Week three was full of committee meetings and bill hearings.
Our Business Economic Development and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee (say that 10 times fast) heard a lighting round of appropriations requests. Committee members were each asked to list their top 10 priorities for ongoing funding and top 15 priorities for one-time funding. We received 52 one-time requests and 18 ongoing requests. Here are my top ranked funding priorities from the committee (not in any particular order):
1. DABC - Funding for Critical Needs (staff, compensation, etc)
2. Dept. Heritage and Arts - Security for Rio Grand Facility
3. Dept. Heritage and Arts - Multicultural Youth Summit
4. Dept. Heritage and Arts - Sustainability Grants
5. Dept. of Commerse - Controlled Substances Database
6. Econ Dev - Targeted Industries Procurement and Supply Chain Expansion
7. Econ Dev - Engineering Initiative
8. Natural History Museum of Utah
9. Econ Dev - Impact Utah Manufacturing Support
10. GOED - Financial Services Cluster Director
1. GOED - Business Resource Centers
2. GOED - Sundance (small approp)
3. Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative
4. Spring City Historical Building
5. Hill Air Force Base Air Show
6. George Beard Photography Exhibition
7. Utah Refugee Scout Program
8. United Way of Ogden
9. Ogden Pioneer Stadium
10. El Systema@Salty Crickets
11. Boys State/Girls State
12. Youth Impact
13. Utah Humanities Museum on Main Street
14. Restoration of Grantsville Donner Reed Museum
15. GOED - Financial Services Cluster Director
The requests varied widely in amounts from $2,000 to $1.1M. The committee chairs will be looking at available funds and then allocating amounts based on committee priorities. We will know more early next week on the recommended amounts and who received enough committee support to even show up on the list. I spread the good word on our local needs.
Federal Delegation Visits
We were privileged to hear from several of our Congressmen this week.
Representative Christ Stewart offered some particularly poignant remarks. You can watch those here:
We also had Congressman Rob Bishop visit with us.
State Rep. Adam Gardner (who, as Young Republican at WSU, door knocked with me back in 2008 during my first run for office) was able to also reunite with his old boss. He later worked as staff for Congressman Bishop. Their reunion was pretty funny. You can watch that here:
Mr. Peterson's Bills
My bills are moving through the system. A couple were numbered and finished the drafting process. Here is the latest:
HB23 - Solar Tax Credit Phase Out - This bill is on the House 3rd Reading Calendar and will be presented Monday or Tuesday of Week 4
HB24 - Student Prosperity Savings Account Tax Credit - This bill is right behind HB23 on the board. Should be heard very soon.
HB64 - Property Tax Relief Amendments - This bill passed the Senate Committee and is on the board for a final hearing on the Senate Floor.
HB73 - Child Placement Amendments - This bill has been in the House Judiciary queue since the beginning of the session. I hope to present it this coming week.
HB158 - State House Boundary Amendments - This is a technical fix-it bill that will align house districts with the Box Elder/Cache County line. Due to map maker errors and poorly recorded map changes decades ago, the geocoding and legal boundaries were off by a few dozen feet. This bill is on the House Consent calendar and will be heard Monday.
HB270 - Inmate Housing Amendments - This bill reduces the halfway house burden placed on any one community and spreads the housing of inmates returning to society based on county population. This bill has not been assigned to committee yet.
HB307 - Energy and Innovation Research Grant Program - This bill creates a $1M competitive grant program to promote the development and deployment of new and innovative energy technology. This bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.
HB318 - Recycling Development Zone Tax Credit Repeal - This bill repeals a wonky tax credit that costs the education budget about $1M per year. Under current law, the credit is set to expire in 2021. This bill will be heard in committee on Wednesday.
This guy just came strolling through the hallway one morning at 8am. He didn't say much but seemed friendly enough.
I leave my office door open on the fourth floor of the Capitol to help foster communication with my colleagues. But, my guitar equipment appears to be an irresistible attraction to many passers by... as in this case, the Executive Director of the DABC.
So far, the most commonly asked question I get is "Dude, an Epiphone? Where's the Gibson Les Paul???" It appears guitar snobs also walk the halls of the Capitol.
After giving each other a bear hug (no, I am not kidding), Utah Democrat Party chief Peter Corroon and Utah GOP head James Evans testify at committee together to support a bill presented by Rep. Patrice Arent.
None of us like to be bored at the Capitol. Fortunately, we have a solid Plan B in case we slip into the doldrums.
Look for more Floor time this next week and more controversial bills to hit the board. We killed our first bill of the season this week. More bills are sure to walk into Legislative crossfire. Look for excitement to come.