Welcome to The Senate Site

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trib: Putting a lid on out-of-state trips

In case you missed it over Christmas break, Robert Gehrke posted some research on the legislature's travel budget.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Legislator Pay Cut

Remember Utah State Legislators rejected last year's recommendation from the Legislative Compensation Commission? They went even further and cut their own salary by 10 percent.

I don't know who Get the Facts People is but he (or she) makes it easy to respond to this dumb frenzy.
Get the Facts People! | 10:33 a.m. Dec. 16, 2009

They won't take the pay raise. Are you all ignoring the fact that they took a 10% cut last year?

They're NOT paid for 365 days. Not even close. They're paid for the days they are in session and for the 8 or 9 interim days during the rest of the year.

Personally knowing how much my state Senator and Representatives work and how much they are paid for their time, it probably works out to be $2 an hour. Seriously.

And to the people who are recommending we abolish "full-time state legislators"- no need. We don't have full time state legislators. These people all have other full-time jobs that they have to do in addition to managing the "best-run state" in the nation (see Forbes magazine). Utah is in a far better place financially than the states that DO have full-time legislators (like California).

Utah has what is called a citizen legislature. Why don't you learn the facts about your state's government before bashing it?
This one seems apt as well:
Stop hyperventilating | 11:57 a.m. Dec. 16, 2009
Stop whining you bunch of self-righteous ninnies. This ridiculous article is stirring up a problem where there is not a problem. NO ONE is talking about a pay raise. It is automatic and the legislature DECLINED it last year (and actually REDUCED their salaries in addition). I guarantee you that they will DECLINE it again this year. So, stop getting all worked up. Our state legislators make very little and we have a well-run state. Sheeesh people. Think about the facts before you get all worked up over something that has NOT even happened.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love in the Senate

So, it appears Big Love's Bill Henrickson is contemplating a run for the Utah State Senate (see 4th paragraph). Best of luck to him.

Every senator in Utah serves with a strong, supportive spouse at their side. Mr. Henrickson - it appears - has at least that much going for him.

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2010 Budget Work

We met yesterday to wrap our heads around the budget situation and start the work of the 2010 session. The next round of revenue estimates will be available in February and we'll post them here on the Senate Site. In the meantime we're going to budget just a little tighter than we hope our income will be, just to be safe.

Robert Gehrke and Bob Bernick have the key details, here and here.

KCPW posted a good quick analysis of the Exec Approps meeting, with insight from our budget chairs, Representative Bigelow and Senator Hillyard.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Senator Steve Urquhart :: All Star Blogger

You know him as the senator who doesn't want to raise taxes, but NCSL (the National Conference of State Legislatures) knows him as one of America's All Star Legislative Bloggers.


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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Live Stream: Governor Herbert's budget proposal

The work of the next legislative session kicks into a higher gear Friday when Governor Herbert announces his budget proposals. 11:00 a.m. You can watch the live-stream here:

Or go to UtahSenate.org and click the video tab. Would love to hear your comments on the proposal. If you tweet, use the #utpol tag so we can hear you.

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Senate seeks public comment on Fourth District Judicial Nominee

December 10, 2009

Senate to Consider Confirmation of Mr. Thomas L. Low as a Judge of the Fourth District Court

The governor has appointed Mr. Thomas L. Low as a Judge of the Fourth District Court.

Senate Rule 24.04.1 establishes the procedures of the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee. That rule requires the committee to hold public meetings prior to full Senate action. To assist in determining the scope of that public hearing, Senator Scott K. Jenkins, Chair of the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee, is seeking public comment regarding the appointment of Mr. Low.

Anyone desiring to submit comment on this appointee is invited to contact Mr. Jerry D. Howe at the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, Utah State Capitol Complex, House Building, Suite W210, P.O. Box 145210, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-5210, by 5:00 p.m., Thursday, December 31, 2009. Statements from the public should include the presenter's name, telephone number, and mailing address.

In addition to Chair Jenkins (R-Plain City), the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee is comprised of four other members: Senator Jon J. Greiner (R-Ogden), Senator Lyle W. Hillyard (R-Logan), Senator Karen Mayne (D-West Valley City), and Senator Michael G. Waddoups (R-West Jordan).

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President Waddoups on the Budget Outlook

From KCPW:
"Tomorrow, Governor Gary Herbert will release his 2011 budget proposal. If he’s true to his word, it will contain no tax or fee increases. But how much will that influence the legislature, which has to do most of the heavy lifting on the budget during the legislative session from January to March?"

