawson (R-North Ogden), for 'bullying' Caitlin Gochnour by asking her to withdraw from the race for Weber County Commissioner.  The tone of the editorial was toxic and I believe warranted a response.

Here is my letter as recently published:

The Standard-Examiner’s April 24 editorial, "By refusing to be bullied, Gochnour gives Weber County voters a choice," cites so-called 'bullying' of Gochnour, a candidate for Weber County Commission. Such a claim is both misinformed and wrongheaded.

The piece references Rep. Justin Fawson's Facebook statement that he wishes Gochnour would exit the race out of respect for the traditional GOP candidate-winnowing process. The editorial turns this statement from a molehill into a mountain. It then claims that Fawson is attempting to conjure political powers that were once his but now no longer exist. This simply isn't the case.

Ironically, the editorial finds itself guilty of using the same power that Fawson is maligned for attempting to use — the power of suggestion.

The election cycle this year is experimenting with new processes and a lot of passionate debate is being had about what it now means to be a political party. With the highly informative caucus-convention process, which builds relationships between voters and candidates, being turned on its ear, the Utah GOP finds itself in the midst of an identity crises. Voters who participate in this process are exasperated by the prospect of the caucus-convention system being discarded into the dustbin of history.

Fawson's suggestion and Gochnour's candidacy make sense in light of his boiling backdrop. Indeed, if Gochnour has suffered anything, it is an inadvertent case of bad timing. Years of non-partisan Ogden City Council service have necessarily left her outside of the long-fomenting SB54 rancor until just last month. She has entered the race according to the known rules as they have been established (as flawed as they may currently be). But, in doing so, she has unwittingly bumbled into a GOP food fight.

Ultimately, the mess will be cleaned up, differences negotiated, and the party will be unified again and move forward with clarity. But in the meantime, expect a contentious campaign season. It is best we put on our ponchos — the ketchup and mustard are flying.

Rep. Jeremy Peterson

Ogden

Sunday, April 17, 2016

UNDERMINING: CMV Cracks the Edifice of Utah's Caucus-Convention System


After this year's experience at the Weber County Republican Convention, I had some time to reflect on what happened and what it means for the future of politics in Northern Utah and the State at large.

Three Republican candidates submitted their names to run for the County Commission seat up for grabs this election cycle.  Brad Dee, Caitlin Gouchner, and Jim Harvey threw their hats into the ring.  In a typical year, the three names would be winnowed down to one by delegates elected to attend the County Republican Convention.  That process looks something like this:


However, this year is the first year that elections are being held under the new rules implemented by the infamous SB54 (which I voted for) passed in 2014.  The bill was a panicked response by the Legislature to a ballot initiative sponsored by former Gov. Leavitt and ilk (known as County My Vote or CMV) that threatened to abolish the caucus-convention process entirely an favor of an expensive-to-access Primary Election process.  The Legislature recognized the grassroots value of the Caucus-Convention system and, in an effort to preserve it, compromised with Mr. Leavitt.  The compromise also entailed permitting candidates to get on a party's primary election ballot via signature gathering in lieu of passing through the Caucus-Convention system.  Strangely, the law permits candidates to pursue both options if they choose to.

The problems with the new law quickly became apparent at yesterday's convention.  As is the case with may races around the state this year, the three candidates for Weber County Commissioner also pursued the signature route and collected enough signatures to place them on the primary ballot for the party.  Such a tactic acted as an insurance policy for each candidate against being eliminated at the Convention.

At this point you might be saying, what is the point of a Convention then?  If so, you aren't alone.  Many of the delegates expressed this exact frustration as they realized that the vote they cast didn't make a difference in who would appear in a Primary.  Indeed, if the Convention had had its way, there woudn't be any primary election at all this year and Jim Harvey would go straight to the General Election. The other candidates would have gone home to eat a bowl of chocolate ice cream and watch reruns of Seinfeld. But, that isn't the case this year.

