Last Saturday, I attended a regional conference about the future of Bear Lake. I heard on the radio station that as of the morning of June 28th, the Bear Lake area had received over 4.6 inches of rain this June, beating the last record by over an inch. I was disappointed to see that the Lake had not come up very much. It was certainly sunny and warm yesterday for the conference.
During the conference, we discussed the unbelievable growth in both private homes and recreational properties, including hotels, and the public safety issues that surround the lake. The growth has slowed down this past year but is poised to take off again. If you are thinking of buying a place at Bear Lake, now is the time to make the investment. The local communities have worked hard to install sewer systems along the West shore and improve the water. The big problem is there are so few homeowners and tax base that these improvements prove very costly to those who actually own property there. A representative from the Lake Tahoe oversight group was there to discuss what they had done and the mistakes made as they tried to preserve that body of water. There needs to be more investment from State and Federal governments into the infrastructure to preserve this asset. It was refreshing to see the cooperation between the local Utah and Idaho officials. Bear Lake is about 50/50 in each state.
The second issue we discussed deals with public safety. It was best stated by Commissioner Bill Cox from Rich County: We have about 2,000 citizens most of the year but on the 4th and 24th of July, we have about 30,000. Our sheriff can’t handle the bump. Many people travel from Wyoming through Utah and vice versa buying these goods in Wyoming so there is no Utah tax collected and then they use it in Utah causing more of a problem for law enforcement. Rich County is rich in people but poor in money. They have a low property tax base and little sales tax base. So the need for extra law enforcement is a real problem.
Another public safety problem is a recent Idaho Supreme Court case involving Rich County. The Rich County police chased a felon in their county and he ended up in Idaho, where he hit and seriously injured some people innocently parked at side of the road. The Idaho Court held that the Idaho officers were covered by governmental immunity, but not the Utah officers. This means that the Utah officers and other official governmental employees dare not go into Idaho. They shared a story of a woman carried by a Utah ambulance to the Idaho line and then they had to wait until the ambulance arrived from Montpelier and a transfer could be made. Idaho personnel can come into Utah without exposure. I want to see if we can help with any Utah enactment. Legislators from Idaho promised action in the upcoming session in their state. This is now a problem along our entire northern border and has implications for Snowville. What if someone is injured just north of the Utah/Idaho line and must wait until the ambulance arrives from Burley? The Lake knows no boundary.
Overall, the conference was a great way to recognize and try to work out some issues so that all may enjoy the Great Bear Lake!
By Scott Jenkins Utah State Senator, District 20 Senate Majority Whip
Here's a simple outline of how Utah policy relating to illegal immigrants will change, beginning July 1st. SB 81 was passed in 2008. Since then, two 2009 bills (HB 64 and SB 39) modified the original language.
Requires county sheriff to make a reasonable effort to determine the citizenship status of a person confined to a county jail for a period of time and to verify the immigration status of a confined foreign national. The presumption, for the purpose of determining the grant or issuance of a bond, is that a person verified by the sheriff's efforts as a foreign national not lawfully admitted to the United States is at risk of flight (Enacts Section 17-22-9.5 of the Utah Code).
Provides that the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission may not grant a restaurant liquor license or private club license to a person who is not lawfully present in the United States (Amends Section 32A-4-103 and 32A-5-103 with new Subsections (7)).
Provides for the creation and issuance of identification documents, such as birth certificates, drivers licenses, identification cards, by public and private entities and requires that those issued by public entities go only to United States citizens, nationals, or legal permanent resident aliens, unless the person provides valid documentary evidence of certain approved or pending immigration status (such as unexpired immigrant or non-immigrant visa status for admission into the United States, pending or approved application for asylum in the United States, or admission into the United States as a refugee). This does not apply to a driving privilege card issued or renewed under Section 53-3-207 or an identification document issued by an institution of higher education that is only valid for use on the institution's campus or facility (Enacts Section 63G-11-102).
Identification documents issued to the exceptions noted above are valid only for the period of time of the person's authorized stay in the United States or for one year from the date of issuance if there is no definite end to the period of authorized stay. This may be renewed if the applicant can show that the status by which they originally qualified for the identification document has been extended by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or the Department of Homeland Security.
