Utah Cap Haps Blog

Monday, May 4, 2015

May Legislative Updates

Capitol Pic of the Day - House of Representatives


SLCC West Valley City Center

I had the opportunity to attend an open house hosted by Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) for the purpose of engaging the community for feedback related to the new community learning center site on 3500 South and 5600 West. This new site is purposefully located near four high schools (Granger, Kearns, Cyprus, Hunter) and will focus on concurrent enrollment, freshmen general education course requirements and ESL courses (English as a Second Language). 

SLCC is seeking input from the community on other types of courses desired, as well as any other feedback you would like to provide. To provide input, either call Jen Seltzer Stitt, Director of Community relations at 801-957-4753 or email WestValleyCenter@slcc.edu. 

Prison Relocation Commission

The Prison Relocation Commission is hosting a series of open houses over the next few weeks. Get updates on the latest developments and share your thoughts by attending one of these meetings. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 4:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Promontory Building, Utah State Fairpark
155 N 1000 W
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
Thursday, May 28, 2015, 4:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Grantsville High School
155 E Cherry Street
Grantsville, UT 84029
Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 4:00 - 9:00 p.m   .
Frontier Middle School
1427 Mid Valley Road
Eagle Mountain, UT 84005

Utah State Office of Education

The Utah State Office of Education has recently released new science standards and are seeking your input. Provide your feedback at this link. Additionally, here are some upcoming open houses that start at 7pm: 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Provo School District Office
280 West 940 North
Provo, UT 84604
Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Cache County School District
2063 North 1200 East
North Logan, UT 84341
Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m   .
Salt Lake Center for Science Education Media Center
1400 Goodwin Ave.,
Salt Lake City, UT 84116


Now that the 2015 general session is completed, we will begin our interim work where we meet for a couple of days every month to get a deeper understanding of the various issues that face our state.

I have been assigned to the Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee as well as the Government Operations Interim Committee. I look forward to studying the issues that come before these committees.

Here is a list of the various study items that were selected by the chairs of each interim committee and approved by the Legislative Management Committee on April 22, 2015.



1. Consumer Credit Laws - Study recent and impending federal regulatory impacts on consumers and financial institutions, and examine implications on state regulations. 

2. New Motor Vehicle Sales - Study issues related to the automobile dealer franchising process. 

3. Building Code Revisions and Timeline - Study the impending changes to the various codes that will occur this year, and also examine the statutorily established timeframe that the codes are updated.

4. Bail Bonds - Study issues related to bail bonds, including a court's use of bail bonds for a purpose other than ensuring the accused person appears in court at the appointed place, date and time. 

5. Occupational and Professional Licensing Court Case - Review the U.S. court case regarding a conflict of interest for those licensing board members who also practice in the profession. 

6. Study of 2015 General Session S.B. 127, Transport of Railroad Employees (as requested by Sen. Mayne). 


1. Intergenerational poverty - Review DWS 5 and 10-year plans and build on state-based research to address perpetual poverty among generations of families. 

2. Economic Development and Air Quality - Follow-up on the Economic Development Task Force recommendations, study the economic impact of air quality issues, and consider market-based approaches to improving air quality. 

3. Affordable Housing and Transit - Work with transit-oriented development partners to provide due consideration to affordable housing as part of development near transit stations. 

4. Economic Development Incentives - Study existing incentives to consider effectiveness and potential improvements. 

5. Workforce Recruitment and Training - Find ways to help existing businesses recruit needed talent and to study the provision of custom training programs for employees and potential employees of the state's changing workforce needs. 

6. Committee Housekeeping, Agency Issues, and Code Clean-up - Provide normal and customary "investigation and study of possibilities for improvement in government services with a given subject area" including sunset reviews, agency written reports, vetting of specific agency issues, and Utah Code revisions (see IR2-1-201). 

7. Land use data compiled by governmental agencies to see that they are consistent across the state (requested by Senator Adams). 


1. State Education Governance - Study the method for selecting State Board of Education members. 

2. Educator professional development - Study best practices and determine whether to fund a statewide approach. 

3. Charter Schools - Stud governance, oversight, and accountability and determine the role of charter schools in Utah's public education system. 

4. Student Assessment Requirements - Study testing mandates, the number of hours spent on testing across LEAs, and the extent to which testing limits students' access to technology as a learning tool. 

5. Early Grade Reading and Math Proficiency - Study interventions that may be needed to improve early grade reading and math proficiency. 

6. Alternatives to Funding Higher Education Buildings - (Requested by Pres. Niederhauser).

7. Review Effects of Performance Funding - (Requested by Pres. Niederhauser). 


1. School Board Elections - In England v. Hatch, the constitutionality of Utah's method of selecting state school board members was called into question. In the 2015 General Session, legislators proposed several pieces of legislation to address the issue, but ultimately none of the legislation passed. If the legislature does not act, the courts will have significant discretion to apply a remedy of their choosing. 

2. Plurality - Determining a winner in a multi-candidate primary race - 2014 General Session HB54 created multiple methods by which a candidate can access a primary election ballot. A primary election ballot may therefore list several individuals running for the same office, creating the possibility that a candidate could with the primary election with less than a majority vote. In the 2015 General Session, legislators proposed several pieces of legislation to address the issue, but ultimately none of the options passed.


1. Medicaid Preferred Drug List Expansion - Study whether to authorize the Dept. of Health to include all psychotropic and anti-psychotic drugs on the Medicaid program's preferred drug list (HB156). 

2. Medicaid Liability - Study whether a health care provider should only be responsible to the spouse, parent, or child of a patient for providing or failing to provide health care (HB405).