Now, each candidate is bloodied, bruised, and poised to launch a new round of campaigning to the general population.  Each candidate's strengths and weaknesses were exposed at the Convention.  I anticipate they will be exploited vividly.

The traditional convention-caucus system is the best means of placing the electorate close to their elected officials.  It is a sloppy process, just like any democratic system, but it provides the best means of tying the people to their political leaders.  It must be preserved.  The Count My Vote dream of a primary-election-only process threatens to turn Utah politics over to an affluent and insulated aristocracy.  With the signature gathering process already showing its ability to seriously undermine the potency of Convention decision making, the Party Convention results are swiftly falling to the lowly status of glorified straw poll.  May Utahns be vigilant and the Legislature valiant in its efforts to preserve our Caucus-Convention system.            

Sunday, March 13, 2016

General Session 2016: Weeks 6 and 7



The session has come to its ultimate conclusion.  He is a post-mortem of things that happened during the final two weeks.

THE VOTES


As always, the volume and magnitude of bills we heard increased tremendously at toward the end of the Session.  Some bills were released late in cycle and had significant policy implications.  This put tremendous pressure on the House and required that we be nimble.  Quick judgement was necessary in many cases.

HJR 18 - Congressional Term Limits



This bill called for a constitutional convention of states to amend the constitution in order to limit terms in office of our U.S. Congressmen and Senators.  This resolution passed with Speaker Hughes breaking the tie.  I supported this bill.  

SB115 - Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan Act

This bill came to us originally with provisions affecting consumers who had installed solar panels on their homes and their net metering agreements with Rocky Mountain Power (RMP).  That caused an uproar and the solar net metering provisions were removed from the bill.  To understand the purpose ofthis bill, we have to understand that RMP is a state regulated utility monopoly.  They were granted monopoly status almost a century ago to help foster the proliferation of cheap electricity to consumers.  However, in exchange for that monopoly, investors in RMP are guaranteed effectively a 10% return on their investment, no more and no less.  The cost of providing electricity plus this 10% margin are charged to consumers.  In exchange for this guarantee, RMP prices are regulated by government.

However, recently, laws have been passed requiring RMP to produce 30% of its electricity via renewable sources.  These sources are unpredictable in their output and when capacity is low due to cloud cover or unwindy days, RMP must purchase electricity elsewhere in the open energy market which is more expensive.  But, due to pre-existing  laws, RMP has not been allowed to pass through this purchased electrical costs to consumers.  The difference was eating into the 10% guarantee promised to RMP shareholders.

This issue touches on the technological revolution that is unfolding in our energy markets.  Solar costs are declining and moving toward mass adoption by consumers.  Battery technology is also advancing quickly which makes renewable sources of electricity much more viable for the mass market.  As this occurs, the old business model of the monopoly utility company is under assault. These technologies continue to mature and be adopted, and the laws governing our power network will need to adjust. Yet, we are not yet to the point of needing to throw away the old utility company in lieu of mass decentralized consumer electricity independence. RMP still provides, and will continue to provide, a crucial service to Utah electricity consumers.  For the time being, we need to honor our agreement to the investors that provided the capital to make this inexpensive source of power possible.  I voted yes on this bill which will expire in three years.



SB246 - Funding for Infrastructure Revisions

This bill came to the House the last week of the Session which made for some difficult decision making.  The bill would effectively use $53 million of taxpayer dollars to fund construction of a port in California to export Utah commodities.  The biggest commodity would likely be Utah coal but others would be included.  This bill was highly controversial.  Environmentalists swarmed the Capitol to resist the bill citing their distaste for coal in general.

Many factors weighed on this vote.  Risk of litigation in California, free-market arguments, legal technicalities, and others were a concern.  Yet, the upside meant a conduit for rural Utah to export its commodities.  This project would be an economic lifeline to areas of the State that have been hammered by unfair Federal regulations.

