Utah Cap Haps Blog

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September Legislative Updates

Capitol Pic of the Day


Over the last couple of months, I've had the opportunity to participate on the Strategic Workforce Investment grant selection committee. This committee is being led by Senator Milner, who sponsored SB 103, Strategic Workforce Investments, a piece of legislation that aims to improve workforce alignment between education and employers, using stackable credentials. We went through several rounds of proposal reviews and next month, there will be a presentation to the Higher Education committee highlighting the details. 

Government Operations Interim Committee - The committee heard an update from the Utah Communications Authority on improving internal controls after a discovery of fraud. Since the incident happened, the entity has been through several audits and has hired a new executive director. Most of the findings and recommendations in the audits have been addressed, however, there are some left that require legislative action. I opened a bill file about a month ago to address some of the audit recommendations and I look forward to helping this important service of government improve. This entity is where 911 calls are taken and where emergency dispatch and responders are coordinated. 

Also during this meeting, was a robust discussion about Vote by Mail and the challenges related to the timing of the delivery of ballots. The committee opened up a bill file to explore streamlining drop box availability across the state. Click here for committee materials and audio. 

Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee - The committee heard a presentation on the role of earned income tax credits (EITC) in reducing poverty. The EITC program is a tax credit designed to incentivize people to participate in the labor force and to increase income. Most families are in the program for an average of three years, and phase out due to moving up in income. To learn more about what was presented on EITC, as well as other topics discussed, visit this page. 

Retirement and Independent Entities Interim Committee - The committee listened to an overview of a series of audits performed by the State Auditor. We then heard several presentations by the Utah Retirement System and rate changes and upcoming legislation. To listen to the meeting and to obtain all of the materials and handouts, visit this link


September started off great with the 15th annual Labor Day Picnic at the Magna Park. It was great to see so many families enjoying the festivities at this event.

On September 15th, I had the opportunity to participate on the KSL News Radio show, A Woman's View. We talked about Utah politics, national politics and local issues like homelessness, substance abuse challenges and education. It was great to meet Chris Hall, author of Conversations with a Moonflower, who also participated in the interview.

Also this month, I participated on a bi-partisan panel for the Women's Leadership Institute where a cohort of women are learning about running for public office. Each of us shared our personal experiences and had a great discussion with the group. 

PBS NewsHour was also there to film some of the event. They are doing a story about Utah women in politics and selected a couple of us to follow around and film in action. They followed me on the campaign trail and to my legislative interim meetings and ended with an in depth interview. The show is scheduled to air on PBS on October 8th. 

Also this month was a series of community events for National Night Out. I enjoyed spending time with community members at one of the neighborhood parties and was so impressed with the level of community engagement in the area. Each home on the street participated by hosting an activity, such as a band, a movie shown on the garage door, or a game for the neighborhood children. It was a fantastic event. 

Last but not least, I was happy to participate in the first annual Pacific Islander town hall, held at the downtown library. It was a great forum where candidates on both sides of the aisle were invited to share their vision for public office. 

Another committee in which I participate is The Future We Choose: Partnership for a Greater Salt Lake. This county-led group was formed to collaborate on a coordinated regional plan to help shape the future of Salt Lake County. It is important that we remain proactive in shaping our future so that our planning efforts aren't quickly outpaced by growth. We will have one or two more meetings, after which I anticipate providing details on the work of the committee.