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Friday, February 26, 2010

Feb. 26, 2010

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action Feb. 26, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
HJR13 Recognition of Community Councils and the Association of Community Councils Together Joint Resolution (Waddoups) passed 23 yea 0 nay votes. On to the Governor's Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
2SHB99 Water Companies and Water Right Change Requests (Valentine) passed 16 yea 9 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

1SSB69 College of Eastern Utah Affiliation with Utah State University (Hinkins) passed 24 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

2SSB274 Online Pharmacy Amendments (Bramble) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

HB294 Health System Reform Amendments (Niederhauser) passed 20 yea 5 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No Changes

Listen/View today’s action HERE
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Protecting Children from Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
February 26, 2010

Senate Bill to Protect Utah Children From Identity Theft

Salt Lake City - Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan) today introduced a bill designed to protect Utah children from identity theft. SB251 - Status Verification Amendments, passed with a favorable recommendation from Senate Business and Labor Standing Committee to the Senate floor on a 6-4 vote.

The bill would require all employers in Utah to use a free, internet-based system, such as E-Verify, to determine the eligibility of employees to work in the United States. E-Verify, which is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration, instantly compares the information from an employee’s I-9 form—including Social Security numbers and birth dates--with more than 504 million immigration and Social Security records.

"This process of matching a birth date and Social Security number makes it impossible for an adult seeking illegal employment to masquerade as a child" said Buttars. “If I provide my employer with a child’s Social Security number, and it comes back matched up with a birth date in 1999, they’re going to know that something’s up.”

He believes E-Verify can save up to 50,000 Utah children from having their credit histories damaged and medical records corrupted. “Illegal employment hurts our children whose identities are often stolen,” said Buttars. “This is a great bill because it protects children, levels the playing field for companies making a good faith effort to hire legal workers, and makes sure jobs go to American citizens and legal residents.”

E-Verify isn’t completely new to Utah. Current law requires all state agencies and companies that contract with the government to use the system. In a Feb. 10 Legislative Brief, the Utah Attorney General’s Office reported that the State’s experience with E-Verify has been extremely positive.

According to the brief, out of more than 8.7 million queries run through the system in fiscal year 2009 and 4.2 million run as of Jan. 30 of this year, only 0.093 percent were false reports, making the system accurate 99 percent of the time.

The State is not the only organization in Utah using the system. More than 1,600 Utah businesses are voluntarily establishing employment eligibility using E-Verify right now.

“It costs more to hire a citizen or legal resident. You have to pay a person at least minimum wage. Those companies who are playing by the rules should not be placed at a disadvantage to those who are breaking the law and paying much less for illegal labor,” said Buttars.

Ronald Mortensen, co-founder Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration, who testified during committee, agrees: “Utahns have consistently called for strong action against employers who illegally hire undocumented workers. This bill does that while protecting our children from those who use their identities to get jobs, loans, and medical care.”

###

For more info on illegal immigration and identity theft, see: www.cis.org/identitytheft.

For a list of employers using E-Verify as of January 26, 2010 click here.

For information and links to sources and other information click here.

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Senator Dayton: Grateful for the Governor's signature on SB 11

By Margaret Dayton
Utah State Senator

SB11 addresses the overreach of the Federal Government. The incremental reduction of freedoms granted to The People is being pushed to intolerable levels. The Firearms Freedom Act – an act being generated in multiple states - illustrates the universal yearning for freedom, and shows The People still feel the spark that inspired our ancestors at Lexington and Valley Forge. My hope is that the march toward tyranny can be turned back with our votes.

Some wonder if this bill, or any other bill in the package of legislation asserting states sovereignty, is the correct vehicle to transport our state sovereignty back to where it was originally intended to be. They should remember that, before Lexington and Concord--the “shots heard around the world,” beforethe Boston tea party, before Valley Forge, there was the Boston Massacre. In that event—one of the very first in our fight for a republic, those who were seeking liberty used ice balls to instigate the battle against the armed British militia men. Nay-sayers can opine that what we are doing is nothing more than lobbing ill-formed balls of ice and snow, but we cannot ignore the significance of what was done 240 years ago.

I am pleased to stand behind Governor Herbert-- a Governor who recognizes and acknowledges that the States standing together to push back federal overreach is not a partisan issue, but a Constitutional issue.

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Press Release: Governor Herbert Signs SB11

From the Governor's Office:

For Immediate Release
Feb. 26, 2010

Governor Herbert Signs SB11

SALT LAKE CITY — After careful deliberation and thorough legal review, Governor Gary R. Herbert has signed SB11, “Utah State-Made Firearms Protection Act.”
In making his decision, the Governor weighed the constitutional aspects of the bill with its fiscal impact on Utah taxpayers.

“There are times when the state needs to push back against continued encroachment from the federal government. Sending the message that we will stand up for a proper balance between the state and federal government is a good thing,” Governor Herbert said. “But in these challenging economic times, when Utah families continue to struggle and our Legislature must account for every dollar it spends, we must also be thoughtful about the cost of that message.”

The Governor has expressed his support for the intent of SB11, sponsored by Sen. Margaret Dayton, which is to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s expansive interpretation of the federal Interstate Commerce Clause and assert Utah’s authority under the U.S. Constitution to regulate wholly intrastate commerce.

“As Governor, I took an oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the State of Utah. I take that responsibility seriously, as well as my obligation to act in a fiscally prudent manner,” the Governor said. “In order to feel comfortable attaching my name to this legislation, I felt it necessary to reconcile the laudable intent of this bill with my responsibilities as Governor.”

As part of a thoughtful review process, the Governor sought opinions and analysis from many legal experts, including, but not limited to, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

“I am satisfied that Utah can stand confidently with other states that are taking a stand against the federal government’s overreach in this area,” he said. “The Attorney General has assured me that, should a legal challenge be filed against the state, his office can take a variety of actions to ensure the defense of this legislation will have a minimal cost to the people of Utah,” Governor Herbert said.

“With the confidence that SB11 will further the dialogue on this important issue without unduly burdening Utah taxpayers, I chose to sign the legislation.”

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Morning Senate Floor Action Feb. 26, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 62 Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage Amendments (Urquhart) passed with 22 yea, 5 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 113 Wireless Telephone Use Restriction for Minors in Vehicles (Romero) passed with 18 yea, 7 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 39 Health Insurance Prior Authorization Amendments (Mayne) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 55 Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions (Adams) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 184 Medicaid Autism Waiver passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 277 Overdose Reporting Amendments passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.J.R. 3 Joint Resolution on Teacher Performance Pay passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 271 Hunting Guides and Outfitters Licensing Act Amendments passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 261 Financial Responsibility of Motor Vehicle Owners and Operators Act Amendments passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 258 Voting Precinct Boundaries passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.J.R. 12 Climate Change Joint Resolution passed with 15 yea, 8 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

1H.J.R. 9 Resolution in Support of Veterans' Nursing Home passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

1H.B. 81 School Employee Criminal Background Check passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 195 Homicide Penalty Amendment passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 25 Health Reform - Administrative Simplification passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 225 Counterfeit Substance Amendments passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.C.R. 1 Concurrent Resolution on International Trade and State Governments passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

1H.B. 207 Protection of Property Amendment passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 52 Health Reform - Uniform Electronic Standards - Insurance Information passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.C.R. 8 Concurrent Resolution on Federal Health Care Reform passed with 23 yea, 4 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
1H.B. 114 Disclosure of Donations to Higher Education Institutions circled. Remains on 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No Changes

Listen/View today’s action HERE
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Media Briefing: Feb. 26

In today's media briefing Senate leadership discussed SB11, made a statement on the ideology of how to plan the budget in relation to the rainy-day fund, and talked on Snowbird joining Sandy City. You can watch the briefing here. Listen here. (mp3)

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Utah's Award Winning Transparency Website

As read by Senator Wayne Niederhauser on the Senate Floor this morning:

During the 2008 General Session we passed SB 38 – the Transparency in Government Bill.

Before the bill took effect, Utah’s paper request process for public financial information made it difficult to access. Senate Bill 38 formed The Utah Transparency Advisory Board and Utah's new transparency Web site.

With the new Web site anyone can now see how Utah spends every taxpayer dollar. Taxpayers can also easily look for efficiencies, fraud and abuse in government spending. The site was launched in May 2009. In addition, last year we passed SB 18 which made Utah the first state in the nation to require localities to provide expenditure data, thus providing taxpayers another level of transparency and accountability in government.

The transparency website received a 2009 GCN (Government Computer News) award for outstanding achievement in the application of information technology. The website was one of 10 national award winners, and the only non-federal project award winner. Award winners were profiled in the October 12 issue of the magazine and on GCN.com. They were also honored at GCN’s 22nd Annual Awards Gala, Thursday, October 22, in Washington, D.C.

Utah Interactive also received a "Best Fit Integrator Award" for 2009 from the Center for Digital Government for both the Utah Transparency Website and the Utah Public Meeting Notice Website.

I would like to introduce the members of the Division of Finance who were honored for their work in bringing all of the state's financial information together:
  • Brenda Lee
  • Mary Lee Hickey
  • John Reidhead, Director of Utah's Division of Finance, who is currently serving as chair of the Utah Transparency Advisory Board
The rest of the transparency advisory board is here with us today:
  • Johnathan Ball, Director, Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and former chair of the Utah -Transparency Advisory Board
  • John Nixon, Executive Director, Governor's Office of Planning and Budget and former vice-chair of the Utah Transparency Advisory Board
  • Stephen Fletcher, Executive Director, Department of Technology Services
  • Myron March, Deputy Court Administrator and member of the Judicial Council
  • Representative Sumsion and I also serve on this board.
Members from Utah Interactive are also here. They helped develop the website:
  • Michael Rice
  • Art Krahenbuhl
  • Jonathon Higley

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Friday Morning Workout

  1. KSL: KSL.com working to keep site safe after malware infects computers
  2. SLTrib: Roadway named after late Sen. Pete Suazo
  3. Senate promotes 3rd District judge to appeals court
  4. KSL: Senate promotes judge to Utah Appeals Court
  5. Davis County Clipper: 2010 Legislature
  6. KCPW: Deadline to Veto Gun Bill Approaching
  7. Roche: Message bills' cost worries Herbert
  8. KCPW: Senators Go Back and Forth on Cell Phone Ban for Teen Drivers
  9. Stewart: Buttars pitches plan to save Jordan schools
  10. KCPW: Committee Votes Down Tobacco Tax Hike
  11. Raymond: One tobacco tax bill snuffed out; another smoldering
  12. SLTrib: Tobacco tax increase fails in committee
  13. KUER: Senators Snuff Out Cigarette Tax , For Now.
  14. Standard Ex: Three separate bills stalled in Legislature may yet find life
  15. DNews: Bill would allow Utah to opt out of federal ID data law
  16. SLTrib: Gun-display bill on road to final passage
  17. KSL: Senate initially OKs climate change resolution
  18. KCPW: Senator: Climate Change Will be Beneficial, if Occurring
  19. McKitrick: Anti-CO2 reduction resolution advances in Senate
  20. DNews: Rainwater could be legally yours
  21. SLTrib: Bill on environmental boards goes to study
  22. DNews: Gov. Herbert says Jordan District split was mistake
  23. ABC4: Governor says Jordan School District should not have split in half
  24. Bernick: Lawmakers, like Olympic athletes, can soar, stumble
  25. SLTrib: Foreign-gift disclosure bill advances
  26. DNews: Senate inches ahead on foreign donor disclosure bill
  27. SLTrib: House passes bill letting cyclists yield at stop signs
  28. Rob Miller: Should there be a ‘John Browning’ holiday in Utah?
  29. Todd Weiler: Should there be a ‘John Browning’ holiday in Utah?
  30. Sausage Grinder: Morning Math -- Fractions edition!
  31. Out of Context: Morning Update

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

GenX in the Legislature

State Legislatures Magazine, February 2010 says, "The emerging generation of legislative staff leaders may change and challenge the way legislatures do business."

