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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Redistricting: Special Session Monday

The Governor has just called us into Special Session:

Monday, December 4, 2006, at 10:30 a.m.

Here is the Proclamation.

Three bills will be discussed. The first bill and primary objective of the Special Session draws new congressional district boundaries. That one will start in the Senate. The second bill fixes a technical glitch in our tax system that has given small boat operators some trouble. Bill number three would delay the effective date of a new law that deals with the documentation required to release a lien.

As always you will be able to listen live on-line, by dropping by the Official Legislative Site.

New Committee Assignments

By John Valentine
President of the Utah Senate

Here are the new committee assignments for the 57th Legislature (2007 and 2008).
Standing Committees

Appropriations Committees
My newly elected leadership team and I have spent long hours evaluating the upcoming work of the Senate, trying to balance competing priorities and deciding where each senator would best fit within our organization. Natural ability, experience, and personal preference are all strong factors in our decision-making process.

We have an excellent group in terms of ability, personality, and accomplishment and we expect very good things from this class of senators.

We also adjusted the seating chart to reflect the leadership team and the newly elected members of our body. Click here to see a copy.

All of these changes will take effect at the beginning of the year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Map L

To get a real sense of what happened, you need to listen to this morning's meeting. Find the audio link here.

In a nutshell:

Responding to requests, opinions and information gathered at the public hearings, the Redistricting Committee has morphed the plan formerly known as J into a new Map L.

The new map refines Map J in the following areas:
  • Changes the Second District boundary to encompass Snyderville Basin (just over 7000 people), so they can vote with their neighbors in Park City. Several people at the public hearing in Park City requested this.

  • Makes Morgan County (about 7000 people) part of the Third District.

  • Includes the City of Eureka in the Third District.

  • Puts North Salt Lake in the Second District but keeps Bountiful in the First.

  • Adjusts the lines in South Salt Lake County in such a way that the population of the four congressional districts are in exact balance.
Each congressional district will have an equal population of 558,292, with the exception of District One, which will have a population of 558,293.

The Redistricting Committee approved this map 10-1.

Next steps: We anticipate being called into a Special Session on Monday, December 4. Then it’s up to Congress.

Final Map Recommendation?

Today's - potentially final - meeting of the Redistricting Committee will be broadcast live on-line, starting at 8:00 a.m.

Find the audio link on the committee's page or the home page of our official site. (Requires RealPlayer to listen.)

Give yourself some extra time if you're visiting us in person. It's bitter cold outside and last night's snowfall made driving a little sketchy this morning.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

KCPW: The Art of Drawing a Map

Following the hearing this morning, Senator Bramble drove to KCPW’s studio in Park City and spoke with Blair Fulner about mapmaking and the public input process.

Listen to the interview on the KCPW site (scan down to the final segment), or download the MP3.

Senator Bramble is the Senate Chair of the Legislative Redistricting Committee.

Last Chance

Today is your last chance to help us draw the map.

This is the last round of public hearings on the new congressional district boundaries. The final public hearing will be TONIGHT at 5:00 p.m. on the State Capitol Campus in Salt Lake City.

Go to the West Building, Room W135.

It's more fun to be there in person but - for anyone snowed in - we will also be broadcasting the audio live on-line.

Find committee information, including maps, here.

And a good blog discussion here.

[UPDATE: Audio of Tuesday night's public hearing is archived on the Redistricting Committee's Page.]

Monday's Public Hearings

The MSM reports on yesterday's public meetings on redistricting:
The Spectrum (with photos!)

Daily Herald

Deseret Morning News

Salt Lake Tribune

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Been blessed this year? Pass it on.

Utah Food Bank

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Map work

The Redistricting Committee will take three or four maps on the road next week:

Map A, Map I, Map J, and possibly Map G . (Maps require a free PDF reader to view.)

Maps I or J are probably the favorites. The front runner may be Map J, a bipartisan proposal, crafted with Senate Democrats.

Public Hearings on a New Map

Monday, November 27, 2006
Provo, Utah
Provo Municipal Council Chambers
351 West Center Street
9:00 a.m.