Requires public employers to register and use a Status Verification System to verify the federal employment authorization status (citizenship or immigration status) of a new employee, and provides that a public employer may not enter into a contract for the physical performance of services within the state unless the contractor registers and participates in the Status Verification System to verify the work eligibility status of the contractor's new employees. This also requires the contractor to verify the employment status of new employees who work under the contractor's supervision or direction and a subcontractor who works under the contractor. They must certify, by affidavit, that the subcontractor has verified the employment status of the subcontractor's new employees through the Status Verification System. These provisions do not apply to: (a) contracts entered into prior to July 1, 2009, even if they involve the performance of services within the state on or after that date; or (b) contracts that involve underwriting, remarketing, broker-dealer activities, securities placement, investment advisory, financial advisory, or other financial investment banking services (Enacts 63G-11-103).
Makes it unlawful for an employing entity to discharge a lawful employee working in Utah while retaining an unauthorized alien working in the state in the same job category (63G-11-103).
Requires an agency or political subdivision of the state to verify the lawful presence in the United States of an individual who has applied for a state or local benefit as defined by federal law, or a federal public benefit that is administered by the agency or political subdivision, and provides for exceptions that reflect the exceptions referenced under federal law. Also requires an applicant for a state or local public benefit to certify the applicant's lawful presence in the United States, and provides a penalty for making a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in the certification (Enacts 63G-11-104).
Subject to the availability of funding, provides for the establishment of a Fraudulent Documents Identification Unit by the attorney general for the primary purpose of investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting individuals who participate in the sale or distribution of fraudulent identification documents created and prepared for individuals who are unlawfully residing within the state (Enacts 67-5-22.7).
Requires the attorney general to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Homeland Security for the enforcement of federal immigration and customs laws within the state by state and local law enforcement personnel. Also prohibits a unit of local government from enacting an ordinance or policy that limits or prohibits a law enforcement officer or government employee from communicating or cooperating with federal officials regarding the immigration status of a person within the state. Provides for a private right of action to file for a writ of mandamus to compel a non-compliant local or state government agency to comply with the reporting laws (Enacts 67-5-26).
Makes it a class A misdemeanor for a person to transport into the state or for a distance of 100 miles within the state an alien for commercial advantage or private financial gain knowing that the alien is in the United States in violation of federal law (Enacts 76-10-2701). This newly enacted section does not prohibit: (a) providing charitable or humanitarian assistance by a charitable, educational, or religious organization or its employees, agents, or volunteers using private funds; or (b) a religious denomination or organization or an officer, agent, or member of the denomination or organization from encouraging, inviting, calling, or allowing an alien to perform the vocation of a minister or missionary for the denomination or organization in the United States as a volunteer. It also has a provision that makes it unlawful for a person to knowingly, with intent to violate federal immigration law and for commercial advantage or private financial gain, to conceal, harbor, or shelter from detection an alien illegally present in the country.
Authorizes the Office of the Attorney General to administer and coordinate the operations of a multi-agency strike force to deal with major felony crimes committed within the state related to illegal immigration and human trafficking. Provides for voluntary participation in the strike force by officers of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and state and local law enforcement personnel to more effectively utilize their combined skills, expertise, and resources (Enacts 67-5-22.7).
Provides for the establishment of a Fraudulent Documents Identification Unit in conjunction with the strike force (Repeals 67-5-22.5 enacted in S.B. 81)
IMPACT OF SENATE BILL 39, IMMIGRATION AMENDMENTS, AS ENACTED IN THE 2009 GENERAL SESSION
Defines a contract for purposes of Section 63G-11-103 as an agreement for the procurement of goods or services that is awarded through a request for proposals process with a public employer and includes a sole source contract (limits the scope of SB 81).
Provides for additional exemptions from verification of lawful presence regarding: (a) state public benefit to be given to an individual under Title 49, Utah State Retirement and Insurance Benefit Act; (b) a home loan that will be insured, guaranteed, or purchased by the Federal Housing Administration, the Veterans Administration, or any other federal agency; and (c) a subordinate loan or grant that will be made to an applicant in connection with a home loan that does not require verification under (b).
Provides verification of certification when an applicant for public benefits certifies that the applicant is a qualified alien lawfully present in the United States (amends Section 63G-11-104 of S.B. 81).