Here's an excerpt:
In any workplace setting, but particularly one with a big bureaucracy that has a lot of meetings, this particular generation could become easily frustrated. They don’t want to talk about solving a problem as much as they want to actually solve a problem.
Read the rest here: Web version | Eye candy PDF, including a few good good words from our own Phil Dean, LRGC Policy Analyst Extraordinaire.

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Feb. 25, 2010

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action Feb. 25, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 137 Coordination of Removing, Relocating, or Altering Utilities (Liljenquist) passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 254 Voter Identification Amendments passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.J.R. 19 Joint Resolution Approving Reappointment of Legislative Auditor General passed with 21 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
S.B. 62 Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage Amendments (Urquhart) passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

1H.J.R. 9 Resolution in Support of Veterans' Nursing Home passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 258 Voting Precinct Boundaries passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.C.R. 1 Concurrent Resolution on International Trade and State Governments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.J.R. 12 Climate Change Joint Resolution passed with 18 yea, 8 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 238 Low Speed Vehicle Amendments passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 195 Homicide Penalty Amendment passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

1H.B. 207 Protection of Property Amendment passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 225 Counterfeit Substance Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 25 Health Reform - Administrative Simplification passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 52 Health Reform - Uniform Electronic Standards - Insurance Information passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.C.R. 8 Concurrent Resolution on Federal Health Care Reform passed with 17 yea, 6 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

1H.B. 114 Disclosure of Donations to Higher Education Institutions passed with 22 yea, 2 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
H.B. 74 Adoption and Child Custody Amendments circled. Will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 294 Health System Reform Amendments circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

Listen/View today’s action HERE
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Morning Senate Floor Action Feb. 25, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 189 Capital Facilities Amendments (Bramble) passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 123 Motion Picture Incentive Fund Amendments (Hillyard) passed with 21 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 181 Employment Security Administration Fund Repealer (Hinkins) passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 12 Individual Income Tax Contribution for Methamphetamine Housing Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Fund (Mayne) passed with 15 yea, 11 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 41 Drug Utilization Review Board Amendments (Knudson) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 85 Utah Construction Trade Licensing Act Amendments (Jenkins) passed with 21 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 263 Technical Cross Reference Revisions passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 274 Statutory Construction Compliance Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 43 Unemployment Compensation Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 188 Workers' Compensation Benefits - Social Security Offset passed with 26 yea, 1 nay vote. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 89 License for Controlled Substances Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 21 Expungement Revisions passed with 22 yea, 1 nay vote. Governor's Office next.

H.B. 193 Occupations and Professions Amendments passed with 21 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

2H.B. 70 Retrofit Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles Amendments passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 93 Motorcycle and Off-highway Vehicle Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor's Office.

3H.B. 78 Weapons Revisions passed with 23 yea, o nay votes. On to the Governor's Office.

1H.B. 214 Concealed Firearm Permit Modifications passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor's Office next.

H.B. 54 Property Tax Exemption for Water Facilities passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.J.R. 2 Joint Resolution on Property Tax Exemption for Water Facilities passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 97 Amendments Relating to Deceptive Practices Involving Consumers passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
No Changes
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No Changes
Sent to the Dugout: Held
S.B. 113 Wireless Telephone Use Restriction for Minors in Vehicles (Romero) fails with 12 yea, 15 nay votes.

H.B. 201 State Fire Marshal Modifications fails with 10 yea, 15 nay votes.

Listen/View today’s action HERE
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Media Briefing: Feb. 25

Today's media briefing included Senator Christensen discussing the latest on his bill SB40, Tobacco Tax Amendments. Also Senator Romero talked about his cell phone bill SB113. You can watch the full session here. Listen to it here. (mp3)

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Thursday Morning Workout

  1. DNews: Young artists recognized at Utah Capitol
  2. DNews: Senate passes bill would ban teens talking on cell phones while driving
  3. SLTrib: Another states' rights resolution advances
  4. Standard Ex: Beattie: Rainy day fund, cigarette taxes best option for Utah budget
  5. DNews: Use Rainy Day Fund now, Beattie urges Legislature
  6. Pyrah and Weist: Lawmakers hammering out budget without tax increase
  7. Daily Herald: Senate president holding on to opt-out bill
  8. KCPW: Retirement Overhaul Bills Clear House Committee
  9. SLTrib: Retirement changes survive toughest test
  10. KCPW: Homeschool Activities Bill Clears Senate Ed. Committee
  11. Holly on the Hill: Extracurricular equity
  12. Raymond: Required screening for illegals on tap?
  13. SLTrib: Bill would ban young drivers from cell phone use
  14. USAToday: More high-schoolers reinvent or skip their senior year
  15. Hancock: I-15 expansion may go on to Payson
  16. Gehrke: Herbert sticks to no-tax plan
  17. DNews: Herbert threatens veto of cigarette tax, other bills
  18. St. George Spectrum: LG Bell - Initiative signatures must be gathered on paper
  19. 2News: School District Funding Bill Dies In Committee
  20. SLTrib: Canyons won't have to give Jordan more money
  21. Fox13: Legislators vote down bill to use money from Canyons for Jordan Dist. Schools
  22. KCPW: Jordan Teachers Want Tax Hike
  23. Smith: More restaurant liquor licenses coming?
  24. SLTrib: Panel backs plan to relax liquor license quota
  25. Hunt: Substitute bill would add a new judge, rather than transfer a position
  26. DNews: Senate passes gun brandishing bill
  27. SLTrib: On party-line vote, Senate OKs signature-removal bill
  28. Sausage Grinder: Morning Whatever -- Grandstanding edition!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feb. 24, 2010

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action Feb. 24, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate

S.B.22 Notary Public Amendments (Knudson) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar

S.B.137 Coordination of Removing, Relocating, or Altering Utilities (Liljenquist) passed 28 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B.193 Occupations and Professional Amendments (Valentine) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

2S.H.B.70 Retrofit Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles (Madsen) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

3S.H.B.78 Weapons Revisions (Valentine) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B.93 Motor and Off-Highway Vehicle Amendments (Bramble) passed 28 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B.201 State Fire Marshal Modifications (Bramble) passed 18 yea 8 nay votes. Placed at the bottom on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B.214 Concealed Firearm Permit Modifications (Bramble) passed 24 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B.54 Tax Exemption for Water Facilities (Valentine) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. passed placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.J.R.2 Joint Resolution on Property Tax Exemptions for Water Facilities (Stephenson) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the bottom of the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B.97 Amendments Relating to Deceptive Practices Involving Consumers (Neiderhauser) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B.254 Voter Identification Amendments (Knudson) passed 24 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar

No Changes

Listen/View today’s action HERE
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Morning Senate Floor Action Feb. 24, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
2S.B. 275 Removing Signature from Initiative and Referendum Petition (Stephenson) passed with 21 yea, 7 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 124 Military Installation Development Authority Modifications (Stevenson) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 74 State Park Highway Access Amendments (Hinkins) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 113 Wireless Telephone Use Restriction for Minors in Vehicles (Romero) passed with 19 yea, 8 nay votes. On to the House.

2S.B. 81 Eminent Domain Amendments (Hillyard) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 120 Disarming a Peace Officer Amendment (Hinkins) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 130 Judiciary Amendments (Hillyard) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 140 Juvenile Detention Amendments (Greiner) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 141 Utah Substance Abuse and Anti-violence Coordinating Council Amendments (Adams) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.J.R. 5 Joint Resolution on Clean Air passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

HCR 11 Taiwan Concurrent Resolution passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
H.B. 21 Expungement Revisions passed with 25 yea, 1 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No Changes
Listen/View today’s action HERE
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Media Briefing: Feb. 24

Today's media briefing with Senate Leadership covered bills that were debated on the Senate Floor and talks on the budget. Watch the session here. Listen to it here. (mp3)

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Staff Highlights: The Telephone Operators

(click picture for sound)
By Krystle Whitney
The Intern in Exile

Behind the success of each Senator stands a small squadron of dedicated nonpartisan staff. To help you--the interested and involved public--get to know some of these wonderful people and the work they do, I will be writing some highlights with pictures and podcasts. Just for fun. And because they deserve a little recognition.

Commenting that they too are in Exile, the Operators spent time with me to explain what they do for the Senate. Tucked away in the East Senate building, Becky, Vicky and Ellen shared valuable tips and insight for the public:

“Call the House (operator) and ask for Betty!” they said (joking). “If not that, email your Senator... and please learn their name first.” Working directly with all of the Senate staff, they are often the first people reached by the public. “We take the calls from the public and try to get them as much information as we can,” Vicky said about their position.

Click here for the podcast.

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Wednesday Morning Workout

  1. Gehrke: First draft of Utah's budget: No tax hikes, severe cuts
  2. Bernick Jr: GOP agrees on budget; some unhappy with cuts
  3. DNews: Democrats, GOP spar over ethics initiative petition
  4. KCPW: Bill Would Expand Subpoena Authority
  5. Pyrah: New stream bed access bill favors property owners
  6. Standard: Speed limits bill goes to governor for signature
  7. SLTrib: Ethics commission bill clears Senate
  8. Loomis: House backs ban on smoking in car with children
  9. Fox13: 200 rally against Fed policies toward property rights
  10. ABC4: They Make Things Happen on Capitol Hill
  11. DNews: Trio of bills challenges feds over Utah land
  12. McKitrick: Utah Dems say enough already on states' rights
  13. SLTrib: Utah legislators energize states' rights rally
  14. Weist: 'Take Back Utah' rally champions states' rights
  15. DNews: Issue of judiciary control in disarray
  16. SLTrib: Signature-removal bill advances in Utah Senate
  17. KCPW: Bill Would Let Universities Initiate Charter Schools
  18. DNews: Salt Lake County wants to keep Snowbird
  19. Gherke: Monkey Monitor: Day 11 – Gibbons In The News
  20. Pyrah: Morning Rundown
  21. Riley Roche: No love for 'Big Love'

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feb. 23, 2010

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A Lemon Law for Initiative & Referendum Signatures

By Howard Stephenson
Utah State Senator

How do you remove your signature from a bad initiative or referendum petition?

We are a republic, which means we elect representatives to pass laws and manage the state’s budget. Our system also includes an important safety valve called the initiative process. This safety valve is a vital tool for citizens when government is unresponsive.

If citizens want laws changed, they can bring the issue to the voters and let the decisions be made at the ballot box. This process begins when those wanting to bring about change gain enough support, through signature petitions, to put the proposed change up for a vote.

Currently the process does not require those asking for signatures on the petition to give proper education to those from whom they are gathering signatures. They could ask anyone outside a grocery store simple questions such as, “Do you support motherhood, baseball and apple pie? Great! Sign this petition.”

A voter might sign the petition only to find out later the initiative proposes a law that, say, raises taxes so everyone's mother can go to a baseball game and eat apple pie.

Old Process:

Under current law, if a person wanted to take their name off the petition they first need to make a written statement saying they would like their name removed from the list. A notary would need to witness their signature on the statement, and then submit the statement to the county clerk. This process, particularly the task of having to locate a notary, could deter those wanting to remove their names from taking the action to do so.

New Process:

Under SB275, a voter will sign a statement saying they want their name removed from the petition, provide the last 4 digits from their social security number, drivers license number or State ID number to be properly identified, and send the statement to the County Clerk.

SB275 will deter deceptive signature-gathering practices, increase education about the initiative, and allow someone to easily remove their name from a petition if they decide the initiative in question is a bad idea.