Price, Utah
Price City Hall
185 East Main Street, Room #207
1:00 p.m.

St. George, Utah
Washington County Commission Chambers
197 East Tabernacle Street
5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Park City, Utah
Miner's Hospital Community Center
1354 Park Avenue, 2nd floor
9:00 a.m.

Ogden, Utah
Ogden City Council Chambers, Suite 340
Ogden Municipal Building
2549 Washington Boulevard
1:00 p.m.

Salt Lake City, Utah
State Capitol Complex
West Building - Room W135
5:00 p.m.
If you cannot attend one of these hearings, please E-mail your comments to REDISTRICTING@utah.gov.

More information on the 2006 Redistricting Committee's page.

Press Release?

LaVarr discussed sending press releases to bloggers in today’s UPD.

Are there any bloggers out there who want to receive press releases from the Utah Senate? For that matter, is there anyone out there at all who would like their own copy of those infrequent but golden expressions of literary magic?

Just drop us a line (or leave a comment).

Monday, November 20, 2006


Plan A

Plan B

Plan C

Plan D

We appreciate your attention and insight. Attend one of next weeks's public hearings or E-mail your comments to REDISTRICTING@utah.gov.

As Senator Bramble indicated, these drafts should be seen as good starting points for discussion. The audio of this morning's meeting has been posted on line. Tomorrow's Redistricting Committee meeting will also be broadcast live on line, starting at 8:00 a.m. (Requires RealPlayer.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006


The 2006 Redistricting Committee will meet twice next week: Monday and Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. at the State Capitol (W135). Both of these meetings are open to the public.

We have tentative plans to hold public hearings throughout the state the week after Thanksgiving.

Love to have you join us. Everyone but Ethan.

We also plan to set up an E-mail address to take input from those who are not able to attend a hearing. Look for it on the Official Site next week.
Monday's Agenda:
1. Committee Business

2. Overview of Redistricting: The Committee will discuss past redistricting processes and current legal guidelines.

3. Committee Organization: The Committee will consider adopting redistricting principles, committee procedures and protocols, and schedule meetings and public hearings.

4. Four District Congressional Plan: The Committee will begin discussion of four district congressional plans.
Tuesday's meeting will include public comment. Find the agenda here.

But is it constitutional?

Ken Starr says it is.

So do Rick Bress & Kirsten Murray. And Viet Dinh & Adam Charnes. Our source is www.DCVote.org, by way of Voice of Utah.

This may be splitting hairs, but it is clearly constitutional for any state in the nation to draw their own congressional district boundaries. That is what we are doing. We aim to do it right and in the open, and have it done soon enough for the Governor to call us into Special Session on December 1st.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fourth Congressional District

We're going to go for it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Scrutinizing a new possibility

By Curt Bramble
Senate Majority Leader-Elect

In this morning's blog we started grappling with concerns about staging an immediate special session to redraw congressional district boundaries with almost no prep work.

Today we met with the governor and it appears that Congress' deadline has been extended to early December. That's better. But is it enough extra time to do the job right? Does the fact that a different party will soon control the U.S. Congress make a difference in the equation?

The House and Senate will be evaluating this in caucus tomorrow. I'd love to have your thoughtful input.

Drawing the Map

Everyone knows Utah deserves a fourth seat in Congress. Everyone except North Carolina supports addressing that injustice.

We may have another shot at it.

One key question demands answers before we go forward:

What sort of process should we use to draw a map dividing the state into four congressional districts within the incredibly short time frame that some in Congress, apparently, are demanding?

Can we do it fast enough and still do it right?

Those who have been through redistricting know that this doesn’t happen by magic.

For thirty years we have followed a meticulous process to solicit and obtain public input. It's not perfect, but it is at least thorough. The legislature:
  • Appoints a Redistricting Committee;
  • Establishes a transparent process emphasizing public involvement;
  • Adopts governing principles to promote fairness;
  • Solicits public input, which includes public hearings statewide;
  • Prepares, deliberates, and chooses among alternate plans;
After a careful and thorough process we convene in special session to adopt a final map. In a nutshell: we do the job right. Those who think we can fast-track the new maps are essentially asking us to forgo public participation and limit principles of fairness.

