Utah Cap Haps Blog

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Week Seven Review

Capitol Pic of the Day

The Legislature has two primary roles. One is to pass laws and the other is to appropriate public funds. This post will provide a high level summary snapshot on both areas.

There was a lot of attention around a few targeted policy issues. Much of the time, we hear reactions from the first version of a bill that surfaces. Often, a bill is substituted or amended to address concerns that are brought forward and it can be a challenge to stay up to speed on where the stakeholders are on the various renditions of proposed legislation. On controversial bills, it is common to see multiple substitutes.

Some of the bills that garnered the most emails, phone calls, and citizen engagement included the repeal of the death penalty, medical marijuana, and the market place fairness legislation dealing with sales tax on internet purchases. In the end, these bills did not make it through the 2016 session.

To see a full list of passed bills, click here.
To see a summary of what each passed bill does, click here.

Capitol Pic of the Day

Article VI, Section 16 of our Utah Constitution, requires the Legislature to complete its business within 45 days. Consequently, there are many bills that don't pass simply due to running out of time. The upside to this deadline is that it forces us to face tough decisions and to balance our budget within the time parameters given. At the federal level of government, there are is not such a fixed deadline, which leads to kicking the can down the road and lacking the discipline to balance the budget. The downside is that there are many bills that die from running out of time. Here is a summary of my bills:

HB 151, Acupuncture Licensing Board Amendments Passed

HB 289 s1, Charter School Closure Amendments Passed

HB 351, Attorney General Fiscal Amendments Passed

HB 397, Department of Administrative Services Ran out of time

The following bills reflect senate bills that I co-sponsored on the House floor.

SB 185, Labor Remedy Amendments Passed

SB 56, Nurse Practice Act Passed

SB 125, After School Programs Amendments Passed

SCR 18, Concurrent Resolution Designating Official Hashtag for the State of Utah Ran out of time

Capitol Pic of the Day

The state appropriates its budget on an incremental basis. The Legislature spends most of its time evaluating adjustments and add-ons to the base budget. I've itemized each of the budget bills below, however, if you are searching for a particular item, it is better to refer to the cross-tab reference lists  here: Budget List 1 and Budget List 2.

Here is a snapshot of the overall budget picture. As you can see, the majority of our budget is allocated to education.

Here is a list of the budget bills

HB 1, Public Education Base Budget 
HB 5, Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Base Budget
HB 6, Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Base Budget 
HB 7, Social Services Base Budget
SB1, Higher Education Base Budget
SB 4, Business, Economic Development, and Labor Base Budget  
SB 5, Retirement and Independent Entities Base Budget
SB 6, Infrastructure and General Goverment Base Budget
SB 7, National Guard and Veterans' Affairs and Legislature Base Budget

HB 2, New Fiscal Year Supplemental Appropriations Act
SB 2, Public Education Budget Amendments 
SB 3, Current Year Supplemental Appropriations
HB 3, Appropriations Adjustments

SB 8, State Agency and Higher Education Compensation Appropriations (2% salary increase)
HB 8, State Agency Fees and Internal Service Fund Rate Authorization and Appropriations
HB 9, Revenue Bond Amendments 

The Legislature also proposed a bill requiring more scrutiny on the miscellaneous requests for appropriations that come forward every year. This would help the legislature make better decisions when it comes to hearing requests for appropriations and it would increase accountability.  SJR 9, Joint Rules Resolution on Request for Appropriations Process Change. The bill passed out of the House and unfortunately, we ran out of time and it didn't get through to passage.


There were a lot of visits from scout troops and school children across the state. One of things I enjoy is talking with the school kids about the legislative process and the importance of being involved in the community. I love seeing the kids enjoy their visit to the Capitol.