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action Feb. 23, 2010

Home Run: Passed the Senate
S.B.73 Sales and Use Tax Exemption Relating to Aircraft (Bramble) passed 28 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 133 Qualifications of State Tax Commissioners (Adams) passed 27 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 139 Physician Assistant Amendments (Bramble) passed 26 yea 1 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 127 Public Assistance Fraud Amendments (Stephenson) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 45 Utah Fit Premise Act Amendments (Niederhauser) passed 16 yea 8 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 105 Motor Vehicle Accident Arbitration Amendments (Urquhart) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 136 Open and Public Meetings Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) passed 23 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 138 Grama Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.J.R.3 Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures (Valentine) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 119 Special Elections Modifications (Stephenson) passed 24 yea 2 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 147 Education Related Parent Organization (Dayton) passed 26 yea 1 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 124 Military Installation Development Authority Modifications (Stevenson) passed 27 yea 1 nay votes. On to the House.

S.C.R.7 Concurrent Resolution Approving Solid Waste Facility Classification Change (Niederhauser) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 60 Voluntary Search and Rescue Funding (Okerlund) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.J.R.5 Joint Resolution on the Spending of Federal Economic Renewal Grants (Mayne) passed 23 yea 4 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B.135 Sales and Use Tax Exemption for an Energy Efficient Stove or Energy Efficient Stove Fuel (Davis) passed 27 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B.148 Guaranteed Asset Protection Waivers (Stevenson) passed 27 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B.70 Motor Vehicle Liability Amendments - Minor Drivers (Urquhart) passed 22 yea 3 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 103 Reduced Speed School Zone Amendments (Dayton) passed 27 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
S.B.74 State Parks Highway Access Amendments (Hinkins) passed 23 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the of 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B.113 Wireless Telephone Use Restriction for Minors in Vehicles (Romero) passed 19 yea 7 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 81 Eminent Domain Amendments (Hillyard) passed 22 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B.120 Disarming a Peace Officer Amendments (Hinkins) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B.130 Judiciary Amendments (Hillyard) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd reading Calendar.

S.B. 140 Juvenile Detention Amendments (Greiner) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the bottom of the 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 141 Utah Substance Abuse and Anti-Violence Coordinating Council Amendments (Adams) passed 24 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the bottom of the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No Changes

Listen/View today’s action HERE

Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:


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Hesterman Report: Utah Ethics Commission

SJR3 and HJR15 are companion bills that will create an independent commission to investigate accusations of unethical conduct by members of the legislature. In this Hesterman Report, Senator Valentine explains the role of the commission and why it should be enshrined in the Utah's Constitution. Listen here. (MP3)

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Media Briefing: Feb. 23

Today's media briefing included Senator Stephenson answering questions about Jordan School District's budget problems and he also discussed his bill SB275. Watch the full media session here. Listen to it here. (mp3)

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Tuesday Morning Workout

  1. SLTrib: Herbert looks to add Montana 'trigger' to gun bill
  2. Roche: Senate ethics bills gain preliminary approval
  3. McKitrick: Committee OKs ethics bills
  4. SLTrib: Buttars won't pitch optional 12th grade this session
  5. KSL: Lawmaker drops bill to bypass 12th grade, for now
  6. SteveU: Sorry, Parents
  7. KSL: Sex education bill voted down
  8. Fox13: Controversial sex ed bill fails in Utah Senate
  9. Schencker: Lawmakers' silence kills sex ed bill
  10. Daily Herald: No change for sex ed in Utah public schools
  11. DNews: Panel kills sex-ed bill; others in the wings
  12. ABC4: Utah sex ed bill fails without even a comment
  13. Gehrke: Senate tries to alter qualifications for Tax Commission
  14. Daily Herald: House hears bills on stream bed access
  15. KCPW: Streambed Access Bill Favored by Recreationists Dies on House Floor
  16. Raymond: Bill allowing access to rivers washes out
  17. SLTrib: Anglers seeking access up a creek
  18. Loomis: Bill would aid creation of transit-oriented districts
  19. Weist: Jenkins pulls bill to appoint chief justice
  20. KCPW: Senate Majority Leader Drops Divisive Supreme Court Bill
  21. Gehrke: Senator abandons chief justice bill
  22. DNews: GOP senators neither favor nor oppose tax hikes
  23. KSL: Panel OKs bill on reporting underage drinking, sentencing
  24. DNews: Farmers, ranchers gather for tasty rally
  25. SLTrib: Farmers celebrate healthy, affordable food
  26. KSL: Farmers rally for protection at the State Capitol
  27. KUER: Lawmakers Mull Sex Ed, Health Care & Ethics
  28. Sausage Grinder's Morning Routine
  29. Out of Context: I Tell Ya, No Respect

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Monday, February 22, 2010

February 22, 2010

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action Feb. 22, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
No Changes
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
S.B. 105 Motor Vehicle Accident Arbitration Amendments (Urquhart) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
2S.B. 119 Special Elections Modifications (Stephenson) passed with 26 yea, 1 nay vote. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
1S.B. 136 Open and Public Meetings Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) passed with 22 yea, 5 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 138 Grama Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) passed with 25 yea, 1 nay vote. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
2S.J.R. 3 Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures (Valentine) passed with 26 yea, 1 nay vote. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 147 Education Related Parent Organizations (Dayton) passed with 25 yea, 1 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.C.R. 7 Concurrent Resolution Approving Solid Waste Facility Classification Change (Niederhauser) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
1S.B. 60 Voluntary Search and Rescue Funding Act (Okerlund) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.J.R. 5 Joint Resolution on the Spending of Federal Economic Renewal Grants (Mayne) passed with 22 yea, 6 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 135 Sales and Use Tax Exemption for an Energy Efficient Stove or Energy Efficient Stove Fuel (Davis) passed with 29 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 148 Guaranteed Asset Protection Waivers (Stevenson) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 70 Motor Vehicle Liability Amendments - Minor Drivers (Urquhart) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
S.B. 62 Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage Amendments (Urquhart) circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Listen/View today’s action HERE
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Word from Montana

In the Salt Lake Tribune:
The editorial, "Gun fight: Governor should veto this one" (Our View, Feb. 13) is based on a false premise, leading to a wrong conclusion. In Montana, the federal government is not suing the State of Montana over the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. Rather, the private Montana Shooting Sports Association and the Second Amendment Foundation are suing the United States in federal court to validate the principles of the MFFA. This is being done without a dime of cost to Montana taxpayers.

The purpose of the firearms freedom acts that are spawning nationwide, including Utah's Senate Bill 11, is to challenge and change the status quo. Yes, existing precedent is against the concept. That's the exact reason to enact the bill -- to challenge and overturn bad precedent. If precedent were with us, the exercise would be unnecessary. The Supreme Court overturns bad precedent regularly. That may be its most important function. It's high time for the court to reverse a half-century of bad Commerce Clause law.

Gov. Gary Herbert should sign SB11, thereby unleashing Utah citizens to launch this important challenge to the status quo at no cost to Utah taxpayers.

Gary Marbut President, Montana Shooting Sports Association
Missoula, Montana

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Morning Senate Floor Action Feb. 22, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
1S.B. 144 Vision Screening Amendments (Niederhauser) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
S.B. 30 Local Option Sales and Use Taxes for Transportation Act (Niederhauser) passed with 29 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
2S.B. 114 Motor Vehicle Accident Reports (Stowell) passed with 29 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
S.B. 132 Higher Education Scholarship Amendments (Valentine) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
H.B. 232 Medical Language Interpreter Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay
votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.
H.B. 192 Renewable Energy - Methane Gas passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
S.B. 61 Sales and Use Tax Exemption for a Web Search Portal (Stephenson) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 38 Restrictions on High Occupancy Vehicle Lane (Morgan) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
1S.B. 89 Legal Notice Amendments (Urquhart) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
1S.B. 45 Utah Fit Premises Act Amendments (Niederhauser) passed with 24 yea,
4 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 73 Sales and Use Tax Exemption Relating to Aircraft (Bramble) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
1S.B. 133 Qualifications of State Tax Commissioners (Adams) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 139 Physician Assistant Amendments (Bramble) passed ith 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 127 Public Assistance Fraud Amendments (Stephenson) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
S.B. 138 Grama Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine)
circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.
1S.J.R. 3 Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures (Valentine) circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.
2S.B. 274 Online Pharmacy Amendments (Bramble) circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Sent to the Dugout: Held
H.B. 103 Reduced Speed School Zone Amendments will be held on Senate Consent Calendar for 24 hours.
Listen/View today’s action HERE

Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Ethics Bills

The Senate Ethics Committee will meet at 12:00 p.m. today in Room 445.

Four bills on the agenda:
  • HB 124
  • HB 267
  • HJR 14
  • HJR 15
[Update:] You can find the audio here. (MP3 and RealPlayer formats).

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Live Media Briefing

Today's media session focused on bills that were debated on the Senate Floor during the morning session. You can watch the full availability by clicking here. Listen to it here. (mp3)

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Monday Morning Workout

  1. Washington Post: A modest proposal to the federal government: Let Utah do it
  2. Loomis: Legislative leaders put states rights message in print
  3. Park City Record: Summit County's senators give legislative update
  4. Under the Dome: 2010 General Session Highlights – Week 4
  5. Sausage Grinder: Morning glories -- The Reporter's Prayer edition!
  6. ABC4: Utah Land Grabs shot down by Gov. Herbert
  7. NYTimes: Utah Senate OKs 2 Bills to Redo Retirement System
  8. Roche: Utahns split over state retirement system overhaul
  9. SLTrib: Pension plan fight moves to the House
  10. President of Montana Shooting Sports Association: Wrong about gun bill
  11. Park City Record: Feds may shoot down gun bill
  12. KCPW: Illegal Abortion Criminalization Bill Clears Legislature
  13. LG Bell on Electronic Signatures (Standard Ex)
  14. SLTrib: Name removal bill sparks doubts
  15. SLTrib: Snowbird step closer to joining Sandy
  16. KCPW: Utah Legislature Takes Aim at Malpractice Suits
  17. Thalman: Bill capping malpractice awards advances to Senate
  18. SLTrib: Homeowners could borrow up to $50K for energy upgrades under bill
  19. Prayer in the Utah Senate
  20. DNews: State Senate committee urges EPA to cease regulating greenhouse gases
  21. KCPW: Controversial Climate Change Resolution Has Final Public Hearing
  22. Schencker: Lawmaker wants more money for Jordan district
  23. Smith: 'Flashing' of guns has broad support
  24. SLTrib: Utah bill is another attempt to regulate Internet practices
  25. Fox 13: Insider Poll: optional senior year a good idea?

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Maybe this is why so many good bills passed on Friday

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Video: Retirement Reform Debate

S.B. 43s1 Post-retirement Employment Amendments passed out of the Senate Friday with 20 yea, 8 nay votes. Watch the floor debate on 2nd Reading and see Senator Liljenquist’s answers to important questions on this issue.

video

Click HERE to pull this up in a new window.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

February 19, 2010

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Morning Senate Floor Action Feb. 19, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 122 Eminent Domain Revisions (Adams) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 43 Post-retirement Employment Amendments (Liljenquist) passed with 20 yea, 8 nay votes. On to the House.

2S.B.63 New Public Employees' Tier II Contributory Retirement Act (Liljenquist) passed with 19 yea, 9 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 262 Reporting to Appropriation Committees unanimously passed the Senate. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 98 State Engineer Bonding Requirements passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office Next.