In the end, I voted for this bill.  The deciding factor for me was that Utah would have rights of use and ownership in the port once it is constructed.  In a worst case scenario, the rights and real estate could be liquidated and Utah's investment recouped.  In a best case scenario, Utah's commodities will be made available to larger world markets.  Since commodities fund a significant portion of our school budget, this seems like a potential win-win for both our education system and rural Utah communities.

HB251 - Post Employment Restrictions Amendments

This bill was the 'non-compete' initiative that aimed to eliminate non-competition restrictions by employers on their employees.  I supported this bill as a free-market inspired policy and voted for it on the House Floor.  However, the Senate got a hold of it and turned it into a wet and soggy piece of toast.  The end product was not much different than current law.  Look for this issue to come back next year.



SB234 - Protecting Unborn Children Amendments

Our Law Enforcement Committee heard this bill which was accompanied by passionate and horrifying testimony.  The bill would require doctors providing abortions to inform the mothers of the potential of their baby to experience pain during the abortion procedure.  Abortion advocates showed up in force to deride the Legislature for asserting itself on this issue.  They also didn't waste time trashing Senator Curt Bramble for bring this bill forward.


An attention starved Kate Kelly, the former LDS activist now turned indignant anti-LDS curmudgeon, stood conspicuously in the back of the room waiting to pounce on the microphone and speak in behalf of Planned Parenthood.  She blasted Senator Bramble for being disrespectful to women and abusing the legislative process by having his bill sent to our committee instead of Health and Human Services.  We informed her that the good Senator had no influence on that process in the House and that the bill was sent to our committee due to the other committee's packed schedule.

We heard other testimony callously discussing the destruction of their offspring that was sobering and terrifying. The desire of people to have the unmitigated right to extinguish the gift of life which they have been graciously endowed to bestow upon others is impossible for me to countenance.  I was saddened by the meeting and voted for the bill.  It feels as if our society is becoming like the beasts of the wild which devour their young.  

SB189 - Death Penalty Amendments

This bill also came to our Law Enforcement Committee.  Its premise was to eliminate Utah's death penalty.  I voted against this bill.



However, we did hear from Randy Gardner, the brother of a convicted murderer who was executed.  After our committee, he showed up in the House Gallery on the final night and yelled at us while displaying autopsy photos of his brother after his execution.  He was swiftly escorted out of the gallery by security.

SJR2 - Resolution Calling for the Repeal of the 17th Amendment 


Part of the imbalance between State authority and Federal overreach stems from the fact that our U.S. Senators are not accountable to State Legislatures like they were prior to the 17th amendment.  I voted for this resolution.

HB333 - Electronic Cigarette Products, Nicotine Inhalers, and Related Revenue Amendments



Rep. Paul Ray brought a ton of kids to our committee encouraging us to treat vaping products the same as cigarettes and other tobacco products in regards to tax policy.  I voted for the bill but the majority of the committee did not agree with my sympathies and the bill failed.

MY BILLS

HB104 - Property Tax Amendments - Passed both Chambers and waiting for Signature of the Governor

HB162 - Motion Picture Tax Credit Amendments -  Passed both Chambers and waiting for Signature of the Governor

HB170 - Medical Care Savings Account Tax Credit Repeal - Passed both Chambers and waiting for Signature of the Governor

HB310 - Tax Credit Review Amendments - Passed both Chambers and waiting for Signature of the Governor

HB327 - Energy Tax Credit Amendments - Heard in Revenue and Taxation Committee and returned to Rules for interim study.  This bill would have phased out tax credits for solar panels.  Here is the committee hearing where I presented the issue:




HB413 - Falconry Amendments - Heard in Natural Resources Committee and returned to Rules.
This bill would have restricted cities and counties from regulating the sport of falconry.  The bill was ready to soar but its wings were clipped by the committee. 

