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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ethics

Discussion on ethics policy continues. Here's Cathy McKitrick's article.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

A little R&R (Ronald Reagan) for your Thanksgiving, courtesy of today's UPD :
My fellow Americans: Over 350 years ago, a small band of Pilgrims, after gathering in their first harvest at Plymouth Colony, invited their friends and neighbors, who were Indians, to join them in a feast of thanksgiving. Together they sat around their bountiful table and bowed their heads in gratitude to the Lord for all that He had bestowed upon them.

This week, so many years later, we, too, will gather with family and friends and, after saying grace, carve up a turkey, pass around the cranberries and dressing, and later share slices of pumpkin pie. We Americans have so much for which to be thankful. ... We will give thanks for these and one thing more: our freedom.

Yes, in America, freedom seems like the air around us: It's there; it's sweet, though we rarely give it a thought. Yet as the air fills our lungs, freedom fills our souls. It gives breath to our laughter and joy. It gives voice to our songs. It gives us strength as we race for our dreams. ... Yes, as we gather together this Thanksgiving to ask the Lord's blessings, as we of whatever faith we are give praises to His name, let us thank Him for our peace, prosperity, and freedom.


Happy Thanksgiving!

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Another special session?

PVal in the Trib:
"Based on what I'm seeing now, I think a special session is warranted. I don't want to do it. I don't want to be there during the holidays," said Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem. "But on the same token, I recognize that we really do try to be prudent with the way we operate in this state and if the numbers are going down … we need to do it now rather than later."
Read the entire article.

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Presidential Pardon

The National Thanksgiving Turkey will receive his annual Presidential Pardon from President George W. Bush TODAY.

Watch live on the Turkey Cam at 4:00 p.m. (the turkey will celebrate by going to Disneyland).

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Gang-free zones?

The Standard Examiner:

Senator Greiner's "Prohibited Activities of Gang Members" would
". . . allow law enforcement to order gang members to leave areas designated by a legislative body, such as a city council, as gang-free.

"Those who refused to disperse or who return to the same place within eight hours of being told to leave could be charged with a misdemeanor."

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Inside the Judge Hilder Vote

By Lyle Hillyard
Senator, District 25

I was disappointed to read in the Deseret News this morning a report that Gov. Huntsman believes that legislative leadership used the promise of committee assignments to influence Senators to vote against the confirmation of Judge Hilder to the Utah Court of Appeals. That is so unlikely in my mind that I felt that I needed to respond because such comments may make the process even more difficult for the public and attorneys who apply for such positions to understand the nature of how separation of powers work under our Constitution.

First, as I explained as a member of the Judicial Confirmation Committee, when I made the motion to confirm Judge Hilder, I had some reservation about his demeanor, how his case for confirmation was presented to us, and comments he had made to the press about cases that, while his involvement may have been concluded, were still pending in the judicial process and his earlier involvement and thus these comments could impact the case. These reservations did not rise, in my mind to the level that his years of great service and conduct were invalid. I knew that President-elect Waddoups and his team of new leaders were meeting beginning very early Wednesday morning to complete the committee assignments just before the crucial vote. I was asked by President-elect Waddoups just before the noon confirmation hearing to serve as the Senate Chair of Executive Appropriations, probably the most important appointed Chair in the upcoming session. He knew my position of support, but I was never asked to switch to a "no" vote. I would expect that if this “switch for position” scenario was going on, I would have heard about it, as I was a "yes" vote.

Second, I told President Valentine right after the Committee Confirmation vote of 3-2 that Judge Hilder’s confirmation was in trouble. That was based on what had happened during the Senate process and the large number of contacts we were receiving mainly against his confirmation and not just because of the gun decision. I was called by Pres. Valentine and polled to see how I was voting so he could report back to the Gov. I was called again on Friday with the same question as verification. In both discussions with Pres. Valentine, I was told that the votes were clearly against confirmation but we never discussed who was voting how nor was I asked to change my vote from support. Pres. Valentine is ending his term as Senate President and would have nothing to do with the new assignments for the upcoming session. The vote on the floor was within one vote of what Pres. Valentine thought (one more voted to confirm).