H.B. 229 Water Right General Adjudication Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 11 Licensing of Elevator Contractors and Elevator Mechanics passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 37 Criminal Background Checks on Motor Vehicle Dealers and Salespersons passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
S.B. 94 Supplemental Benefit Amendments for Noncontributory Public Employees (Liljenquist) circled. Will Remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 136 Open and Public Meetings Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) circled. Remains on 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No Changes

Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:Listen/View today’s action HERE

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Media Briefing: Feb. 19

Today's media availability included discussion on the retirement reform legislation that passed out of the Senate this morning. Also, President Waddoups discussed his opinion article that was published in the Washington Post. You can listen to the full media session here. Watch it here.

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Senator Hinkins on National Monuments

Fox 13:
"Utah political leaders are almost unanimous in opposition to a unilateral declaration from President Obama. Utah's congressmen, senators, and the governor are all opposed."


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Friday Morning Workout

  1. DNews Blog: Must be lunchtime
  2. Sausage Grinder: Morning walk-aways -- More Explosions edition!
  3. Fox 13: US Interior Document considers Utah for 2 new nat. monuments
  4. KUER: Senate Moves to Overhaul Retirement, Possible Monument Designations
  5. Gehrke: Pension limits gain Senate support
  6. Roche: Pension changes pass first hurdle
  7. Weist: Pension changes enliven debate in Utah Senate
  8. KCPW: Retirement Overhaul Bills Clear First Vote in Senate
  9. Schencker: Students all a-Twitter in their virtual Capitol tour
  10. DNews: Consul praises Canada-U.S. relationship
  11. Davis County Clipper: SB145 seeks to drive down health care costs
  12. KCPW: Illegal Abortion Criminalization Bill Clears Legislature
  13. Loomis: Measure on illegal abortions heads to governor
  14. DNews: Senators join House in telling Congress off
  15. SLTrib: Bill targets deceptive advertising
  16. DNews: Senate ready to move on ethics package
  17. Pyrah: Senator looking for another day to honor gun-maker
  18. SLTrib: Senator won't commemorate gun maker on King holiday
  19. Roche: Madsen backs off honoring Browning on King holiday
  20. Pyrah: Senator tests the water for new pool rules
  21. DNews: Review of air quality division is sought
  22. Burr: Two more monuments planned in Utah?
  23. Stewart: Senator says equalization plan not equal
  24. Stewart: Gang prevention measure approved

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

A modest proposal to the federal government: Let Utah give it a try

In today's Washington Post:

By Michael G. Waddoups and David Clark

We propose a modest experiment. As Utah state leaders, we are greatly concerned about the unprecedented expansion of the federal government over many years, and the enormous debt levels being left to our children and grandchildren.

We believe the federal government is attempting to do far more than it has the capacity to execute well. Congress has inserted itself into every aspect of our lives with laws and regulations that don't fit the widely divergent nature of the states and localities. The job descriptions assumed by President Obama and Congress have grown far larger than their ability to deliver.

We'd like to relieve some of their burden.

We don't believe that 535 members of Congress and the president can educate our children, provide health care, pave our roads and protect our environment as well as the nation's 8,000 state legislators and tens of thousands of local officials.

So please, let us help. Let's select a few programs -- say, education, transportation and Medicaid -- that are managed mostly by Utah's government, but with significant federal dollars and a plethora of onerous federal interventions and regulations.

Let Utah take over these programs entirely. But let us keep in our state the portion of federal taxes Utah residents pay for these programs. The amount would not be difficult to determine. Rather than send this money through the federal bureaucracy, we would retain it and would take full responsibility for education, transportation and Medicaid -- minus all federal oversight and regulation.

We recognize that, financially, this is not the best deal for Utah. We would not receive our share of debt revenue used in these programs, and Utah taxpayers would continue to pay our share of the interest on the national debt used for these programs in other states.

Even so, we believe we can operate these programs more efficiently and productively without federal strings and mandates.

Utah is a small state, and this experiment in the interest of balanced federalism would have little impact on the federal budget, on other programs or on other states.

If it works, perhaps other states would choose to opt out of federal programs and retain the federal tax dollars paying for them. This could eventually relieve Washington of massive obligations while also restoring a better balance in the federal system.

We suggest this experiment not from a partisan or ideological perspective but because this approach is the best governance model for the 21st century.

Thanks to enormous advances in networking and communications, the Founders' vision of balanced federalism can operate better than ever. We support a forward-looking, high-tech, progressive approach to governance that fosters innovation and empowerment.

We recognize the need for a strong federal government and fully support federal primacy in certain areas. We recognize that some federal standards must be established, with maximum state flexibility in meeting those standards.

But today the federal government operates like an old-fashioned mainframe computer, pushing one-size-fits-all mandates out to the states. We believe there is value in intelligent decentralization. In our complex society, commerce, environmental challenges and myriad other regulatory matters regularly cross state lines. States have the technological capabilities to collaborate on shared challenges, operating like powerful computers on the Internet, linked together to establish standards and adopting best practices and innovations that improve performance. We can have 8,000 state legislators and thousands more state and local government leaders addressing the nation's problems instead of 535 lawmakers worried more about reelection than about the nation's most daunting challenges.

Devolution is part of the solution to the seemingly intractable problems in our nation. Certainly, states face some serious budget problems and challenges. And some states won't perform as well as others. But states will learn from each other and voters will demand better performance from governments close to home than they expect from Washington.

It would be far better for a state or two to fail than for the entire country to be burdened to the point of economic disaster by a mountain of debt and federal irresponsibility.

Justice Louis Brandeis said that states were designed to be laboratories of democracy. So let's start with one state and a few programs and see what happens.

Michael G. Waddoups is president of the Utah Senate. David Clark is speaker of the Utah House of Representatives.

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SCR 3 - State Sovereignty Concurrent Resolution

The 10th amendment of the United States Constitution states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
SCR 3 reaffirms those 10th amendment rights:
"...that the Legislature of the State of Utah, the Governor concurring therein, acknowledge and reaffirm residuary and inviolable sovereignty of the state of Utah under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States."
This week the senate debated the issue and it was one of the best discussions of the session. If you missed it, take some time to pull up the archived video and /or audio from the senate floor.

History in the making. Or not. Time will tell.

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February 18, 2010

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action Feb. 18, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate

S.B. 142 Driver License Amendments (Stephenson) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.J.R. 11 Joint Resolution Regarding Federal Health Insurance Reform passed with 18 yea, 8 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 110 County Jail Inmate Medical Costs passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

2H.B. 100 Heber Valley Historic Railroad Authority passed with a 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

1H.B. 94 Uniform Fiscal Procedures Act Amendments for Towns, Cities, and Counties Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.C.R. 3 Italian-american Heritage Month Concurrent Resolution passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 226 Well Driller's License - Pump Installation passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 19 Post Conviction Remedies Amendments passed with 27yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 10 Court Fees for Inmates passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
S.B. 43s1 Post-retirement Employment Amendments (Liljenquist) passed with 20 yea, 8 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 63s1 New Public Employees' Tier II Contributory Retirement Act (Liljenquist) passed with 20 yea, 8 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 94 Supplemental Benefit Amendments for Noncontributory Public Employees (Liljenquist) passed with 20 yea, 6 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No Change
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:Listen/View today’s action HERE

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Utah.gov: Best State Website in America

Today the Utah Senate honored Utah's Department of Technology Services for building and maintaining the best state government website in the nation.

Utah.gov has won multiple "Best of the Web" awards, given by the Center for Digital Government.

Senator Urquhart made erudite comments on the senate floor. Watch it here.

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Morning Senate Floor Action Feb. 18, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed by the Senate

S.B. 53 Voter Challenge Revisions (Knudson) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 93 Gubernatorial Appointment Powers Amendments (Bramble) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.J.R. 1 Escalante Heritage Hole-in-the-rock Center Joint Resolution (Stowell) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 90 Mental Health Professional Practice Act Amendments (Hillyard) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1H.B. 39 Insurance Related Amendments passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 46 Motor Vehicle Act Amendments passed with 29 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 45 State Construction Code Adoption passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 23 Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 47 Board of Pardons and Parole Technical Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 51 Family Employment Program - Cash Assistance to Single Minor Parent passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.J.R. 10 Joint Resolution Opposing the Establishment of a Federal Commission on State Workers' Compensation Laws passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

1H.B. 20 Amendments to Health Insurance Coverage in State Contracts passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 30 Drug Law Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 86 Department of Human Services - Review and Oversight passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

1H.B. 216 Incorporation of a Town Amendments passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

1H.B. 219 Delinquent Property Tax Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

1H.B. 75 Assessment Area Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 236 Statutory Construction Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay
votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 248 Government Records Amendments passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 88 Electronic Cigarette Restrictions passed with 21 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 12 Criminal Homicide and Abortion Amendments passed with 24 yea, 4 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.


At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
No Changes
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No Changes

Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:Listen/View today’s action HERE

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Pension Systems: Trillion Dollar Hole

[Update:] The Senate will debate Senator Liljenquist's retirement system reform bills today at 3:00 p.m.

Opening excerpt from today's Trib article:

States face a $1 trillion shortfall in their public employee retirement systems, although Utah's is considered one of 16 "solid performers" -- despite a projected $6.5 billion hole in the system.

The study by the Pew Center on the States comes the same day that the Utah Senate is scheduled to begin debate on historic retirement reforms, essentially scrapping the long-standing defined-benefit pension plan in favor of an employee-funded 401(k) for future hires.

The authors note that the $1 trillion figure probably understates the total liabilities, because the figures are a snapshot taken in 2008 and don't reflect the full damage done to state retirement investments. Moreover, states structure systems to take losses over a number of years and have built in overly optimistic rates of return for the future.

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Live Media Briefing

Today's media availability included questions from the media about the progress of SB109, Chief Justice Appointment bill, a discussion on retirement reform and Congressman Jason Chaffetz spoke on the impact of the state's rights bills that the legislature is passing this session. Watch the availability here. Listen to the session here.

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Thursday Morning Workout

  1. Senator Scott Jenkins on SB 109: Appointing Utah's Chief Justice
  2. Fox13: Salt Lake commute determined US second best in Forbes study
  3. Herald Journal: Cache County 2nd healthiest
  4. Pyrah: Morning articles -- By which I mean crap thrown together by reporters
  5. Weist: Sunset eighth-graders get a taste of the Utah legislation processes
  6. KSL: Lawmakers propose changes to sex education in Utah
  7. Daily Herald: Opponents of state retirement changes are digging in
  8. Roche: Public safety may catch a break on retirement
  9. DNews: States’ rights resolutions pass in Senate
  10. SLTrib: Senate keeps after states' rights
  11. Stewart: Task force to study 12th grade
  12. SLTrib: Two abortion bills advance in Senate
  13. Roche: Utah to get gun holiday on MLK day?
  14. Examiner: Utah Supreme Court 4-1 on who picks chief justice
  15. Smith: Demos to fight amendment that targets affirmative action
  16. SLTrib: Farmland conservation bill stalls
  17. DNews: Lawmaker proposes cut to legislators' compensation
  18. How much do you know about John M. Browning? Would you like to know more?
  19. Daily Herald: Senator wants to honor gun pioneer
  20. Loomis: Senators favor Browning holiday
  21. SLTrib: Utah water-sharing bill advances

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

SB 109: Appointing Utah's Chief Justice

By Scott Jenkins
Utah Senate Majority Leader

Why change the way Utah selects its Chief Justice?

Judicial Independence

An independent judiciary is critical to the rule of law in a democratic society. Certainly, the Utah Judiciary illustrates the concept of judicial independence better than many other state's Judiciaries. I am told that the Utah Judiciary is the envy of most other states. Other Judiciary's are jealous. And indeed they should be. We have bright, capable, dedicated judges, in all of our courts, throughout the entire state.

Opponents of Substitute SB 109 remind us that Utah is the only state that has a chief justice who is also the chief administrative officer of the judiciary. Being both the presiding officer of the Supreme Court, and the chief administrative officer of Judicial branch is something that no other chief justice in the United States currently does.