HB441 - Child Reunification Amendments - Passed House and failed to pass Senate prior to the end of the Session.  This bill would require parents of children in state custody to undergo a felony arrest warrant check prior to having their case for reunification heard by the court.  Here is the committee presentation which explains the origins of the bill and its merits.  


This bill experienced some drama in the final days of the Session. It originally did not have a Fiscal Note, meaning that it would not cost any money to implement.  After the committee made some alterations to the bill, a Fiscal Note was attached to the bill to the tune of $71,000.  Unfortunately, Representatives were instructed to prioritize their list of bills they wanted to fund with our limited resources.  HB441 did not appear on the list because it originally did not have a Fiscal Note.  It didn't help that the Fiscal Note was released several hours after the deadline to turn in priorities.  Fortunately, the Attorney General's office helped me find a way to reduce the note to $6,200 and I was able to convince our House Leadership to write an amendment in at the last minute to fund this small amount.  The bill passed the House Floor unanimously and went to the Senate where it died on the board at midnight.  I will bring this bill forward again next year.  

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

Polygamy Rally



This was a very unusual rally.  With same sex marriage legalized, the genie is out of the bottle.  I expect polygamy to be legalized by the courts within the next five years or so.   

The Halls of Government


Here is a view from the basement looking up the stairwell to the 4th floor of the buildling.


 The Capitol complex is rife with subterranean corridors.  It is easy to get lost while trying to find the parking garage.    

Sunsets

The view from the Majority Caucus room was jaw dropping one evening.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Over all  this has been a great Session.  I was able to move some substantive, albeit wonky, policy forward while laying the groundwork for some great policy discussions in the future.  It has been an honor to serve the people of District 9 this year.  As of the writing of this blog update, I have filed to run for office again this election cycle.  I hope to have your support.  County records indicate I will be running against my once vanquished and now perennial opponent Neil Hansen.  Let's make it a great campaign.

If you have any legislative issues or concerns or want to donate to our campaign, please CONTACT ME.

Best Regards!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

General Session 2016: Week 5



The week started out in a lazy fog and ended in a tumultuous cloud of dust.  Here are some highlights.

The Solar Tax Credit Discussion

After meeting with stakeholders in the solar industry, we decided to discuss the issue over interim.  Here is the opening silo to that discussion that I presented in committee.




The Internet Sales Tax


Our Revenue and Taxation committee heard Mike McKell's bill proposing a sales tax reduction and enforcement of sales tax collection on internet transactions.  Before the tomato-throwing started, I took a moment to capture the crowd that packed our hearing.

This issue was hotly debated and ultimately passed our committee.  I supported the bill since I believe increasing the tax base and lowering the tax rate is sound and equitable policy.

Funding the Lake Powell Pipeline?




Our Rev&Tax committee also hear Senator Adams proposal to fund water infrastructure improvements.  His bill would put seed money into a fund to help finance future water projects.  This bill was derided by critics as merely a funding of the Lake Powell Pipeline.  But, in order to use any of the funds in the account for any project, it would require an act of the Legislature and a vote to do so.  So, while a future legislature may decide to use the funds for that purpose or any other, that was not our decision to make with this bill.  I voted to support the bill since the Federal government is no longer funding water infrastructure projects like they did back in the 1950's and 1960's.  We are on our own to maintain our existing water infrastructure; and if we need more, we are going to have to figure out how pay for it ourselves.  This bill was a step toward self sufficiency.  It passed our committee.

Liability for Gun Manufacturers

We heard a bill in our Law Enforcement Committee that would limit liability of gun manufactureres for crimes committed with those guns.  Our committee did some good work in parsing the language and making sure it didn't go too far in eliminating liability for defects in their manufacture.

