Utah Cap Haps Blog

Friday, February 5, 2016

Week Two Review

Capitol Pic of the Day

One topic that is getting a lot of attention lately is medical marijuana. There are three bills being proposed. SB 89, Medical Cannabidiol Amendments provides limited access to the plant and has research components that will enable the state to study the issue more deeply.

Another bill, SB 73, Medical Cannabis Act, is proposing broader access to the plant where a Compassionate Use Board of physicians hear applications for use beyond conditions listed in the bill.

A third proposal, which is not yet numbered or drafted, Concurrent Resolution Urging the Rescheduling of Marijuana, will be a plea to Congress to put marijuana in a different drug class in a an effort to allow it to be used for research and to go through the proper channels at the federal level.

I will post additional detail for each proposal on this blog as more information becomes available.

My first bill, HB151, Acupuncture Licensing Board Amendments passed out unanimously on the House floor this week and is now headed to a Senate standing committee meeting to be considered for the Senate floor. This bill adds the acupuncture board to a list of health care licensing boards that are able to provide feedback to the Legislature on policies that impact their industry.

This week, HB 289, Charter School Closure Amendments was also published. I am currently working with the Utah State Office of Education, the Charter School Board and any other interested parties to solicit feedback.


Salt Lake County Caucus

Questions surrounding the use of body cameras by law enforcement officers have recently become an issue, leading to debates regarding the protection of privacy, standards for use and safety, for citizens as well as officers. This session there are two bills to deal with the issue in two ways.

One proposal, not yet numbered, is to establish consistent, state-mandated guidelines for allow enforcement agencies that use body cameras. It would set rules regarding when to turn on, when to turn off, how to display the camera and give notice of its use.

The other proposal, SB 94, would allow for POST, the Peace Officer Standards and Training Division, to establish minimum standards that would given the use of the cameras and the storage and retention of the footage taken. Rather than encoding specific guidelines in statute, POST would be responsible for instituting standards, and would change them as needed. Any law enforcement using body cameras would be required to comply with those minimum standards.

Both bills would make the audio and video recordings private but the first proposal explicitly prohibits personal use.

House GOP Caucus

The Legislative Fiscal Analyst's office developed a federal funds risk simulator so that we can make better policy decisions by visualizing the impacts of fluctuating or uncertain federal dollars. Take a look at what risk responses are considered when compensating for the loss of federal funds in various areas of the budget by visiting the link.


The volume of bills is slowly increasing in our committee hearings. Take a look at the bills being proposed in each of my assigned committees by clicking on one of the links below.

House Transportation Standing Committee


We heard a lot of testimony from the assigned agencies to our committee this week regarding their base budgets and the various proposed adjustments and needs.

Notably, many of our agencies are dealing with challenging compensation issues that are consequently leading to hiring and retention issues.

There are several retirement bills being proposed this session that may help, however, we heard loudly and clearly that compensation is primarily the immediate issue in need of being resolved.

Our Guardian Ad Litem department, which is the department that provides legal support for children, is substantially underfunded when compared to other legal offices such as the Attorney General's Office, or the District Attorney's office.

To get a good sense of the budget and where to find items related to appropriations, visit this link.

Each Saturday, I've been holding town hall meetings at the West Valley Fitness Center. It's always fun to spend time with constituents, update them on what's happening on the hill, and hear about the issues that are important to them. I will continue to hold them at 2pm each Saturday through the session, with the exception of Valentine's Day weekend (no meeting on 2/13), as well as one post session meeting on March, 19th. Please visit with me if you're in the area.  

My intern Kelsey Barlow

Meet my intern, Kelsey Barlow. She is originally from Colorado, but we won't hold that against her. She has been a tremendous help and will certainly do great things in the future. For now, I am grateful for her assistance in keeping me organized and prepared each day.
Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus
Martha Hughes Cannon was the first female state Senator in the United States. In 1896, she ran against her own husband and beat him by more than 2,500 votes. On Tuesday, the Martha Hughes Cannon Caucus met for their first meeting of the legislative session. Female legislators, staff, and inters had the opportunity to mingle and network. This meeting was an amazing opportunity to honor the legacy of Martha Hughes Cannon.

Networking with interns

The Professional Republican Women had their luncheon this Thursday and invited the elected Republican women to present an update on our legislative priorities. It was a great turnout and wonderful to hear from colleges in the legislature. 

 Finally, this Friday, we were supposed to wear red to show support for women's health. Here is a picture of my colleagues in the House.