During the Executive Appropriations Meeting scheduled for June 16th, we plan to review the revenues for the year. It will only leave another 2 weeks before the State’s fiscal year ends. We will know where the revenue collections ended for May, which is 11 of the 12 months we have budgeted for. We are planning on a shortfall, just in case, but should have enough money set over for FY 2010 to cover it (up to $123.0 M, if needed). That has implications for the FY 2010 budget because any money taken to cover this year means that we will be down at least double for FY 2010.
We have decided not to worry about doing an exact forecast for FY 2010 if the revenues are down because we will need the final revenue collections for the year (not finally collected until about the end of August). The TC-23 will be of some help but there is much more that goes into this work than that. Just in case, please spend all you can for Father’s Day because fathers are great! (...and the State revenue needs all the sales tax collections it can get).
While I enjoy the cool breezes we have had this spring, the rain has really slowed my work in the garden. It seems that when I have time available to work there, it is raining outside or has just stopped, causing it to be too muddy to work. I just need a few warm, sunny days to give the plants a jump start. Although, it looks like I will have a bumper crop of apples and raspberries.
The heavy rain has brought some good to Northern Utah. If you want to see something truly beautiful, take a drive through Sardine Canyon and enjoy the greenery. It makes me feel like I am in Hawaii. Hopefully, the colors this fall will really be spectacular.
Welcome news from the newly upgraded (and really cool) NCSL site:
Obama Releases Memo Upholding States' Authority President tells agency heads to avoid making rules that preempt state law
WASHINGTON -- In an effort re-affirming the administration’s commitment to a strong state-federal partnership, President Barack Obama released guidelines for federal agencies that recognize the role of state laws in the federalist system and discourage future agency preemptions of state laws without a sound legal basis to do so.
The president’s directive says that agencies must respect state laws and only preempt after state prerogatives have been fully examined and where there is authority for preemption in federal law. The memorandum also calls for a review and repeal of any rules or policies issued within the last decade that could usurp state law.
The National Conference of State Legislatures applauds President Obama for his affirmation of the state-federal partnership. This memorandum is a victory for state officials concerned about the erosion of state authority through administrative rule-making.
In Utah, 1 in every 64 adults in Utah is under correctional control of some sort. That puts us in the lowest fifth percentile. Georgia is the highest with a rate of 1 in 13. See NCSL's Prisons are Expensive.
I truly felt mixed emotions when I heard of the nomination of Governor Huntsman to potentially become the United States Ambassador to China. As Utah's Governor, he has been very effective in uniting the people behind strong economic development efforts and the need for better education. This appointment is significant for him, the country and this state. I can see his service being the means of opening up the huge China market to US and Utah businesses. He should be very effective in the crucial US/China relationship and he is still young enough that this will not be a final step in his public service.
What will Gov. Huntsman be remembered for? That is hard to predict at the moment because time has a way of changing the immediate perception. However, he should be thanked for the emphasis on economic development. Some economic development occurs naturally but Gov. Huntsman’s emphasis on this has had a remarkable effect. Also, his support for both public and higher education funding has also been very powerful. His style of governance is much less about confrontation and more about corroboration. He has maintained his tremendous public support with his ability to articulate the issues and offer solutions. He has been able to lead without becoming the focus of the program. He has had a great impact on our state and will be long remembered.
Best wishes for this challenging assignment, Governor, and remember that the people in Utah have appreciated your leadership and look forward to your continued support for this state and its people in the years to come.
Welcome to June. Summer is here. This is the time of year when politics is supposed to take a back seat to vacations and picnics. Instead, we have plenty of interesting politics to watch. This month features the state political party organizing conventions, with Republicans meeting on Saturday, June 13, and Democrats a week later, on June 20. For the Republicans, at least, it will be a time for 2010 gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates to make a splash. This month we will also likely learn the timeline for the confirmation of Gov. Jon Huntsman as ambassador to China. As soon as Huntsman is confirmed, Gary Herbert will likely announce his lieutenant governor pick, and other prospective candidates will also get serious about the race. Until Huntsman is actually confirmed, not much will happen publicly, although plenty of maneuvering will occur behind the scenes. Check out all the week’s political events at the Utah Policy.com calendar.