Saturday, March 2, 2013

General Session 2013: Week 5 Update - Guns, Grog, and Giggles

It has been quite the interesting and eventful week.

Monday

We started out the week with a bluster.  Monday morning's committee meeting was held up due to my late arrival at the Capitol.  That is what happens when you forget to fill up your gas tank over the weekend.  To make matters even more flustering, the Chair who was supposed to conduct was in another committee presenting a bill of his own.  We hadn't coordinated on that issue.  So, we got off to a quick start as soon as they handed me the gavel.  You an listen to the meeting HERE and HERE.


The other exciting issue we discussed on Monday involved changes to Utah's Alcohol licensing.  I amended a bill by Gage Froerer that would bring our social club licenses into parity with demand.  Currently we have a backlog.  If this bill passes the Senate, we should bring supply and demand for social club licenses into equilibrium.  My amendment was a surprise to the Floor and solicited some very interesting questions and debate.

 WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE ALCOHOL DEBATE HERE.

Tuesday

We were privileged to have a special guest of honor at the House today.  Anne Millner, former President of Weber State University, was cited for her achievements as the head of the university.


Here are our Weber County legislators with Anne.  Davis County Rep. Stuart Barlow is at the far right.

Today we also debated our first Gun Bill HB-76.  This is the constitutional carry bill that allows lawful gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training which is required under current statute.  After some significant deliberation, we pushed the pause button .  This pause will gave the stakeholders some time to create some amendments.

WATCH THE CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY DEBATE HERE

One of the bills that passed was the culmination of two years of effort.  The bill dealt with Cosmetology licenses and specifically the "Hair Braiding" issue.  The issue drew heated debate (no, seriously) at committee the past two sessions.  Finally, a compromise was reached and we passed the bill.   We took a moment after work was completed during lunch to celebrate with the stakeholders who worked patiently with the committee to come to a successful resolution.  They also brought wigs.


Finally, we finished Wednesday with our prioritization list for our Appropriations Subcommittee.


If you want to get a taste for the complexity of what we deal with, you can LISTEN TO OUR BUDGET MEETING HERE.  Here is our list.  The only change we made was to eliminate Four Corners from the list and add STEM to the mix:





Thursday

On Thursday we debated HB268 which dealt with Open Carry of a firearm and what would be considered Disorderly Conduct in doing so.  The bill was amended and passed the house.  Under the new provision, the gentleman that showed up to committee last week with an AR-15 strapped to his back would be in violation of law.  I voted for this bill.

WATCH THE DISORDERLY CONDUCT OPEN CARRY DEBATE HERE.



After our debate ends for the day, our reading clerk announces bill titles.  She is a professional reader.  However, sometimes things don't go smoothly.  Here is video of her and our House Speaker getting the giggles after she fumbles over a bill title...then you can watch my beautifully timed follow up.

WATCH THE GIGGLES AND PUNCHLINE HERE.

Friday

Friday was extremely busy. We met at 7am with the Weber Chamber of Commerce and County stakeholders to discuss Legislative priorities.  At 8am, we held our Political Subdivisions Committee.  A Representative from Weber County proposed a bill that changes land use definitions and has far ranging impacts.  We decided to send the bill to interim study so we could get our head around the proposal and we will be discussing the issue over the summer.

We debated and voted on 36 bills during the day.  One of those was HB76 regarding "Constitutional Carry", which we mostly debated on Tuesday.  In the end, I was one of eighteen Representatives who voted against the bill.

READ MORE ABOUT MY VOTE HERE.

After floortime, we held our Business and Labor Committee.  This meeting went for three hours as we chewed on heavy topics.  One bill coming from the Senate proposes to overhaul how LLC's and other business entities are governed.  We were presented with a daunting 371 pages of new code.  The bill sponsor didn't come to present his bill.  Instead he sent a "specialist" who pressed us to pass out the bill quickly.  I rebuffed that urgency especially since our committee had not had time to read the bill.  The "specialist" was very vague on facts and clearly did not want to get into detail with our committee.  We felt that was inappropriate and voted to move on to the next item on the agenda so we could read the bill before our next meeting Tuesday.  After that we had a very heated discussion on predatory towing practices and ultimately moved to send this bill to the Floor for a final vote.  The bill towing bill makes some common sense changes to the towing industry, such as requiring that they accept credit cards.

LISTEN TO BUSINESS AND LABOR MEETING HERE.

NEXT WEEK:

  • Expect more surprises as big bills come down the pipeline
  • Time constraints will start to wear on legislators...expect more drama
As always, I am just an email away.  Contact me if you have questions or concerns.













1 comment:

  1. thank you for this very informative post, Ken Thompson.

    ReplyDelete

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.