Third, it was the current Senate membership that voted, not the Senate body that will assume office next January. There were 6 lame ducks who will not be here in January. Three voted to confirm, two voted no and one was absent because of illness so his vote was considered a no. None of them had anything to gain with a committee assignment in 2009.

Fourth, I know these men and women well and know they have needed to gain support for controversial bills and budget proposals against some strong opposition. I have never seen threats of withholding support for something they wanted or a promise of a benefit be a successful tactic. When tried by some, it has generally resulted in the long run to be very detrimental. President-elect Waddoups is much smarter than that.

Were there some who were on the fence and looked to leadership both past and present for guidance? Probably yes, but I did not hear Pres. Valentine ever forcefully express how he was voting in an effort to persuade another's vote. I would not have been surprised to have seen him vote to confirm until I heard of a last minute confrontation he had experienced from the Judge.

You need to remember that there are only 6 attorneys in the Senate’s 29 membership. Four voted to confirm and two voted against confirmation. Had the founders of the Constitution wanted confirmation to be strictly based on legal opinion they could have written that confirmation be made only by the attorneys. This process in the only time that the public has any input. I have often asked people who show up at “the last minute” with concerns and the general reaction is that they did not know about it until they saw the report about the Judicial Confirmation hearing and they were shocked that the Governor would appoint such a person but these people had never been asked. Two groups of attorneys seem to raise the most opposition to judicial appointments – sitting judges - because they have judicial decisions on record and county attorneys because the cases they choose to file and not file are quite public. In my 24 years of service in the Senate, I cannot remember a nominee receiving such opposition. I warned the Governor’s staff, when I was called about the 7 names referred to the Governor, that if Judge Hilder were nominated because of the notoriety over the gun decision that the Governor needed to be prepared to actively go to bat for him because there would be some opposition and explaining to do. Had it just been the gun decision, I believe he could have overcome the concerns. But things are never that simple when Senators, who must report back to the people they represent and not just the attorneys in the Senate, most of whom are from Salt Lake, about a confirmation vote to a person who is nominated to serve on a court that will make law for the State.

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Looking for a Holiday Job?

Hope you have your passport.

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Utah's Amber Alert

Donors to the Utah Amber Alert program will receive a tax write-off. Davis Chamber of Commerce is a recent donor.

Click here to learn more about the Amber Alert program in Utah.

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Irony

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Word from Carlene Walker

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Cruising Washington Boulevard

"You met girls there, you did things there, you got in fights there. All that kind of stuff," said Jon Greiner, Ogden's chief of police.

Greiner speaks from his own experience -- he spent his youth dragging the streets.
Times are changing. The Standard Examiner talks about cruising in Ogden, then and now.

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No CEU-USU Merger

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Rules Committee

Senate President-elect Waddoups discusses his appointment of Senator Dayton as Rules Committee Chair on KCPW:
"Waddoups says he appointed facilitators, not obstructionists. And he says bills don't get hung up in the committee, rather its where the most important are prioritized for Senate consideration. . . .

"'She is one that I think can stand up to pressures applied to her to do the right thing for the state. She adds some geographic balance to the leadership team. Plus, I think it's important to make a statement that we value the role of a woman in our caucus, too, because 50 percent of our state or more are women," Waddoups says. "And she's the only Republican woman in our caucus, and I value that input.'"

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Higher Ed tuition credit?

How about we give college students some extra credit (tax credit, that is...). Might help.

Listen in on the discussion from Wednesday's Rev & Tax meeting.

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Road construction on hold

Roads on hold. Here's the list.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Senate Committee Assignments

Hey. The newly elected Senate Leadership Team met today to make committee assignments for the "58th Legislature" (2009 & 2010). Here's the list:

STANDING COMMITTEES
(PDF)
Business and Labor
John Valentine, Chair
Dan Liljenquist
Wayne Niederhauser
Steve Urquhart
Kevin VanTassell
Gene Davis
Karen Mayne

Education
Curtis Bramble, Chair
Margaret Dayton
Lyle Hillyard
Scott Jenkins
Howard Stephenson
Brent Goodfellow
Karen Morgan

Government Operations & Political Subdivisions
Peter Knudson, Chair
Greg Bell
Jon Greiner
Scott Jenkins
Dan Liljenquist
Scott McCoy
Luz Robles