We need your input, folks. How far down this road are we willing to walk to get our fourth seat?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Leadership Team

The Utah Senate Majority met tonight and selected a leadership team for the next two years.
President of the Utah Senate: John Valentine

Majority Leader: Curt Bramble

Majority Whip: Dan Eastman

Assistant Majority Whip: Sheldon Killpack

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Leadership Elections

The Senate Majority will gather tomorrow night to elect a new leadership team.

The meeting is open to senators and senators-elect who will serve as members of the majority caucus in the 57th Legislature (the 2007 and 2008 Sessions).

Interested observers may watch the chimney outside the building. White smoke means a leadership team has been chosen.

Just kidding. We’ll just open the doors, invite folks in and make the results public when the meeting is over.

We’ll also post a blog here on the Senate Site. Look for it between 6 and 7 p.m.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Senator Tom Hatch

Tom Hatch resigned from the Utah Senate today.

22 years of public service.

Here's the letter,

and a few sentences from the 3/17/2006 press release:
"When Senator Hatch's term ends at the end of the year, he will have completed 22 years of public service. He served as a Garfield County Commissioner from 1984 to 1994. In 1994 he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives. Hatch worked four two-year terms in the House, where he served as Vice Chair of Executive Appropriations, Rules Committee Chairman, and Majority Leader. . . . Hatch was elected to the Utah Senate [in 2002]. In 2004, then-Speaker of the House, Marty Stephens, selected Hatch as his running mate in his bid for governor."

Said Hatch: "This has been a great experience; I am grateful for my opportunity to spend some good years in service of the citizens of District 28 - the best and most beautiful senate district on earth."

Democratic Leadership

The Senate Democrats met over lunch today and selected the new minority leadership team.
Minority Leader: Senator Mike Dmitrich

Minority Whip: Senator Gene Davis

Assistant Minority Whip: Senator Ed Mayne,

Minority Caucus Manager: Senator-elect Patricia Jones
Congratulations and all the best to the new team!

New Senate

Happy day-after elections. Here is the Utah Senate roster for the 57th Legislature. Those who were just elected (or re-elected) are in bold :
1 - Fred Fife
2 - Scott McCoy
3 - Gene Davis
4 - Patricia Jones
5 - Ed Mayne
6 - Michael Waddoups
7 - Ross Romero
8 - Carlene Walker
9 - Wayne Niederhauser
10 - Chris Buttars
11 - Howard Stephenson
12 - Brent Goodfellow
13 - Mark Madsen
14 - John Valentine
15 - Margaret Dayton
16 - Curtis Bramble
17 - Peter Knudson
18 - Jon Greiner
19 - Allen Christensen
20 - Scott Jenkins
21 - Sheldon Killpack
22 - Gregory Bell
23 - Dan Eastman
24 - Darin Peterson
25 - Lyle Hillyard
26 - Kevin Van Tassell
27 - Mike Dmitrich
28 - Dennis Stowell
29 - Bill Hickman
Note: Each "Legislature" is a two-year period. The 57th Legislature will serve during the 2007 and 2008 Legislative Sessions.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Vote today.

Then come to the election night party in Salt Lake.

Republicans will be at the Hilton. Democrats at the Marriott.

Child Protection Registry

Good news: The United States has joined Utah's fight to keep kids safe from adult-oriented E-mail.

Here is the press release.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Education Funding

By Lyle Hillyard

Senate Chair of Executive Appropriations

The Legislature is always cutting education funding? Baloney. Click the picture, above, to listen. But first, take a look at these numbers. The first page charts the money we spent in each school district from 1990 to 2005. Page two tracks the number of students enrolled.

Once you have the documents in front of you, click here to listen to the MP3.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Web Campaigns 2006

Lee of the House posted a link to Nicole Warburton’s article about politics on the web. Worth a glance.

Deseret Morning News: Web Campaigning Hot

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