One interesting thing about this bill was that it had a ton of editorial-like comments in the first half of the language.  I found this to be very unusual and so I contacted the sponsor the evening before the bill was heard.  He was committed to keeping this awkward language in the bill and so I proposed a substitute bill to be presented at committee.  We kept the meat of the bill intact but removed the editorial language.  The problem with the editorial language is that our law books are meant to be instructive.  This was an interesting issue and you can listen to motion to substitute and the ensuing debate here:

 

Protecting Children or Dividing Families?

Our Law Enforcement Committee also heard a bill that was highly contentious regarding the ability to remove children from potentially abusive situations.  Under current law, abuse has to be alleged in order to remove children from the custody of their guardians.  The bill proposed to change that to "the threat" of abuse.

The original presentation of this bill was also animated due to the fact that the bill sponsor brought an advocate who stood and debated with committee members.  Some of that debate got very pointed and contentious.  At that time we held the bill for refinement.  When the bill came back, however, it was presented in such a way that our committee continued to be unconvinced that the proper changes has been made.  Much of the committee's concerns were that the bill could overreach and cause children to be put into state custody who did not belong there.  It was a question of balance.

In the end, I voted for the bill but the bill still failed on a split tie vote.

Bad Ideas Clothed In Good Intentions

We also heard a resolution in our committee that spoke to the solidarity the Governor and Legislature have with our law enforcement community.  Unfortunately, the bill also asked law to turn on the lights on their vehicles at 11am the first day of every month for one minute in order to honor fallen officers.

When I inquired about this section, it became apparent that state law enforcement officials were caught flat footed and had not seen the bill prior to its presentation.  They didn't want to oppose the bill but recognized that the lights provision was unusual.  Our committee felt that it might prove a public safety hazard.

One of my fellow committee members attempted to amend the bill to say that the lights could only be turned on if it was a safe thing to do.  I wasn't convinced that the lights were the right thing to do since nobody in law enforcement had ever heard of the idea.  I moved to strike that section of the resolution which failed on a split vote.  The milder amendment passes.  The bill passed committee on a split vote.  I voted no. This bill may pose a particularly awkward one on the Floor to debate.  I am writing another amendment to propose on the House Floor to fix this bill.  

PHOTO OF THE WEEK


  I have to admit the message sounded interesting, if not a little odd.  I wasn't sure why retailers would be selling panties remotely.  I also started to feel bad for the Representative who got stuck running this bill.  Fortunately, I discovered later that the correct reading of the word was "parity".

Coming Soon....

Our floor time is increasing significantly and our speeches should be getting shorter...hopefully.  I have two bills that still need to be heard at committee this week.  More on those as events happen.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

General Session 2016: Week 4



...and so we entered the 4th week of the General Session.

Pension Reformishness


This week we heard Representative Cunningham's Retirement System reform proposals.  We packed an entire meeting agenda with 5 of his bills.  Yet, in a remarkable twist, the presentations went so long (90 minutes!) that we weren't able to take action on any of them. We adjourned and put one of the bills on the agenda for Wednesday so we could at least vote up or down on the subject.    


The bill we discussed at the later meeting proposed to change the time frame allowed for teachers and public safety employees to return to the job.  Currently, once they 'retire', they are allowed to come back to work in a year's time.  The bill would allow them to do so in 60 days.  Police and teachers are in scarce supply right now and agencies felt that this change would help alleviate some of the pain they are feeling.  I voted for the bill and it barely passed our committee on a 7-6 count.  

utah pension system

Unfortunately, the bill has the potential to add over $200 Million to the unfunded liability that exists in our URS.  Yet, the current unfunded liabilities are over $3.5 BILLION (!).  The reforms enacted in 2010 to the system have kept the ship from sinking...for now.  The system is listing and has been since the stock market collapse in 2009 put the system into distress.  We are told by the experts that if the stock market crashes again, Utah's system could sink entirely and taxpayers would be on the hook for the billions of dollars in retirement payments to state and local government employees.    




While my local law enforcement and city officials pushed for this bill to pass, I have warned them it may very well be a Pyrrhic victory.  In my view, we could be sounding the alarms to abandon ship within the next three years.