KCPW’s Jeff Robinson spoke with President Michael Waddoups about the possibility of a tax hike. Click here to read the whole article and listen to the audio.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I-15 Reconstruction: Lehi to Spanish Fork

More bang for your buck. Originally we (you) were going to fund and build I-15 from American Fork to Provo for $1.7 Billion. Now - due to the economy and other factors - UDOT can build it from Lehi to Spanish fork for the same price. It might even be done by Christmas, 2012.

Go to the project web site for more information. UDOT press release:

UDOT Announces Next Milestone for I-15 CORE Expansion Project
Provo River Constructors Selected to Reconstruct I-15 from Lehi Main Street to Spanish Fork Main Street; Construction to Begin this Spring

SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 9, 2009) - UDOT today announced the contractor team that will build the Utah County I-15 Corridor Expansion (I-15 CORE), which will include improvements from the Lehi Main Street interchange to the Spanish Fork Main Street interchange.

Provo River Constructors (PRC), a consortium of expert local, regional and national contractors and engineers, proposed the greatest value solution within the fixed budget. The team is headed by Fluor Corporation, Ames Construction Company, Inc., Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company, Inc. and Wadsworth Brothers Construction Company, Inc., who all have experience working on large transportation projects in Utah and other areas of the country.

“Each proposal was meticulously reviewed and rated in areas of project scope, schedule and plan for mitigating traffic inconveniences during construction,” said Dal Hawks, I-15 CORE project director. “PRC proposed innovative and creative strategies, while upholding UDOT’s quality, mobility and safety standards.”

I-15 CORE expands the freeway by two lanes in both directions from Lehi Main Street to Spanish Fork Main; extends the express lane from University Parkway in Orem to Spanish Fork; rebuilds and reconfigures 10 freeway interchanges; replaces and restores 55 bridges; and provides additional improvements that will meet or exceed travel demands through the year 2030 including using 40-year concrete pavement along the entire corridor.

The contractor team also set an aggressive timeline designed to minimize inconvenience to the public. PRC anticipates starting construction in spring 2010 and completing construction as early as December 2012. PRC will maintain the current number of lanes of traffic open both southbound and northbound during the majority of construction.

The 2009 Utah State Legislature approved a $1.725 billion bond to expand and rebuild I-15 CORE.

RESOURCES (Available after 2 p.m. today): Additional I-15 CORE information can be found on the project Web site, www.i15core.utah.gov, including project maps and a video flyover of the project area.


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Monday, December 07, 2009

Rubber Hits the Road

The Governor releases his proposed budget this Friday.

Here's Max Roth re: The 2010 Question (taxes v. cuts) and the latest UPD Insiders Poll:

Senator Urquhart talks budget and makes a case for no new taxes on StevU.com:
Because Utah balances its budget, the money is real. A dollar really is a dollar. Depending on tax policy, each dollar can either be in the pocket of the person who earned it, or it can be collected and shifted to someone else. Utah already takes too many dollars out of people's pockets. Each additional dollar we take is one less dollar that the worker could have spent on food, shelter, charity, business development, etc. Government simply does not multiply the benefits of a dollar like the owner of a dollar does. Thus, while taking additional dollars out of people's pockets could work to shore up the State's budget issues, it would not be in the long-term best interests of Utah's citizens or economy.
Read the comments too.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Senator Dayton: What the Jobs Summit Missed

By Margaret Dayton
Utah State Senator

On Thursday I attended the ribbon cutting for APX Alarm's new cooperate headquarters and conference center. It was interesting to me that the event coincided with the so-called Job Summit being held by the White House. As I looked around the room, I realized that there could easily be more brains and expertise at the APX event than were gathered at the White House. While this may sound presumptuous, I truly think it is reasonable to say that private business, entrepreneurs, and the hard working ambitious individual Americans have much more effect on the job market than the federal govt.

The jobs government is best at creating are more govt and bureaucratic jobs which impede growth of the economy. The federal government doesn't - and shouldn't - manufacture, build homes, or create businesses. So when the impressive leaders at APX had economic-guru Mitt Romney attending their event, and the governor representing a state that does not function in the red - but promotes a business friendly environment, it is realistic to say that the White House Job Summit folks could have learned a lot at yesterdays event!

Pictured, above, are Todd Petersen (the man who, frustrated at being turned down as a salesman, focused his frustration on creating his own company - which now employees several thousand people), Governor Herbert, Mitt Romney, myself - a proud promoter of less govt regulation and lower taxes, President Matt Holland of UVU, VP Val Hale of UVU who helps to promote the UVU Small Business Development Center, Provo's mayor-elect John Curtis and Deputy Mayor Cory Norman.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

New Senator for District Two

Senator McCoy resignation was effective 36 minutes ago.

