Saturday, February 9, 2013

General Session 2013: Week 2 - Special Moments, Bills, and New Ideas



Special Moments

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.  

Bill Update

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.

Notable Moments


  • 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.)     

Next Up:

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.  
I look forward to a busy week starting Monday.  If you have any issues or concerns, please CONTACT ME.





8 comments:

  1. Hollnmick,

    This should clarify the joke: http://english.cntv.cn/program/bizasia/20130131/102490.shtml

    Jeremy

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  2. I am concerned what you mean by a compromise on the UTA bill. If that is some sort of a revenue for the state (tax increase), please keep your greedy hands out of our pockets. thanks Louis Meyer

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  3. Ok everyone, just for the record, the UEA comment about compromising on face masks is an attempt at humor. Giving everyone a tax credit for the purchase of a $2 face mask so we can ramp up emissions and run roughshod over air quality to grow our economy out our funding pinch seems a bit silly...right? We can all laugh together now.

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  4. So what exactly are you doing to improve the air quality in our state? Clearly, deregulation is not the answer. However, regulation seems to be such a dirty word in the legislature. I can't see how this problem will solve itself without some sort of government intervention.

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  5. You stated above that HB-13 would be bad policy will you please explain your thoughts? I have read this bill and have a few thoughts; this seems almost unenforcible why pass a bill we can't enforce? Who will pay for the smoking cessation classes and would the fine be reinstated if the classes weren't completed? I understand the premise of this bill, who doesn't want to protect our children from the dangers of second hand smoke but I think this needs a little work.

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  6. One possible solution to improving air quality would be synchronization of traffic lights and utilization of left turn arrows at all traffic lights.

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  7. Will you please share your thoughts on SB53 Intergenerational Welfare Reform. I agree with the premis of this bill, it is impartative to define intergenerational vs situational poverty. For true welfare reform to occur children raised with a dependency on welfare must be shown they possess the ability to care for themselves without government assistance. I believe studies will prove this to be true but the implementation of findings is very vague; I would like to see some strategies for implementating changes. Thanks

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Welcome! Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated. Criticism, insights, questions and queries are always welcome. However, please be civil and composed in your presentation.