Our chief justice consequently exercises more constitutional authority, and has more influence over the judiciary, than does any other chief justice in the country.

We have been told that the governor should not appoint the chief justice because doing so would be a violation of the principle of separation of powers. I understand the importance of an independent judiciary. Yet an independent judiciary does not imply that the chief justice should exercise more constitutional authority, and have more influence over the judiciary, and with fewer checks than any other state. Any member of our Supreme Court can wield this influence with a total of three votes.

Because the chief justice actually has more constitutional authority and exercises more influence over the administration of the Judiciary than do all the other state Supreme Court Chief Justices, the office of chief justice, at least in my mind, should, for that reason alone, be subject to this small check of being appointed by the executive branch.

Beholden to the Governor

Opponents to Substitute S.B. 109 have expressed serious concerns over allowing the governor to appoint the chief justice. They contend that this will create a situation where the chief justice is beholden to the governor.

I have listened to these concerns. Under Substitute S.B. 109, a governor would have to serve twelve years before having an opportunity to appoint the same person to be chief justice twice. No governor in the history of the state has served twelve years. So taking the position that a chief justice would put a thumb on the scales of justice to be reappointed to the position of chief justice is a non-issue.

Opponents to Substitute SB 109 suggest that removing the power to reappoint solves only half the problem because one or more the Justices of the Supreme Court might be willing to place a thumb on the scales of justice to be appointed chief justice for a single term.

I am of the opinion that no Justice of the Supreme Court would intentionally tilt the scales of justice to be appointed chief. It is my opinion that if members of the Supreme Court can be bought for that price, we have more to worry about than how we select the chief justice.

In my mind, the suggestion that a member of the Supreme Court is willing to influence the outcome of future cases to be appointed chief justice assumes two significant improbabilities. The first improbable assumption is that some member of the Supreme Court is willing to curry favor with a governor by selling the outcome of future cases. I do not believe we appoint people like that to the state judiciary, and especially not to the Supreme Court.

The second improbable assumption is that a governor would actually appoint someone as chief justice who possesses such an obvious and substantial weakness of judicial character.

Moreover, if the desire to be chief justice is enticing enough to seduce even the members of the Supreme Court, who are presumably among the best and brightest of the legal community, then the same desire to be chief justice will be present whether the members of the Supreme Court elect, or if the governor appoints, the chief justice.

No one should be naive enough to believe that the process of electing a chief justice is pure when it is done by the members of the Supreme Court, but corrupt when the governor appoints the chief justice. Bringing the governor into the equation does not change the potential desire of members of the court to be chief justice. If anyone is seriously concerned that members of the Supreme Court are willing to sell cases to be chief justice, then there should be concern that this practice may be occurring now, under the current election process.

Finally, I am unwilling to defend the practice of granting the chief justice the same status in the judicial branch, as the governor has in the executive branch, after having only received three votes. I can understand why the five members of the Supreme Court should have a say in selecting the presiding officer of the Supreme Court, but I am baffled as to why the Supreme Court would defend so vigorously a process that allows the five members of the Supreme Court to select the chief administrative officer of the entire judiciary, at the exclusion of all other judges.

This idea seems incredibly unrepresentative to the needs of the judicial branch. It is therefore my opinion that judges generally would be better served by a chief justice appointed by the governor.

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February 17, 2010

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Morning Floor Action Feb. 17, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 39 Health Insurance Prior Authorization Amendments (Mayne) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.C.R. 3 State Sovereignty Concurrent Resolution (Adams) passed with 23 yea, 5 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 211 Improvement District Board Membership passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 213 Cigarette Tax Exemption Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 55 Department of Community and Culture Grants Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
H.B. 46 Motor Vehicle Act Amendments passed with 21 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 45 State Construction Code Adoption passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 11 Licensing of Elevator Contractors and Elevator Mechanics passed with 21 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 23 Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 47 Board of Pardons and Parole Technical Amendments passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 51 Family Employment Program - Cash Assistance to Single Minor Parent passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.J.R. 10 Joint Resolution Opposing the Establishment of a Federal Commission on State Workers' Compensation Laws passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
S.B. 38 Restrictions on High Occupancy Vehicle Lane (Morgan) amended and circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 219s1 Delinquent Property Tax Amendments circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

Listen/View today’s action HERE

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Media Briefing: Feb. 17

Today's Media briefing included a discussion on bills that were considered on the Senate Floor, a followup on yesterday's revenue projections and Senantor Liljenquist spoke on his purposed retirement legislation. Watch the full session here. Listen to the full session here. (mp3)

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Wednesday Morning Workout

  1. DNews: Utah among healthiest and happiest
  2. Forbes: Salt Lake City ranked best city for commuters
  3. Pyrah: State revenue shortfalls not as short as expected
  4. Gehrke: Utah state revenues continue to slide, but appear to be leveling out
  5. Bernick/Roche: State revenues down another $50 million
  6. KSL: Lawmakers finalize budget numbers
  7. Cache Valley Daily: Tight budget concerns Sen. Hillyard
  8. KUER: Revenue $50 million less than expected, lawmakers push forward with health reform
  9. KCPW: Lawmakers Discuss Higher Education Cuts
  10. Daily Herald: State civil rights amendment held up in Senate
  11. DNews: Retirement system in dire need of overhaul, says Sen. Dan Liljenquist
  12. Gehrke: Justice backs selection bill to let guv pick high court chief
  13. Raymond: Plan may put Snowbird in Sandy
  14. SLTrib: Sandy to annex Snowbird Ski Resort?
  15. KSL: Snowbird a part of Sandy? Bill could help make it a reality
  16. Standard Ex: Adams vs. McAdams in constitutional debate
  17. KCPW: Lawmakers May Focus on Single States’ Rights Challenge
  18. DNews: States' rights bill gets preliminary approval
  19. Loomis: Utah Senate asserts states' rights
  20. Tooele Transcript: Lawmakers’ scrap with feds may impact county
  21. DNews: Affirmative action proposal is on hold
  22. Fox 13: Bill to eliminate affirmative action put on hold by lawmakers
  23. SLTrib: Senate panel OKs bill converting cars to natural gas
  24. Stewart: State-based health reform wins House approval
  25. Thalman: Health reform bills pass House, Senate
  26. KSL: Group rallies in support of DORA program
  27. Standard Ex: 'Rally for Recovery' held at state Capitol
  28. DNews: Funds sought to aid drug addiction recovery
  29. Villasenor: Health care bill for legal immigrants stalls
  30. Stewart: Gang prevention bill gains committee approval
  31. KSL: Buttars defends eliminating 12th grade on CNN
  32. HJNews: USU may face 2011 budget cuts
  33. Sausage Grinder: [UPDATE] Morning Face Palm -- Last Time edition!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February 16, 2010

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Senate Radio: Hesterman Report - The Budget

The updated revenue numbers for 2009, 2010, and 2011 were announced today and there was some good news and some could-be-better-but-not-bad news. I sat down with Senator Hillyard to find out more about the budget and what the story really is on the latest numbers. Listen here. (mp3)

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Executive Appropriations

Check out the Executive Appropriations meeting being held at 5:00 PM in the East Senate Building, Room 210.

Listen live here.

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Senate Floor Action Feb. 16, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate

S.C.R. 6 Concurrent Resolution Approving Classification of Solid Waste Facility Solid Waste Permit (Goodfellow) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 50 Victims' Rights Revisions (Adams) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 102 Restricting the Movement of a Motor Vehicle (Goodfellow) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 107s1 Lien Amendments (Bramble) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 206 Ban on Sale of Smoking Paraphernalia to Minors passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 69 State Engineer's Plugging of Wells Repealer passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.J.R. 22 Joint Resolution Recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the Utah Highway Patrol passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House for their actions.

At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
S.C.R. 3 State Sovereignty Concurrent Resolution (Adams) passed with 23 yea, 3 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 39 Health Insurance Prior Authorization Amendments (Mayne) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
No New Action

Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

Listen/View today’s action HERE

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Media Briefing: Feb. 16

Today's media availability focused on the new budget projections that were released today with Senator Hillyard and Senator Adams' resolution SCR 3, State Sovereignty Concurrent Resolution. If you missed the availability you can watch it here. Listen to the session here.

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Final Numbers Tuesday

Today, we'll have updated income numbers for 2009, 2010, and 2011. This revenue report is the final income amount to which we will balance our state expenditures this session.

Watch for Exec Approps Chair Lyle Hillyard to share the new information with his colleagues on the Senate Floor around 10:15 a.m. If you can't be here you can listen online. Go to www.le.utah.gov and follow the flashing link to the Senate Chamber.


[Update, 11:55 a.m.]

DNews and SLTrib report on the new numbers.

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Tuesday Morning Workout

  1. Daily Herald: Mother of 6 takes on state legislative internship
  2. Sausage Grinder: Morning junk -- Just try and touch it or Morning lookahead -- Do You See What I See edition!
  3. Rep. Frank's Under the Dome: 2010 General Session Highlights…Week 3
  4. Speaker Clark's Week Three Highlights
  5. KSL: Lawmakers working to unveil budget
  6. DNews: Lawmakers explore idea of privatizing state parks
  7. Standard Ex: Funding for WSU building in Davis unlikely
  8. Gehrke: Police, firefighters resist retirement changes
  9. KCPW: Retirement Overhaull Bills Advance Despite Fears of Hampering Recruiting
  10. Smith: Senate committee approves retirement legislation
  11. ABC4: Legislative retirement bills come under fire
  12. KSL: Senate committee passes retirement bills
  13. Standard Ex: OUR VIEW: Retirement reforms needed
  14. SLTrib: Utah senator's absence let retirement overhaul go through
  15. SLTrib: Malpractice bill seeks fair hearing
  16. DNews: 2 bills on stream access pass in committee
  17. Schencker: Bill would allow ads on school buses
  18. KSL: School district's dramatic cuts are ‘tip of the iceberg'
  19. Senator Steve U: The Political Assault on Science
  20. Inspire Realty: Get to know your State Senator!
  21. Holly on the Hill: Getting rid of racism
  22. Fox13: LGBT Protesters are silent at the State Capitol

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Anthropogenic Global Warming & Intelligent Design

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Friday, February 12, 2010

February 12, 2010

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Senate Radio: Hesterman Report - Cyber-Squatting

Senator Urquhart's SB26, is a bill dealing with the issues of Cyber-squatting. Don't know what Cyber-squatting is? Senator Urquhart explained to me what it means and how this will help Utah businesses keep a good image on the internet. Listen here. (mp3)

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Senate Floor Action Feb. 12, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate

Election Modifications S.B. 18 (Knudson) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House. View/Listen

Partnership Tax Return Filing Deadlines S.B. 134 (Adams) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House. View/Listen

Amendments to Social Worker Licensing S.B. 21 (Buttars) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House. View/Listen

Current Fiscal Year Supplemental Appropriations S.B. 3s1 (Knudson) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House. View/Listen

School District Employees - Career Status Requirements H.B. 42s1 passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Next Stop is the Governor's Office. View/Listen

Current School Year Supplemental Minimum School Program Budget Adjustments H.B. 4 passed 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor's Office. View/Listen

Certification of Voting Equipment Modifications H.B. 95s1 passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes for substitute. On to the House. View/Listen


At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar

Local District Taxing Authority Amendments S.B. 172 (Bramble) transferred to Revenue and Tax Standing Committee. View/Listen

Restricting the Movement of a Motor Vehicle S.B. 102 (Goodfellow) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar. View/Listen

Lien Amendments S.B. 107s1 (Bramble) passed with 26 yea, 1 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar. View/Listen


On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar

Driver License Amendments: S.B. 142 (Stephenson) placed on the bottom of the 2nd Reading Calendar. View/Listen