Health and Human Services
Chris Buttars, Chair
Greg Bell
Allen Christensen
David Hinkins
Pat Jones
Luz Robles

Judiciary, Law Enforcement, & Criminal Justice
Chris Buttars, Chair
Jon Greiner
Lyle Hillyard
Mark Madsen
Michael Waddoups
Scott McCoy
Ross Romero

Natural Resources, Agriculture, & Environment
Dennis Stowell, Chair
Allen Christensen
Margaret Dayton
Ralph Okerlund
Gene Davis
Karen Morgan

Revenue and Taxation
Wayne Niederhauser, Chair
Curtis Bramble
Howard Stephenson
Dennis Stowell
John Valentine
Brent Goodfellow
Ross Romero

Transportation & Public Utilities & Technology
Steve Urquhart, Chair
David Hinkins
Sheldon Killpack
Peter Knudson
Kevin VanTassell
Brent Goodfellow
Karen Mayne

Retirement & Independent Entities
Dan Liljenquist, Co-Chair
Curtis Bramble
Jon Greiner
Gene Davis

Workforce Services & Community and Economic Development
Mark Madsen, Chair
Sheldon Killpack
Ralph Okerlund
Michael Waddoups
Pat Jones
Karen Morgan

Senate Rules
Margaret Dayton, Chair
Chris Buttars, Vice-Chair
Curtis Bramble
Peter Knudson
Mark Madsen
Gene Davis
Scott McCoy



JOINT APPROPRIATION SUBCOMMITTEES (PDF)
Executive Appropriations
Lyle Hillyard, Chair
Peter Knudson, Vice-Chair
Michael Waddoups
Sheldon Killpack
Scott Jenkins
Greg Bell
Pat Jones
Ross Romero
Karen Mayne
Luz Robles

Capital Facilities & Government Operations
Wayne Niederhauser, Co-Chair
Curtis Bramble
Brent Goodfellow

Commerce & Workforce Services
David Hinkins, Co-Chair
Dan Liljenquist
Karen Mayne

Economic Development & Revenue
Ralph Okerlund, Co-Chair
Sheldon Killpack
Gene Davis

Executive Offices & Criminal Justice
Jon Greiner, Co-Chair
Michael Waddoups
Scott McCoy

Health & Human Services
Allen Christensen, Co-Chair
Margaret Dayton
Dan Liljenquist
Pat Jones

Higher Education
John Valentine, Co-Chair
Greg Bell
Steve Urquhart
Ross Romero

Natural Resources
Dennis Stowell, Co-Chair
David Hinkins
Brent Goodfellow

Public Education
Howard Stephenson, Co-Chair
Chris Buttars
Lyle Hillyard
Karen Morgan

Retirement and Independent Entities
Dan Liljenquist, Co-Chair
Curtis Bramble
Jon Greiner
Gene Davis

Transportation/Environmental Quality/National Guard
Kevin VanTassell, Co-Chair
Scott Jenkins
Peter Knudson
Mark Madsen
Luz Robles

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Governor's Appointees

The Senate voted on 3 judicial appointments this afternoon:
  1. Christine S. Johnson - Fourth District Court
  2. Marvin D. Bagley - Sixth District Court
  3. Robert K. Hilder - Court of Appeals
Christine Johnson and Marvin Bagley were confirmed; Robert K. Hilder was not.

Other Gubernatorial Appointments confirmed by the Senate today:
  • Clark B. Hinckley: Member of the Health Data Committee
  • Gregory P. Poulsen: Member of the Health Data Committee
  • David D. Call: Member of the Health Data Committee
  • Jim M. Wall: Member of the Health Data Committee
  • Kevin Craig Orton: Member of the Health Data Committee
  • Joseph Stewart Paulick: Member of the Board of Water Resources
  • Blair R. Francis: Member of the Board of Water Resources
  • James K. Smith: Member of the Youth Parole Authority
  • Preston Lynn Paxman: Member of the Grand County Water Conservancy District Board of Directors
  • Iris E. Hemenway: Member of the Board of Pardons and Parole

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Goodbye Senators

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Wednesday

Welcome to Interim Wednesday! Here's the calendar.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The single greatest moment of my life



New Utah videos here. Thanks to Dave Fletcher for the heads-up.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

The Late Dix McMullin

By Lyle Hillyard
Senator, District 25

I was saddened last week to hear of the passing of Dix McMullin, but not surprised. When his wife Renae died about a month before, it was hard for me to imagine them being apart for long because of their closeness in life.