3. Medical Marijuana - to study whether to permit the possession, use, and growing of medical cannabis (SB 259). 

4. Care for the Elderly (as time permits) - A: Caregiver support - Study how to support individuals and agencies who provide or facilitate care of the elderly; and B: Continuous care facilities - Study how to regulate the industry (HB436).

5. Homecare Cottage - Study the homecare cottage concept as a long-term portable care option for senior citizens. 


1. Family Law - To include study of the statute and issues relating to alimony (length, cohabitation, and rehabilitative alimony provisions).

2. Civil Rights - Study the statute and current use of surveillance, subpoenas, and police use of force. 


1. Impact and Implementation of HB348 on state agencies - This item consists of bringing in the Dept. of Corrections, the Sentencing Commission, the Courts, and Adult Probation and Parole, prosecuting and defense attorneys, etc. to discuss the implementation of HB348 and how it impacts their respective areas. Also key would be any unintended consequences/side effects of the legislation realized since its enactment. 

2. The Use of Body Cameras by Law Enforcement Officers - Related to HB386.

3. Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officers in Utah - Focus on 1) Historical data regarding use of force and lethal use of force; 2)POST training provided to officers; 3)Public perception of law enforcement and how that has changed, as well as what can be done to improve this in Utah; and 4) How investigations of use of force by law enforcement is conducted in Utah. 


1. Natural Resources: 1) Water - Pricing, infrastructure funding mechanisms, Leg. Audit on resources and needs (water issues such as development and cost given the highest priority); 2) Bear Lake - Site visit, development, access, quagga, phragmites; 3)State Parks - Expansion, spin off tourism from national parks.

2. Agriculture: 1)Bee Keeping; 2) State Fairpark (Legislative Management Committee study by Oct interim meeting on the long term viability of the State Fairpark in its current location SB2)

3. Environment: 1) Air quality - Solid fuel burning program, ozone in Uintah Basin, Tier III fuels; 2) Disposal of depleted uranium in west desert. 


1. Community Development and Renewal Agencies: (Harper and Handy; SB55)

2. Good Landlord Program - Study issues related to the program HB268, HJR26, Item 10, and HJR26, Item 11). 

3. Municipal and County Code Enforcement - Study municipal and county enforcement of ordinances regarding abatement of weeds, garbage, refuse, unsightly objects, and other conditions deemed to be a public nuisance (HJR26, Item 136). 

4. Historic Districts - Study parameters and creation guidelines of historic districts (HJR26, Item 204). 

5. Subdivision Base Parcels - Study delinquent taxes on subdivision base parcels *HJR26, Item 24).

6. Assessment Area Bonding - Study assessment area bonding and foreclosure. 

7. Subdivision Bonding - Study subdivision bonding and security. 

8. Local Government Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs) - Study whether to allow a municipality and county to enter into an agreement to allow the transfer of development rights between their respective jurisdictions. 

9. Insurance for Lateral Sewer Lines - Study whether local government and sewer districts should provide insurance to how owners for lateral sewer lines. 


1. Interstate Transmission Lines - the Code is silent in regard to planning and location for interstate transmission lines. The issue is that these lines will create corridors in perpetuity, through select mountain canyons and may or may not connect to the Utah electrical grid. 

2. Big Data / Longitudinal Data Management - Development of longitudinal state databases that are creational and can be used for planning all types of infrastructure. 

3. EPA Rule 111(d) - the EPA will be issuing its final ruling this summer and that may affect the generation of power in Utah, transportation and pollution control. 

4. Telehealth / Telemedicine and Technology - The use of technology to offer cost-effective direct delivery by providers of healthcare services for both urban and rural environments. 


1. Sales Tax Exemptions - Study and review all sales tax exemptions.

2. Corporate Franchise and Income Taxes - Study single sales factor and the economic benefits of a corporate income tax cut or repeal. 

3. Centrally Assessed Taxes - Study issues related to centrally assessed taxes including new growth. 

4. Excise Taxes - Study excise taxes including the taxation of e-cigarettes. 

5. Sales and Use Tax Earmarks - Review earmarks of the sales and use tax and recommendations provided by the Tax Review Commission. 

6. Historic Preservation Credit - Study whether to grant a historic preservation tax credit exemption. 

7. Tax Code Changes - Study simplifying the tax code, elimination tax credits, and reducing tax rates. 

8. Property Taxes and Water Rates - Study whether to lower property taxes and replace the taxes with water fee increases. 


1. Consolidation of the Sales and Use Tax Earmarks for Transportation 

2. Implementation and Impacts of the Transportation Funding Revisions made in the 2015 General Session including UDOT's intended uses for revenue increases (maintenance funding and bridge rehabilitation projects). 

3. Transportation Commission prioritization process review. 

4. Coordination between UDOT and School Districts on Locating New Schools (as time permits).

5. Review Large I-15 Construction Projects (as time permits). 

6. Interim Study Items 200 and 205 related to vehicle towing (as time permits): 1) 200. Study issues related to the use of a tow truck motor carrier, vechile towing, other to require tow truck drivers to have a criminal background check before performing tow truck services, and towing vehicles from private parking lots; 2) Study statewide towing policies. 

7. Interim Study Item 206 - Nighttime work zone noise (as time permits).


I had the opportunity join the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy in welcoming visitors from Bangladesh with Rep. Becky Edwards, Rep. Sandra Hollins and Sen. Jani Iwamoto. 

We learned that Bangladesh has a long history of electing women Prime Ministers and currently requires a 33 percent quota for all elected seats -- an interesting factoid!