Utah Cap Haps Blog

Friday, August 21, 2015

August Legislative Updates - Special Session

Capitol Pic of the Day


The legislature convened in a special session to consider five issues, including the final decision on the prison site location.

With 62 votes in the House and 22 votes in the Senate, the Legislature voted to support the unanimous bipartisan recommendation of the Prison Relocation Commission (PRC) to move the Prison to the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City. Read the final bill, HCR101, here.

I voted in favor of moving it to the Salt Lake City site. After carefully evaluating all of the details and options, including keeping it in Draper, I felt that it was the right thing to do for the state, not only in terms of cost, but also in terms of other factors such as re-investments in programs to reduce recidivism, considerations for the employees who have to transport prisoners to locations in SLC, and proximity to volunteers and workforce, vendors, courts, hospitals, etc. The SLC site was the most beneficial and cost affective option in terms of ongoing operational costs.

The SLC site area is far away from residential area and bringing water and roads and other infrastructure will open up industrial opporunities in the area. Our nonpartisan fiscal analyst concluded that moving the prison to the west Salt Lake site would generate $94 million a year in new tax revenues. Under this site option, job creation opportunities for both SLC and Draper are established, which will bring in additional taxes to help pay for the cost of moving it.

Listen to the last meeting of the Prison Relocation Commission (PRC) meeting where all of the options are discussed, here. Listen to the House debate here. Listen to the Senate debate here. All of the reports related to the work of the PRC can be found here and all of the audio of each meeting is posted here.

Other issues on which the legislature took action included eliminating some of the qualifications of the Medicaid Inspector General in order to broaden the pool of applicants, reconsidering a bill that was vetoed by the Governor related to a fiscal fix, clarification on the statute of limitations code, and technical fixes to the Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act that was passed in the last session. Find all of the bills and audio through this link


Government Operations Interim Committee - The committee listened to a proposal to redraw the state school board districts to more closely resemble local school district boundaries. The proposal will be revisited later this year.

Additionally, the committee revisited runoff elections and the cost associated with implementing this option in an effort to address the plurality issue. Most of the options come with a hefty price tag. There is still the option to do nothing or to revisit a bill that allowed the parties to choose the ultimate nominee, regardless of who gets the most votes. The committee will continue to study all of the options. 

Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee - The committee heard an overview of efforts to establish affordable housing in transit oriented development areas and reviewed various issues that will come forward in the next legislative session. 

For additional details, visit the committee pages by clicking on the committee headers or the menu to the right of this blog page. 


Salt Lake Community College opened up their campus in West Valley City on 3500 South and 5600 West. This campus will be an asset to the district and will open up doors not only for residents in the area, but also for local businesses that are seeking qualified people to join their workforce. It will also serve as an education hub for high school students in the four nearby high schools providing a quality, cost effective education to help them meet their life goals. 

It was great to participate in the Vivante Lives neighborhood party for the National Night Out, sponsored by West Valley City. I enjoyed visiting with the residents in the area.