I first met Dix when I was elected to the House of Representatives where he was serving. Two years later, he ran for the Senate in a seat that had been created by reapportionment. The growth in the South Jordan area had been so great in the 10 years since reapportionment that the new Senate seat was actually smaller than the House seat he had held. The other Republican candidate for that seat was Mac Haddow, also a sitting House member. Because Mac was so well spoken and highly involved in campaigning, many people thought that he would win easily. But Dix prevailed, thus showing the deep respect people had for him in that area.

When I was elected to the Senate, I remember Dix calling me to say that he was running for Majority Whip and would appreciate my support. This is quite different from what is done now to campaign for leadership (see my previous post). He was elected and then I was selected to serve as the Senate Chair of Executive Appropriations, so I had the chance to work closely with him and the other members of leadership. I quickly learned to appreciate his wisdom and integrity. He was a very effective member of the leadership team and understood so well the budget issues that I appreciated his insight and help. Later, he ran for President and failed but still remained a good member of the body helping others and those who replaced him.

After he left the Senate, he would return on occasion as a lobbyist for various organizations. He was always well informed and presented his issues in a very comfortable way. He never abused his past position as a Senator and welcomed my insight of what was going on and how it affected the clients he represented.

I will miss the friendship my wife and I had with him and Renae. The people in the area he represented will also miss the quiet way he helped them out. He always cared for the issues that impacted his friends and neighbors.

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Word from Anderson Cooper

CNN's Anderson Cooper, in Utah this weekend:

"It is only by seeing a situation from as many angles as possible that you can possibly understand a story."

(Hence the inestimable value of the Utah Bloghive.)

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leadership Elections

By Lyle Hillyard
Senator, District 25

I have heard that people are surprised at the outcomes of the elections for both Republican and Democrat leaders last Friday. Having observed this process over the years, both as a voter and a candidate, I can say that the day of the voting event is always stressful. You feel as though you could vote for either of the candidates, your colleagues, who are running.

In my first election for Senate leadership, a call would be placed from the candidate stating that he was running and asking for my support. These days, it is not unusual for the candidate to ask for an actual commitment. That puts the non-candidate at a huge disadvantage. If he or she refuses to make a commitment and the candidate is successful, there is a strong likelihood that he or she will not get the assignments they want in the upcoming session. On the other hand, the other candidate may discover that commitment and fail to give you those assignments you want anyway, if the one to whom you have pledged your support does not win. That is why the two candidates tend to count more votes than there are senators.

Emotionally, it would be nice to know how many votes you have before the election because no one likes to be at the table when the results are announced and the winner not be you, especially when you felt you had been promised the votes. Learning to be a good loser as well as a good winner is pertinent because things could change the next time around and the results could be reversed.

In spite of all the problems, it never ceases to amaze me that despite weaknesses in all of the candidates for leadership, everyone can rally to support the newly-elected leadership. May I wish Michael and Pat and their respective leadership teams congratulations on their victories and may we enter a very difficult session with the commitment to work together in the best interest of the state. As my good friend and former State Senator Chick Bullen told me, during elections, we are Republicans and Democrats but after the election, we should be good Utahns working together for the good of the State and its people. Get ready for an interesting few months.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Ten

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Monday, November 10, 2008

KCPW on New Senate Leadership

KCPW: Jeff Robinson talks about new leaders in the Senate.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

KSL on Leadership

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Senator McCoy

In today's New York Times:
"I do not hate the L.D.S. church, nor any of its members and neither should you,” said one of the speakers, Senator Scott McCoy, Democrat of Utah, and one of three openly gay Utah legislators. “The way to deal with this problem is to love more, not hate."

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New web page

Greg just added the new leadership page to our official site.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

New Leadership Team

Tonight, the Utah Senate elected a new leadership team for the next 2 years:
Senate President: Michael Waddoups
Majority Leader: Sheldon Killpack
Majority Whip: Scott Jenkins
Assistant Majority Whip: Greg Bell




The new team talked with media reps after the caucus. Listen in on SenateRadio (or download the MP3 ).