Restrictions on High Occupancy Vehicle Lane: S.B. 38 (Morgan) circled and will remain on the 2nd ReadingCalendar. View/Listen


Subscribe to a podcast of this year's floor debate:

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Media Briefing: Feb. 12

Missed today's Media Session? Media members met with senate leadership after floor time to discuss the dealings on the Senate floor. One topic touched on was HJR 24 - Joint Resolution on Equal Treatment by Government, Senator Dayton discussed why she will support the resolution. You can watch her statement below, and watch the full media session here. Listen to the full session here. (mp3)

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Friday Morning (before-a-long-weekend) Workout

  1. DNews: Utah recognized for best debt management
  2. ABC4: Big Brothers Big Sisters honored at state legislature
  3. Pyrah's Morning truthiness
  4. Davis County Clipper: 2010 Legislature
  5. SLTrib: Legislators seek constitutional amendment against affirmative action
  6. Smith: Lawmaker proposes ending affirmative action in higher education
  7. KSL: Several 2010 bills take anti-federal government stance
  8. Rosemary Winters: Moratorium
  9. KCPW: Literacy Bill Clears Senate Education Committee
  10. Schencker: Utah Senate panel OKs bill to hold poor readers back a year in school
  11. DNews: Senate bill requires schoolchildren to be good readers
  12. Gehrke: SITLA repays school trust fund $165K bonus money
  13. KCPW: What Does Federal Health Reform Opt-Out Mean for People on Medicaid?
  14. Daily Herald: UVU science building given 'top priority' status at Legislature
  15. McKitrick: Hot-potato legislation seeks fair hearing
  16. SLTrib: School testing changes advance on Hill
  17. Stewart: Committee favors across-the-board cut
  18. SLTrib: More driver license offices to open on Fridays
  19. Standard Ex: Tax on restaurant food measure fails
  20. KCPW: Lawmakers Look to Claim Land from Federal Government
  21. KUER: Legislature Picks Fight with Feds over Guns; Public Employees Fight for Pensions
  22. Fox13: Legislature approves mandatory background checks for school employees, volunteers
  23. KCPW: CHIP Bill Fails in Senate Committee
  24. Sausage Grinder's Cops and robbers
  25. Holly on the Hill: Opting out of federal health care
  26. Becky Edwards: “I’m from the Federal Government and I’m here to help”
  27. UTSenateDemocrats: Reading Achievement Requirements
  28. Out of Context: Morning update

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You're Number 1!

Throughout the 2010 session, the Utah State Senate has been honoring those who are #1 in their field. Utah is consistently named as one of the best managed states in the country. To inspire the legislature to continue to work to be #1, the Senate welcomes those around the state who are worthy of recognition.

Yesterday, the Senate welcomed the 2009 MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake. RSL owner Dave Checketts and head coach Jason Kreis brought their #1 team to the Senate floor to be honored for their accomplishments. Those who come to be honored for being #1 are recognized on the floor by the Senate body and are given a Senate seal keychain in the shape of the number 1.

Some of the other number one honors this session include the Salt Lake Community College Men's basketball team for winning the NJCAA National Championship in 2009, Crispen Anderson - 2009 Utah Jr. High School teacher of the year, Rick Clark - 2009 Utah High School Principal of the Year, Garrick Peterson - 2009 Utah Jr. High School Principal of the Year, State Trooper Lisa Steed - top DUI enforcer for Utah Highway Patrol, and Sgt. Guy Mellor - Army National Guard Soldier of the year.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 11, 2010

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Senate Floor Action Feb. 11, 2010

Final passage, signed by the Senate President
Water Storage Projects H.B. 34 passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop: Governors office!
Extension of Sunset for Design-build Contract Award Authorization H.B. 57 passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Goes on to the Governors office.
Utah Generated Renewable Energy Electricity Network Authority Board Amendments H.B. 58 passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Goes on to the Governors office.

Senate Bills passed
Utah Uniform Probate Code Amendments S.B. 121s1 (Valentine) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay vote. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Trust Deed Amendments S.B. 76 (Valentine) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Transportation Expenses for Defendants S.B. 58 (Adams) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Joint Resolution on Combating and Reducing Gang Activity S.J.R. 2 (Robles) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

House Bills passed
Insurance Related Amendments H.B. 39s1 passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Constables Amendments H.B. 41 passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Controlled Substance Database Amendments H.B. 28 passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Controlled Substance Database - Reporting of Prescribed Controlled Substance Overdose or Poisoning H.B. 35s2 passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
School District Employees - Career Status Requirements H.B. 42s1 passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Controlled Substance Database - Reporting Convictions for Driving Under the Influence or Impaired Driving H.B. 36s1 passed and with 25 yea, 0 nay votes will be placed and tabled on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

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Media Briefing: Feb. 11

Missed today's Media Q&A? Media members met with senate leadership after floor time to discuss the dealings on the Senate floor. Discussion on opting out of Federal Programs was held and what are the pros and cons and the cost of the programs was a main topic of the session. Watch the recording of the session here. Listen to a recording of the Q&A here.

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Thursday Morning Workout

  1. SLTrib: State's newest senator still learning
  2. Gehrke: Hundreds cram into hearing on retirement benefits
  3. Ziegler: Lawmakers Discuss Changes to Public Employees Retirement System
  4. Neil A. on Retirement Reform
  5. KSL: Legislature working on bill that would cap malpractice lawsuits
  6. DNews: $250K malpractice cap being debated
  7. Holly on the Hill: Utah’s State Sovereignty Resolution
  8. KCPW: Lawmakers to Decide Between Different Education Budget Approaches
  9. SLTrib: Wolf bill heads to guv
  10. Stewart: Bill promotes gang prevention in schools, community
  11. Out of Context: Get Your Guns
  12. Raymond: Utah Legislature hopes to hold a gun to federal law
  13. Gehrke: Herbert concerned about gun bill
  14. KUER: Legislature Picks Fight with Feds over Guns; Public Employees Fight for Pensions
  15. Standard Ex: Should Utah gun laws trump federal regulations?
  16. Flathead Beacon: Mirroring Montana, Utah Lawmakers Pass Gun Regulation Exemption Bill
  17. Weist: Jenkins looks to change chief justice selection process
  18. Raymond: Chief justice bill receiving some tweaks
  19. Daily Herald: Electronic signatures won't count for citizen initiatives
  20. McKitrick: Lieutenant governor rejects online petition signatures
  21. Stewart: Lawmakers postpone decisions on education budget
  22. SLTrib: Lawmaker: Budget woes mean in-state tuition goes
  23. Schencker: Deep school cuts considered
  24. Gehrke: Utah lawmakers propose using eminent domain to take federal land
  25. O'Donaghue: Lawmakers take states' rights fight to public lands
  26. DNews: Measure would make life easier for nursing moms at work
  27. Becky Edwards: WWGWD?
  28. SLTrib: Bill would require landlords to pay for meth tests
  29. DNews: Electronic tolling, HOV bill both roll forward
  30. Standard Ex: Lawmakers not promising anything during tight budget year
  31. The Grinder: Morning matters -- A Matter of Course edition

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Censorship

By Michael Waddoups
President of the Utah State Senate

Reports of my willingness to censor people have been greatly exaggerated. :-)

The Moratorium was born from a hope that the emerging civil, respectful, and educated dialogue on LGBT issues in Utah might continue. That seems healthy to me. The further hope is that through a year of thought and discussion we might find consensus on the direction we take as a state. When we discussed the Moratorium with reporters last week I asked Utahns not to discriminate. I also encouraged activists on both sides of this cultural divide to avoid behavior that would polarize. That was my intent, anyway. In my years as a legislator I've learned that civil conversations tend to humanize people and lead to better results.

I encourage a continued exchange of ideas in Utah's homes, neighborhoods, and here at the Capitol. Everyone that has information should share. You don’t need permission or an invitation to join the dialogue. No one should be excluded.

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February 10, 2010

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Senate Floor Action Feb. 10, 2010

Final Passage, Signed by the Senate President
Campaign Finance Revisions H.B. 59 unanimously passed by the Senate. Next stop is the Governors office.
Municipal Clerk and Recorder Responsibilities H.B. 199 passed by the Senate. On to the Governors office.
Sales and Use Tax Modifications H.B. 50 passed by the Senate. Next stop is the Governors office.

Bills Passed
Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions S.B. 55 (Adams) passed with 28 yea, 1 nay votes. On to the House.
Renewable Energy Modifications S.B. 104s1 (Urquhart) Passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House
Motor Vehicle Accident Reports S.B. 114s1 (Stowell) passed with 29 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Eminent Domain Revisions S.B. 122s1 (Adams) passed with 29 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Intangible Property Amendments S.B. 125 (Bramble) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes will be forwarded to the House for their action.
Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the 100 Year Anniversary of the Mckay-dee Hospital S.C.R. 5 (Greiner) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
School Reporting Amendments S.B. 56 (Morgan) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Local School Board Budget Procedures S.B. 57 (Stowell) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House for their actions.
Subdivision Amendments S.B. 126 (Adams) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Insurance Related Amendments H.B. 39s1 passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Water Storage Projects H.B. 34 passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Extension of Sunset for Design-build Contract Award Authorization H.B. 57 passed 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Utah Generated Renewable Energy Electricity Network Authority Board Amendments H.B. 58 passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Constables Amendments H.B. 41 passes with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

Bills Circled
School District Leave Policies S.B. 77s1 (Dayton) circled. Continues on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Utah E-commerce Integrity Act S.B. 26 (Urquhart) circled and will remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court Appointment S.B. 109s1 (Jenkins) circled. Will remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Controlled Substance Database Amendments H.B. 28 circled and will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Controlled Substance Database - Reporting of Prescribed Controlled Substance Overdose or Poisoning H.B. 35s2 circled and will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Motor Vehicle Act Amendments H.B. 46 circled and will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Controlled Substance Database - Reporting Convictions for Driving Under the Influence or Impaired Driving H.B. 36s1 Circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.

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Media Briefing: Feb. 10

Missed today's Media Q&A? Media members met with senate leadership after floor time to discuss the dealings on the Senate floor. The media also discussed, with Senator Jenkins, possible amendments to his bill, SB109. You can watch the recording of the Q&A here. You can listen to it here. (mp3)

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Drug Offenders Reform Act

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Senate Radio: Hesterman Report - SB 109

SB109 was passed for the first time by the Senate on Tuesday. The proposed bill would change the way the Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court is appointed. I sat down with Senate Majority Leader Jenkins and got his insight on the bill. Listen to the report here.