So. . . people living in Senate District Two now need a senator. Word from the SLCounty Dems says that election will take place:
Saturday, December 19th, 2009
2:00 p.m. (Doors open at 1:30)
Salt Lake County Council Chambers
2001 S State St, North Building
County delegates for the Democratic Party who live in Senate District 2 (all 164 of you) are eligible to vote. Anyone with questions can Email Justin Miller or call him at 801-573-8810

Mechanics from the Democrat Party’s Constitution:
“If two candidates are on the ballot and one candidate receives sixty percent (60%) of the votes, that person shall be declared the nominee. If two or more candidates are on the ballot, and no candidates receive at least sixty percent (60%) of the vote, a second vote will take place between the two (2) candidates receiving the highest number of votes. The candidate with a majority of votes on the second ballot shall be declared the nominee.”
The name chosen will then be sent to the Governor. He'll send us an appointment letter and we'll and then we'll swear the new senator in.

Worth thinking about: People used to fight small wars over transfers of power like this. Now we get together, listen, think, and vote.

Here's the press release.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Senator Hillyard: Commercial Value of Utah’s Biodiversity

By Lyle Hillyard
Utah State Senator, District 25

Dr. Ned Weinshenker, who is the Vice President of Strategic Ventures and Economic Development at USU and oversees USU’s USTAR program, brought to my attention the importance of protecting the commercial value of the unique organisms present in Utah on public lands.

Plants and microbes found in some of the harsh conditions in Utah (e.g. Great Salt Lake, deserts, salt flats and oil shale) have unusual properties and have been found useful for production of high value chemicals such as biodiesel and jet fuel. Ned raised a concern that these organisms are so unique and helpful that it would be a great financial loss to Utah if they were developed out of state in competition to our efforts.

His initial thought was that we should enact legislation to have collectors of such organisms register their efforts and if a commercial product results, royalties would be paid back to the State. If they were to develop them in Utah, no royalty would be necessary. Ned has set up a Scientific Advisory Committee to help with drafting the concept. I have accepted his advice and will probably be filing a bill to accomplish this in the upcoming session.

As I become better acquainted with the research going on at USU and the U of U, thanks in large part to our USTAR investment, I like to wonder what people will think in 20 years from now when these cutting edge research initiatives are complete and the processes and products they produce are common place.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Got Talent? Tenacity? Reckless Idealism?

The Utah Senate is looking for a good communications assistant/intern for the upcoming legislative session.

Ideally, we're looking for someone who can fly the New Media sky like a falcon and write politics like Jim Morrison. This internship fixates on the tools at hand to educate and engage Utah citizens in the legislative process.

It's a eight week gig, January to March. Full time. The pay is marginal but the experience is solid.

Call me at 801-538-1035 or send an Email message.

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Sen. Buttars: Don't believe everything you hear

By Chris Buttars
Utah State Senator, District 10

Contrary to recent reports by the media, I am not considering co-sponsoring any of the "common ground" legislation brought forth by Equality Utah or it’s supporters.

I will continue to defend traditional marriage. I am totally committed to preserve the fundamental political and moral principles that have made this nation strong. And I would strongly oppose any bills that challenge those principles.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Senator McCoy to Resign

December 1, 2009

Citing the need to focus on his legal career and earn a living for his family, Senator will resign post Friday

SALT LAKE CITY - Today Senator Scott McCoy confirmed that he will resign his position in the Utah Senate, effective Friday, December 4th. This afternoon McCoy issued the following statement to explain his decision to the residents of his district.
"I’ve been honored to serve the citizens of Utah and of District 2 for the last four years. My time in the Senate has been profoundly rewarding, but also an enormous personal sacrifice. The senators and representatives of Utah really make a terrific commitment of their time for the benefit of this state. It’s not just during the 45 days of the session. It’s every day and night. It’s during interims and constituent phone calls. My hat is off to my 103 colleagues who make this sacrifice day in and day out, every year.

"I’ve personally come to a crossroads in my career where I need to devote my full time and energy to the practice of law. To do any less is a disservice to my firm and my family. Unfortunately, I simply cannot find the necessary time to be a successful attorney and give the time and energy to fully represent the residents of my district.

"I’m very proud of the work I was able to accomplish as a Senator. We changed important policies, opened many minds, and broke down many barriers. Certainly, there is much more to be done. But for now, I need to leave that work in other capable hands."
Senator Scott McCoy has represented Senate District 2, which includes Downtown Salt Lake City, Capitol Hill and the Avenues, for the past 4 years.

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