This year I was privileged to invite a friend to give our opening prayer and have my daughters lead us in the pledge of allegiance.
Bob Hunter, executive director of the United Way for Northern Utah, graced us with an invocation.
My daughters Esther (5), and Sophie (6), were excited when we rehearsed at home but quickly became shy in front of such a large audience. They finally mustered the courage and led us in the Pledge.
My parents were also able to visit for this special occasion...
...and I was given the opportunity to introduce/embarrass them on the House Floor. You can watch the prayer, pledge and introduction video HERE.
I had several floor presentations this week:
HB-249 - Refugee Service Funds Amendments - This bill got a lot of questions at committee. Most of the questions were related to details of our refugee programs, even though this bill deals with some minor technical oversight changes. Anticipating more of these questions on the Floor, I prepared my presentation accordingly. WATCH FLOOR DEBATE ON THIS BILL.
HB-70 - Utah Railroad Museum Amendments - This bill fixes a problem with the imbalance in the makeup of the current board. However, whenever you want to clip the wings of somebody's majority position, it doesn't come without some resistance. You can watch that turf squabble on the Floor. Fortunately, we came up with a reasonable result with Ogden City and Union Station being included on the board. WATCH FLOOR DEBATE ON THIS BILL .
HB-93 - Traffic Violations Amendments - This bill received a lot of attention at committee and was the culmination of two years worth of effort. The Standard Examiner and Salt Lake Tribune both reported on the Floor debate. WATCH FLOOR DEBATE ON THIS BILL.
- We heard an E-Verify bill in our Business and Labor Committee. The sponsor agreed to run the bill for a former Representative who lost his election in November but had opened the bill file prior to his defeat. The bill was worded awkwardly and presented by the former Representative. Remarkably, it had no less than 12 people testify against it. Only one witness supported it and in sentiment only...not on the bill's merit. Needless to say, the bill withered and died in front of our committee.
- We heard a great bill HB-33 from Rep. Eric Hutchings from Kearns. The bill would allow drug offenders who have cleaned up their lives to expunge their records after passing certain benchmarks. It is a great piece of legislation which I spoke to during debate.
- I met with representatives of the UEA outside the Chamber doors to listen to some of their concerns and priorities this year. They are asking for a 3% raise in the WPU which I think is reasonable. However, when discussing solutions to our budget problems, it was suggested that we increase your income taxes. That idea is a non-starter for me. Instead, I suggested deregulation which would help us grow economically and generate more tax revenue. That idea was rebutted by how bad it would make our air quality. So, I compromised and agreed to advocate for a tax credit on $2 face masks. (NOTE: This is my attempt at humor. No hate mail please.)
Watch for these headline grabbing bills...
- HB-13 Protection of Children Riding in Motorvehicles - This bill will be heard on the Floor. I will be speaking against it. It is bad policy for a number of reasons. Watch the floor debate on this one Monday.
- HB-50 Dating Violence Protection Act - I have been receiving a lot of phone calls supporting this bill and a few opposing it. I am watching to see if there are amendments coming on this legislation that may address a couple of my concerns.