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Wednesday Morning Workout

  1. UPD
  2. Pyrah's Morning Hit
  3. McKitrick: Bill would rename road after late senator
  4. SLTrib: Legislators, guv agree to cut $70M to cover 2010 shortfall
  5. DNews: State budget cuts spare public education
  6. KSL: Lawmakers take on abortion, health care and budget cuts
  7. KUER: Dozens of bills impact children; lawmakers move to restructure retirement
  8. DNews Blog: Political Notebook
  9. SLTrib Blog: The Chalkboard
  10. New York Sun (written from SLC): 'Gimme Shelter'
  11. Fox 13: Cell phone restriction bill clears first hurdle with Senate committee
  12. KCPW: Cell Phone Ban for Teen Drivers Advances in Senate
  13. DNews: Bills seek to make talking on a cell phone while driving a crime for teens
  14. Loomis: Utah Senate panel backs cell phone ban for young drivers
  15. Daily Herald: Speaker hits the brakes on amputee bill
  16. Roche: Senate gives preliminary approval to bill that would let governor pick chief justice
  17. SLTrib: Bill to allow governor to appoint Supreme Court Chief Justice advances
  18. KSL: Lobbyist-sponsored meals face greater scrutiny but unlikely to go away
  19. Stewart: Proposal to skip 12th grade now a bill
  20. DNews: Legislature may provide alternative for UPD fee
  21. Schencker: Lawmakers reject school vending bill
  22. DNews: School vending machine bill fizzles
  23. Weist: Owners of mobile homes rally at Capitol
  24. KSL: Utah lawmaker looks to tackle state tobacco use
  25. KSL: Lawmaker wants federal support for veterans' home
  26. Out of Context: Monkey Monitor: Day 1
  27. Sausage Grinder: Tumbleweeds

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

February 9, 2010

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Senate Floor Action Feb. 9, 2010

Morning Action


Senate Bills Passed
Suspension of Driving Privileges SB 170 (Robles) Set for time certain. Passed.
Nonlapsing Authority Technical Amendments SB 48s1 (Okerlund) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Mental Health Professional Practice Act Amendment SB 90s1 (Hillyard) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Reducing Prescription Drug Misuse Resolution SCR 2 (Jones) passed with 24 yea, 1 nay votes. On to the House.
Dental Health Care Concurrent Resolution SCR 4 (Jones) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Voter Challenge Revisions SB 53 (Knudson) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay. On to the House.
Adverse Possession of Real Property SB 103 (Urquhart) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay. On to the House.
Pete Suazo Memorial Highway SB 117 (Robles) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
School District Leave Policies SB 77s1 (Dayton) passed with 15 yea, 10 nay. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Renewable Energy Modifications SB 104 (Urquhart) passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Motor Vehicle Accident Reports SB 114s1 (Stowell) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Utah E-commerce Intergrity Act SB 26 (Urquhart) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

Bills Circled
Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions SB 55 (Adams) circled. Continues on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Judicial Nominating Commission Staff Amendments SB 108s3 (Jenkins) circled. Continues on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Restricting the Movement of a Motor Vehicle SB 102 (Goodfellow) failed with 10 yea, 16 nay votes. Recalled and circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Motor Vehicle Accident Arbitration Amendments SB 105 (Urquhart) circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Victims’ Rights Revisions SB 50 (Adams) circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Legal Notice Amendments SB 89s1 (Urquhart) circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Subdivision Amendments SB 126 (Adams) circled and continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.

Afternoon Action

Bills Passed
Eminent Domain Revisions SB 122 (Adams) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Intangible Property Amendments SB 125 (Bramble) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the 100 Year Anniversary of the McKay-Dee Hospital SCR 5 (Greiner) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Will be placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
School Reporting Amendments SB 56 (Morgan) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Will be placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Local School Board Budget Procedures SB 57 (Stowell) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Subdivision Amendments SB 126 (Adams) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court Appointments SB 109s1 (Jenkins) passed with 15 yea, 13 nay votes and will be placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

Bills Circled
Special Elections Modifications SB 119 (Stephenson) circled and will remain on the 2nd Reading Calendar.
Utah Uniform Probate Code Amendment SB 121 (Valentine) circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.
State Construction Code Adoption SB 45s1 (Niederhauser) circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Trust Deed Amendments SB 76 (Valentine) circled and will remain on the 2nd Reading Calendar.
Health Insurance Prior Authorization Amendment SB 39 (Mayne) circled and will remain on the 2nd Reading Calendar.
Higher Education Scholarship Amendments SB 132 (Valentine) circled. Continues on the 2nd Reading Calendar.
Transportation Expenses for Defendants SB 58 (Adams) circled and will continue on the 2nd Reading Calendar.

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Feb. 9: Media Briefing

Today's Media Q&A went over SB26, Senator Urquart's bill dealing with Cybersquatting, SCR2 and SCR4 sponsored by Senator Jones, and Senator Hillyard discussed the latest dealings on the budget. You can watch the session here. Listen to the session here (mp3).

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Tuesday Morning Workout

  1. Legislative Website
  2. SLTrib: States' rights weapons bill going great guns
  3. Roche: Senate committee approves ethics resolutions
  4. Ziegler: Ethics Investigation Bills Clear Senate Committee
  5. Daily Herald: State Senate moves forward with ethics reform
  6. SLTrib: Panel advances 3 ethics bills
  7. Daily Herald: State's retirement system needs help, but how?
  8. Fox 13: Sen. Buttars proposes opt out option for seniors in high school
  9. KCPW: Lawmaker Pitches Park Privatization
  10. KSL: Buttars pitches plan to eliminate 12th grade, reduce busing
  11. Gehrke: Privatization a red ink remedy?
  12. ABC4: Utah legislator compares U.S. Government to Bernie Madoff
  13. SLTrib: State Scholarships
  14. DNews: Lawmakers honor Boy Scouts
  15. SLTrib: Wolf bill moves to full House vote
  16. Out of Context: Morning update
  17. Pyrah: Morning lynx -- Homophone edition!
  18. LaVarr Webb on Federalism
  19. Holly on the Hill: Federalism Bills Moving
  20. Gehrke gets Deja Vu
  21. Joe Pyrah preview of the Medical Malpractice Bill
  22. Lincoln's 2 week report
  23. YouTube: Why did Craig Frank drop his sponsorship of the campaign finance limits bill?
  24. Can't win. If we're trying to take politics out of the courts we're harming the balance. If we're being deferential to the Judicial Branch, we're hurting the initiative process.
  25. HollyontheHill: Speaker Clark's Health Care reform proposal
  26. Senate Site Slams 'Ridiculous' Public Employees Rally
  27. Warchol: Gay rights debate on Facebook
  28. Holly Richardson: Rep. Sandstrom's Flashing bill
  29. Mending Fences

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Monday, February 08, 2010

February 8, 2010

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Senate Floor Action Feb. 8, 2010

Signed by the Senate President
Concurrent Resolution Recognizing the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America HCR 5 (Valentine) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay. Signed by the Senate President.

Senate Bills Passed
Utah Historical Society - Nonlapsing Authority SB 48 (Okerlund) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay. On to the House
Mental Health Professional Practice Act Amendments SB90s1 (Hillyard) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Concurrent Resolution Reducing Prescription Drug Misuse SCR 2 (Jones) amended and passed. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Dental Health Care Concurrent Resolution SCR 4 (Jones) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions SB 55 (Adams) 23 yea, 2 nay. Passes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Voter Challenge Revisions SB 53 (Knudson) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Adverse Possession of Real Property SB 103 (Urquhart) Motor Vehicle Accident Arbitration Amendments 26 yea, 0 nay passes and will be placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

Senate Bills Circled
Judicial Nominating Commission Staff Amendments SB108s2 (Jenkins) circled and will continue on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Sales and Use Tax Definition of Tangible Personal Property SB 27 (Hillyard) amended and circled. Continues on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Lien Amendments SB 107 (Bramble) circled and continues on the 2nd Reading Calendar.
School District Leave Policies SB77s1 (Dayton) circled and placed back on the 2nd Reading Calendar.

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Boy Scouts in the Senate

View from the Gallery (via Joe Pyrah of the Daily Herald)

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Feb. 8: Media Briefing

Today's Media Q&A featured discussion on SCR2 and SCR4, legislation sponsored by Senator Jones, an update on the budget process with Senator Hillyard, and Senator Liljenquist gives insight to the legislation on retirement. You can watch the session here.

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Monday Morning Workout

  1. UPD
  2. Speaker Clark's Week 2 Highlights
  3. Pignanelli & Webb: The Lovefest Continues
  4. UPD/Fox 13 Insider Poll: Rating of Utah's elected officials
  5. KCPW: Base Budget for Public Ed Passes Legislature
  6. Winters: Legislators hold off studying expansion of anti-bias rulings
  7. KCPW: Bill To Allow Governor to Appoint Chief Justice Advances
  8. SLTrib: Panel OKs bill to let guv pick chief justice
  9. ABC4: New "Declaration of the Family Resolution" surfaces on Utah's capitol Hill
  10. KSL: Thousands rally at Capitol to protest retirement bills
  11. SLTrib: State workers rally against bills to change retirement benefits
  12. Pyrah: She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers
  13. Pyrah: Monday Gaggle -- Super Bowl Edition!
  14. KSL: Senate proposal would let lawmakers not vote
  15. McKitrick: Mobile home advocates to lobby lawmakers
  16. Fox 13: Utahns meet with lawmakers at State Capitol

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Retirement Reform

Facts about Senator Liljenquist's proposed retirement reform:
1. Current employees WILL KEEP 100% OF THEIR PENSION BENEFITS

2. Currently rehired retirees WILL BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO COLLECT PENSION BENEFITS

3. Retired employees WILL NOT be affected by any of the retirement reforms

4. Retired rehires after July 1, 2010 will return to ACTIVE EMPLOYMENT STATUS

5. New employees hired after July 1, 2011, will be part of a NEW RETIREMENT SYSTEM
We lost a lot of money in 2008. The proposed reform bills (SB 63 and SB 43) will ensure that the pension system can meet 100% of its pension obligations to current and retired employees, and reduce long-term bankruptcy risk to state & local governments.

Here's a fact sheet
(PDF).

This is Utah, not California. We look ahead, and try to avoid problems before they become a crisis.

BTW - This . . . is ridiculous. But not surprising. The UEA has the facts but opted instead to stampede their followers with FUD.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Moratorium holds

Bills, rhetoric and supporters were lining up on both sides of the cultural divide re: gay rights and LGBT issues. The moratorium represents a decision not to allow a gratuitous ideological election-year food fight. Instead, legislators opted to encourage the newly emerging civil discourse on these polarizing issues to continue. It's our hope that as we continue to think and discuss like adults, solutions will emerge that work for everyone. It's worth a shot.

After caucus this afternoon the Senate President Michael Waddoups and Representative Christine Johnson discussed the new moratorium agreement.

Two articles:
Rosmary Winters: New compromise emerges on gay rights

Lisa Roche: Lawmakers do away with gay rights bills

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February 5, 2010

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Senate Floor Action Feb. 5, 2010

Signed by Senate President:
Per Diem and Travel Expense Modifications HB 27 passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Signed by the Senate President and forwarded on to the Speaker of the House.
Referendum Ballot Proposition Amendments HB 44 passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Signed by the Senate President. On to the Speaker of the House.
Livestock Damage compensation Amendments HB 32 passed with 25 yea,0 nay votes. Signed by the Senate President.
Juvenile Transfers from Justice Court HB 14 passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Signed by the Senate President.
Groundwater Recharge and Recovery Act Amendments HB 33 passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Signed by the Senate President.
Minimum School Program Base Budget HB1s1 passed with 27 yea, 1 nay votes. Signed by the Senate President.

Senate Bills:
Utah Construction Trade Licensing Act Amendments SB 85 (Jenkins) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Revisor’s Statute SB 110 (Dayton) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Pharmacy Practice Act Amendments SB88s1 (Bramble) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Judicial Nominating Commission Staff Amendments SB108s2 (Jenkins) passed with 21 yea, 6 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

House Bills:
Foreclosure Rescue and Loan Modification Amendments HB53s1 amendment passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
Scheduling of Controlled Substances HB 38 amendment passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

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Roaming Gnome roams to the Upper House

The Roaming Gnome paid a visit to the Senate Floor today. Travelocity held an online contest this week where website visitors would vote whether the Roaming Gnome should ski in Utah or at Lake Tahoe. Utah edged out Tahoe by a sweet 64 votes out of 200,000+. The Roaming Gnome will soon ski the Greatest Snow on Earth!

More at Out of Context: Gnome, Sweet Gnome

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Feb. 5: Media Briefing

Today's Media Q&A featured another extensive discussion on the budget with Senator Hillyard. The Q&A also included a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Senator Jenkins about his bills dealing with Judicial Nominations. If you missed the session you can watch it here.

