Thursday, January 20, 2011

Potporri: Presession Update

I visited the Capitol yesterday for several meetings.  Here are some tidbits that you might find interesting:

1.  No Patrick Henry "Litmus Test" - The Patrick Henry Caucus, which I am a member of, voted to change it's bylaws which required its members to vote 90% of the time with the caucus position.  Obviously, this provision seemed heavy handed to many legislators and therefore it has been removed.

2.  Rep. Frank Fried - The Republican caucus voted in a majority to redraw Rep. Frank's boundaries when session commences last week.  The only problem is that law requires a supermajority of 50 votes to get it done.  Based on the vote count in the meeting, this seems very unlikely.  It was apparent in the meeting that the personal politics involved here hindering an affirmative vote.  It appears Rep. Frank's last recourse is the courts. 

3.  Expect Cuts - Our appropriations subcommittee received recommendations from the Office of Legislative Research on where to cut programs that we oversee by 10%.  The staff said that the departments heads offered no suggestions as to where to make cuts so they arbitrarily chose places they thought were best.  I am sure this will make our discussions with the various department heads quite lively. 

4. Immigration Debate - The immigration debate is about ready to get it's kickoff with a broad variety of opinions and sentiments.  Look for interesting news on this issue.

There will be more coming soon....


  1. Jeremy,

    Give us some idea of what the Patrick Henry Caucus is, please. This kind of thing sounds heavy and demanding, and I'd hope you were more loyal to us, your constituents, than some caucus (or party for that matter).

  2. The Patrick Henry Caucus is a "State's Rights" caucus that has the narrow scope of looking at, promoting, and endorsing legislation that deals with maintaining the state's enumerated rights as listed in our U.S. Constitution. It promotes an agenda that fights the heavy handed over reach of our federal government into powers previously delegated to the states.

    A big issue right now is the Fed's designation of BLM land (i.e. a huge chunk of land in Utah) as "wilderness" space which prevents it from ever being developed or used for commercial purposes. This action would be fine if the Fed's had not already agreed to fix the amount of wilderness space in a previous agreement we reached with them years ago.

    The reason this issue is big is that 75% of land in Utah is public land which means that it constrains our ability to develop resources, grow economically, and fund government programs at a level that the voting public would like (i.e. education.)


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