Upending SB54

Earlier in the session Rep. Fred Cox opened a bill file that made some very minor adjustments to election law. His bill also happened to open up the code section dealing with SB54.  One of the rules we have in the House is that any amendments or substitutions of a bill must be germane to the code section being affected.  Since SB54 and the petition process is the source of so much consternation among folks in the political parties (mainly GOP), it isn't to surprising to discover that a substitute appeared related to this subject.  In this case, Rep. Fawson proposed to repeal SB54 via his substitute.

There is a lot of backstory and ongoing litigation on this subject, but the vote basically came down to whether we thought the new system was a fair balance or whether we felt it was a giant mess.  I find myself in the latter camp.  The petition process in its current form actually violates the spirit of grassroots participation that inspired its creation.


I voted to support the substitute.  However, the vote to substitute failed 30-42.  Close, but not quite.

Income Tax Exemption For Veterans



We heard a bill in our Revenue and Taxation committee that proposed to exempt retired veterans  from income tax.  Currently, every dime of our income taxes pays for education which is cash strapped already.  The bill would cost the schools $17M in funding...or enough to pay over 280 teachers.  I pointed out to the bill sponsor (and all the retired veterans in the room) that he was asking us to choose between our veterans or our school kids.  That statement put the room in a mild uproar.  While our veterans certainly deserve to be rewarded for their courage and valor, in my view, this was the wrong tool to do it.  Our committee did not move the bill forward but recommended the bill be held with the possibility of further study over the summer months.

The Solar Circus



I released by bill this week to taper income tax credits available to the solar industry.  My premise for running the bill was that the industry is maturing to the point that taxpayer support may no longer be needed.  I reached out to Vivint and other industry stakeholders to begin discussions.  In our meeting we agreed the industry is blossoming that at some point in the future, yet undetermined, taxpayer subsidies will not longer be needed.  Ironically, in majority caucus the next day, we discovered that the industry is asking for MORE taxpayer subsidies in the form of sales tax exemptions to help spur their business.  So, clearly, there is a dissonance in how we each view the industry's current health.  I will be taking this issue to the interim for further study so we can get to the bottom line of when the industry will be ready to be weened from taxpayer subsidies.  

Tax Credit Review

My bill to create a systematic review of income tax credits flew through committee unanimously this week.  It will be presented on the House Floor in coming weeks.

COMING SOON...



Look for more unexpected twists and turns as the Legislature churns through the issues an an ever increasing rate.




Saturday, February 13, 2016

General Session 2016: Week 3



The 3rd week of the Session definitely clicked up a notch on the stress scale.  Here are some sparkling highlights from the week's events.

Torturous Tampon Tax Talk

The big front page headlines this week came as our Revenue and Taxation committee discussed a proposal to eliminate sales taxes on tampons.  Our committee voted the proposal down 8-3 on grounds that exempting more retail items from the tax base was bad tax policy in general.  I chaired the committee during this presentation and was a 'No' vote.  In retribution, my wife and four daughters now send me to the store to purchase these things.

I also received this delightful yet misinformed email from a member of the public:

I have a concern that your new "tampon tax" is going to create a lot of disturbance. Wether you like it or not, President Obama is fully against it, and I have to remind you that he is still sitting in the white house at this very second. so unless you want to disobey Mr Obama, who has literally given you FREE HEALTHCARE. Why do you think that it is necessary that women who are bleeding out of their vaginas would have to pay a tax for a piece of cotton to help them? Are you really that stuck behind in the 1800's mentality where white, straight, men ruled the planet?
-Ava
I respectfully reminded Ava that taxes and healthcare premiums have increased significantly to pay for Mr. Obama's so-called 'free' healthcare program.

Palace Intrigue

Meanwhile, I was reminded this week how beautiful our democratic process has been designed.