The Senate Minority also elected new leadership today:
Minority Leader: Pat Jones
Minority Whip: Ross Romero
Assistant Minority Whip: Karen Mayne
Senate Minority Caucus Manager: Luz Robles

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Leadership Races

The Senate Majority Caucus will meet on Friday to select a leadership team for the next two years (a.k.a., The 58th Legislature).

We'll post the results here on the Senate Site Friday night.

Daily Herald

Salt Lake Tribune

KSL

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For the Gee Whiz File

From Glenden Brown at OneUtah:
As of this election, Utah is no longer the most Republican state in the US - that honor goes to Oklahoma with Wyoming in second place . . . . Obama did better in Utah than any Democrat has done for decades.

[Update:] These election maps put the vote in perspective.

Hat tip to Tyler Whitaker.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Changes

Come January, the senate will welcome six new members. Need a list?

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Election Results

The Trib's election results pages are easy to read at a glance. Click on a county in the right-hand column and then select a category in the tabs at the top.

And here is the LG's Utah Election Results page.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"The Day Long-Awaited"

In today's Utah Policy Daily:

The Day Long-Awaited


Happy election day! Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Get out and vote. It will be fun to watch the returns. My guess is some local races will go down to the wire and we won’t know final results until the wee hours. Will the presidential race be close? We’ll see tonight.

Congratulations to all the candidates who had the guts and that slight touch of insanity to jump in to politics. Whether you get 50% of the vote (plus 1) tonight, or not, you’re a winner. America’s system of government only works if good people seek political office. So thanks for running.

Tonight’s Parties


-- Big party for Democrats: Downtown Radisson, 215 West South Temple, 8 p.m.


-- Big party for Republicans: Grand America, 555 S. Main, 8 p.m.


-- Big party for Libertarians: Mo's Neighborhood Grill, 358 South West Temple. 8p.m.


-- U of U students: Crimson View Room (Olpin Student Union Building), 6 pm – midnight, sponsored by Hinckley Institute of Politics, ASUU and the Union Programming Council. Food, drinks, live broadcasts of incoming election results.


-- Young Democrats of Utah: Radisson Hotel, 215 West South Temple, across hall from main Democratic party.


-- Utah Senate Republicans: Venezia Room, Grand America, 8 p.m.


-- 2nd District GOP congressional candidate Bill Dew: Ballroom C in Grand American Hotel, 8:30 to midnight.


-- ‘Renew the Zoo’ campaign: EdZoocation Station, 6-11p.m. All zoo friends are invited.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Amendments on the Ballot

You need to vote on five amendments to the state constitution. Want a synopsis?
  • Amendment A sets in stone a process to determine disability and fill vacancies in the offices of the Governor or Lieutenant Governor, should the need arise. Here's a PDF of the Voters Guide info and the world's shortest advocacy blurb by future-senator Steve Urquhart.
  • Amendment B. The state has a Permanent Trust Fund, established in 2001. Right now the only real money going into it is from the 1998 tobacco settlement. How about opening it up a little to include some taxes we get from natural gas, oil and mining? That source of income won't last forever - but if we save some in an interest-bearing account . . . maybe it will. More info here, including Senator Lyle Hillyard's synopsis (the bill sponsor always gets first right to explain the bill in the Voters Guide).
  • Amendment C. We get killed every year for convening the legislative session on the same day the nation celebrates Martin Luther King's birthday. Problem is, the State Constitution - which pre-dates MLK / Human Rights Day, BTW - specifically dictates the start date. We voted to change it, but it's a constitutional amendment so you need to approve the change too. Please. Find complete info, plus Senate President John Valentine's explanation here.
  • Amendment D. Utah is required to draw new legislative boundaries in the legislative session immediately following the Census. The next census is 2010 so, technically, we need to redistrict in the 2011 session. Problem is, the results aren't available until the spring of 2011 - long after session is over. This amendment says we'll redistrict in the legislative session after census results are available. Read Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble's explanation here.
  • Amendment E would allow the state to invest some School Trust Land money into stocks and bonds of private companies - within the safety margins dictated by the prudent investor standard imposed by law. Almost-certain Bottom line: more $$ for education. House Majority Leader Dave Clark and Utah State Treasurer Ed Alter write about it here.

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