I was made aware of a situation where a controversial bill (Bill X) was being held up in a committee.  The bill sponsor (Rep. Bulldog) was pushing desperately to get the bill heard.  However, the Chairman of the committee (Rep. Valiant) was locked in unsuccessful negotiations with stakeholders on another bill he was sponsoring.  Unfortunately for Rep. Bulldog, his bill involved the same stakeholders as Rep. Valiant's.  Thus, it seemed appropriate to Rep. Valiant to use Bill X as leverage to entice stakeholders to negotiation on his bill.  Bill X was delayed and not put on the agenda as anticipated.

During this process Rep. Bulldog's friends on the committee became upset at the unnecessary delay.  Agitation grew and Rep Valiant's committee members threatened to take action on the House Floor to place the bill on the agenda of another committee.  Such a move would have proved damaging to Rep. Valiant's efforts at swaying stakeholders in his favor.  The situation threatened to blow up in a bitter conflagration on the House Floor.  Leadership got word of the planned coup and called a meeting to see if cooler heads could prevail. Ultimately, an understanding was reached.  Bill X was placed on a future agenda.



While this story is interesting, it more importantly demonstrates the pressure release valves that exist in our parliamentary processes to avoid giving any one person too much power.  The will of any one member of the body can be overcome with collective will of others.  Meanwhile, the will of any Representative is checked every two years by the will of their voters.  While Committee Chairs have more power and authority over the parliamentary process, it is not absolute power.  These checks provide the foundations of our consensus building process and prevents a drift toward a tyranny of the minority.

Marijuana Memes and Making Friends

The entire Legislature received an email this week with this meme being the sole part of the message:


Given that a majority of our Legislature is of the LDS faith, including me, I swiftly responded with this:


Mr. Peterson's Bills


The Majority Caucus gave me an opportunity to present on the issue of Tax Credits and how they affect our state budget.  I have a couple bills coming up related to this topic and how we can improve governance on the issue.  Since Powerpoint and Tax Policy are two of the most boring things ever, I spruced up the presentation with a game and candy.  Here is a .pdf of that presentation:



In what can only be called Perfect Timing, after making my presentation in Caucus, we went to the House Floor where my pending bills were immediately heard.   Here is video of the Floor presentations:



I do have a couple other bills that have been released this week.  I will be doing the leg work and blog posts on those early next week.  They should be heard late next week in committee.  One bill will phase out the tax credit for solar projects and another will create a tax credit review process as alluded to in the power point presentation above. 

Special Guests


Donald Trump Jr. came to Utah with his wife and 5 kids to check out the political landscape and introduce Utahns to the Trump family.  Our Caucus gave him an earful of policy concerns.  He came to act as a character reference for his father's campaign.  


My daughter Esther came to the Capitol and sat with me on the House Floor.  Like daughter like father.


Former State Senator Dan Liljenquist came to discuss Retirement System reform.  Representative Rich Cunningham made his proposal to adjust the way retirees use the system.  It was a lively and passionate 7am debate!

Swish, Rebound, Swish

Our appropriations committee received at the last minute a request for funds to help get started on the Ogden Archery Complex which is proposed to be built at the old landfill site in West Ogden.  Our committee was caught a little flat footed by the request but our Weber County delegation of the committee understood the importance of the project.  The committee prioritized the project as item 30 on a list of 40 items.  So, that wasn't exciting.  I decided to tempt fate and make a motion to move the item further up on the list.  The committee rebuked that attempt so much so that nobody else attempted to lift their items further up the priority list.  You can listen to my attempted move below:




Tweets of the Week





COMING SOON...

Look for more info on my bills.  Look for more drama.  And watch for more important bills to come to the House Floor for a vote.  If you have any legislative concerns, feel free to CONTACT ME.  However, given increasing constraints on time, my responses may become a little slower or a little shorter as we progress. Nevertheless, I appreciate your feedback.