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Friday Morning Workout

  1. Davis County Clipper: Senator Jerry Stevenson settling in to new job
  2. DNews: Sen. Bob Bennett talks politics with state lawmakers
  3. Daily Herald: State readies for sweeping reform of retirement system
  4. KCPW: Senator Steve Urquhart on Sex Ed
  5. SLTrib: Counties want more jail money or felons could go free
  6. Roche: Senate President Michael Waddoups backs halt to anti-bias bills
  7. Holly on the Hill: States’ Rights Bills Moving Forward
  8. Reavy: Supreme Court justices fight bill on picking their chief
  9. Pyrah: Ethics bills move quickly through House, move to Senate
  10. Bernick: House approves ethics reform bills
  11. Loomis: Ethics overhaul advances
  12. KCPW: Fate of Ethics Bills Now Lies in Senate
  13. SLTrib: Freeze scheduled pay raise, legislators propose
  14. DNews: Addressing tribal issues
  15. Smith: Committee OKs doctor notification bill
  16. KSL: Committee to weigh in on school junk food bill
  17. Sausage Grinder: Morning Pileup -- Either-Or edition

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

February 4, 2010

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Senate Radio: Hesterman Report - Anti-Discrimination Study

Rep. Christine Johnson and Sen. Howard Stephenson announced legislation last Friday that calls for an anti-discrimination study. They also called for a stand down on both sides of the issue. I talked with Sen. Stephenson and Senate Majority Leader Jenkins to find out more on this issue. Hear it here.

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Senate Floor Action 2/3/2010

Final Passage with Signature:
Wildlife Licenses, Certificates, or Permit Amendments HB 31 unanimously passed. Signed by the Senate President. Continues on to the Speaker of the House.
Brine Shrimp Royalty Act Amendments HB 26 passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Signed by the Senate President in Open Session. Continues on to the Speaker of the House for a signature.
Amendments Related to a Tax, Fee, or Charge Administered by the State Tax Commission HB 49 passed with 19 yea, 0 nay. Signed by the Senate President in Open Session. Continues on to the Speaker of the House.
Deferred Deposit Lending Amendments HB 15 passed with 22 yea, 4 nay. Signed by the Senate President. Continues on to the Speaker of the House.
School district division Amendments HB 29 passed with 23 yea, 1 nay. Signed by the Senate President. Continues on to the Speaker of the House.

Senate Bills:
Sales and Use Tax Definition of Tangible Personal Property SB 27 (Hillyard) circled. Remains on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Uintah Basin Revitalization Fund Amendment SB 96 (Van Tassell) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House for debate.
Local District Amendments SB 20 (Stowell) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House for debate.
Pharmacy Practice Act Amendments SB88s1 (Bramble) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

House Bills:
Economic Development Incentives Act Amendments HB 24 circled. Remains on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Utah Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Amendments HB 40 passed with 25, yea 0 nay votes. On to the House for debate.
Insurance Related Amendments HB 39 circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Foreclosure Rescue and Loan Modification Amendments HB53s1 passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
School District Employees-Career Status Requirements HB42s1 circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Livestock Damage Compensation Amendments HB 32 passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Juvenile Transfers from Justice Court HB 14 passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Groundwater Recharge and Recovery Act Amendments HB 33 passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Scheduling of Controlled Substances HB 38 passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

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LIVE UStream today: 11:45 a.m. Media Briefing

Today's Media Q&A will be live streamed from the Senate President's office here on The Senate Site immediately following floor time at 11:45.

We will be talking about the bills that were discussed on the floor this morning. If you have a question and can't be here in person, text your question to: 801.633.3663

Video streaming by Ustream

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Thursday Morning Workout

  1. UPD
  2. Loomis: Senators may rename highway to honor Suazo
  3. Fox13: Utah Senate OKs bill to rebuff federal gun laws
  4. KCPW: Dayton: Gun Bill About Sovereignty
  5. SLTrib: Senate OKs gun bill, triggers federalism debate
  6. KCPW: Legislature Poised to Pass Payday Lending Rules
  7. SLTrib: Utah high court officials opposing bill take case to media
  8. DNews: Bill requiring doctor notification of prescription drug DUIs moves forward
  9. Schencker: Lawmakers present stripped-down initial ed budget
  10. Ziegler: Legislation Aimed at Correcting School District Split Problems
  11. Standard Ex: School bill takes step
  12. KSL: Lawmakers preparing ‘worst case scenario' for state budget
  13. Weist: Voluntary pay freeze for Utah lawmakers in 2011?
  14. ABC4: Morningside Elementary students go to Capitol Hill with a message
  15. KCPW: Lawmakers Go After E-Criminals
  16. KUTV: Legislature Debating Changes To Public Employees' Retirement
  17. Webb: Mini-Editorial: The Smart, Frugal Family … and the Foolish, Profligate Family
  18. Pyrah: Morning cornucopia (of stories!)

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

February 3, 2010

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Today's Senate Floor Action

Final Passage:
- Utah State-made Firearms Protection Act (Dayton) SB 11 passed 3rd Reading Calendar. On to the House
- Drug Utilization Review Board Amendments (Knudson) SB 41s1 passed with 25 yea 0 nay. On to the House
- Repeal of Severance Tax Holding Account (Hillyard) SB 111 passed with 26 yea 0 nay. On to The House

Senate Bills:
- Uintah Basin Revitalization Fund Amendments (Van Tassell) SB 96 passed with 26 yea 0 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
- Local District Amendments (Stowell) SB 20 passed with 26 yea 0 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
- Judicial Nominating Commission Staff Amendments (Jenkins) SB 108s2 circled. Continues on 2nd Reading Calendar.

House Bills:
- Brine Shrimp Royalty Act Amendments HB 26 passed with 26 yea 0 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
- Amendments Related to a Tax, Fee, or Charge Administered by the State Tax Commission HB 49 passed with 22 yea 0 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
- Economic Development Incentives Act Amendments HB 24 passed with 25 yea 0 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
- Deferred Deposit Lending Amendments HB 15 passed with 25 yea 0 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
- Controlled Substance Database Amendments HB 28 bill circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.
- Controlled Substance Database - Reporting of Prescribed Controlled Substance Overdose or Poisoning HB 35s1 circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.
- Scheduling of Controlled Substances HB 38 circled. Remains on 2nd Reading Calendar.
- Utah Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Amendments HB 40 passed with 23 yea 0 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
- School District Division Amendments HB 29 passed with 26 yea 2 nay. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

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Feb. 3: Media Briefing

Water and Payday loan centers were the main topics in today's media Q&A. Sen. Stowell, Sen. Mayne, Sen. Jenkins, Sen. Hillyard and President Waddoups were all participants in this morning's media briefing. If you missed it, watch it here.

Here's a nugget from the discussion - 19 seconds of insight on the process of passing a law, from Majority Leader Jenkins.

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Wednesday Morning Workout

  1. UPD
  2. DNews: The Rev. Davis speaks to legislators about civil rights
  3. Pyrah: Orem senator wants Utah-made guns exempt from federal regulation
  4. Gehrke: State takes a stand against federal government, but will it stand?
  5. Raymond: Sen. Dayton defends poke at federal gun laws
  6. KCPW: State Lawmakers Face Off With Feds on Health Reform
  7. 2News: Utah Lawmakers Want To 'Opt Out' Of Healthcare Reform
  8. Schencker: Bill to prohibit paid union leave clears committee
  9. Park Record: Senator: Rid schools of senioritis
  10. DNews: Sponsor yanks bill letting governor appoint chief justice
  11. KSL: Utah lawmakers take on federal government with several bills
  12. ABC4: Sex Education Bill up for debate in Utah Senate
  13. Weist: Health insurance as a state issue / GOP leaders push for Utah to develop own health reform
  14. Pyrah: Those organisms are Utah's, you know
  15. KCPW: Car Boot Fees May Go Up
  16. SLTrib: Bill increasing penalties for human trafficking passes committee
  17. DNews: Republicans question a proposed study on discrimination
  18. Pyrah's Morning List of Stories

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

February 2, 2010

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The Rev. France Davis visits the Senate

The Rev. France Davis called upon members of the senate to remember to continue Martin Luther King Jr.'s pursuit of equality and civility in his address to senate members this morning. Rev. Davis, longtime pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, spoke on behalf of the Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission and called for, "more goodwill and more voice for the voiceless." You can watch his speech on the video below.


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S.B. 11 Introduced on Senate Floor

Senator Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, introduced her bill, S.B. 11, on the Senate floor this morning. The bill is titled "Utah State-Made Firearms Protection Act", but Sen. Dayton clarified that the bill is not about guns, but is about bringing the governing power back to the states.

"This bill does not really fit into the gun bill category. Although this bill does address guns, this bill is about our state's immutable right to establish control of our own rules and laws in our state," said Sen. Dayton.

S.B. 11 is worded that "a firearm or one of various firearm-related items manufactured in the state for in-state use is not subject to federal firearms laws and regulations" but would be controlled by the state. Sen. Dayton's bill passed the Second Reading Calendar this morning. You can watch her speech on S.B. 11 on the video below.


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Feb. 2: Media Briefing

Today's Media Q&A focused on Sen. Dayton's S.B. 11. The media discuss with Sen. Dayton and senate leadership parameters and logistics behind S.B. 11. If you missed today's Q&A and would like to watch it, you can view it here.

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Tuesday Morning Workout

  1. UPD
  2. LaVarr Webb: Wyoming Governor, a Democrat, Gets Aggressive on Federalism
  3. DNews: Senate approves rainwater bill
  4. Gehrke: Senate passes bill governing collection of rainwater
  5. DNews: Howling Wolves
  6. KCPW: Support for Wolf Management Bill Splits Along Party Lines
  7. Gehrke: Bill would ask to delist wolf in Utah
  8. Weist: Social services lobby to stop cuts
  9. DNews: Democracy Day draws activists to Capitol
  10. Pyrah: Lawmaker wants schools to stop paying teachers for UEA time
  11. KCPW: No Paid Union Leave for Teachers Under Senate Proposal
  12. Fox 13: Lawmakers Consider Banning Mobile Phone Use for Under 18 Drivers
  13. Bernick: Major ethics reform bill passes House committee
  14. Roche/Raymond: Rep. Rob Bishop talks states' rights with Utah Senate
  15. SLTrib: At Utah Capitol, Bishop pushes empowering the states
  16. Thalman: Lawmakers take aim at tobacco products
  17. Stewart: Abstinence findings fuel sex-ed debate
  18. Villasenor: Bill would offer health care programs to legal immigrant children

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Monday, February 01, 2010

February 1, 2010

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Senate Radio: Hesterman Report - The First Week

Wonder what the first week of the session was like for some of the interns, staffers, and our two newest senators? I caught up with a few of them to find out how it went, you can hear the report here.

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S.B. 36 - Wolf Management

S.B. 36, The Wolf Management bill passed the Senate's Second Reading Calendar today and has been placed on the bottom of the Third Reading Calendar for final consideration by the Senate. Sponsor of S.B. 36, Sen. Allen Christensen, spoke with the media following the passage of this bill. Watch his session with the press below.


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S.B. 32 - Rainwater Harvesting Bill

S.B. 32, the rainwater harvesting bill, was passed in the senate today and will now be sent to the House of Representatvies for further consideration. The bill is designed to allow you to collect some of the rainwater that falls upon your property.

Utah law currently states that the water belongs to the person who owns the water rights to your property, not necessarily the property owner. If this bill is passed by the house and signed by the governor you will be able to legally collect some of the rainfall on your property and use it to water your lawn and gardens. You can hear today's floor debate on S.B. 32 here.

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Rep. Bishop Speaks with the Senate


The senate welcomed a special visitor to the senate floor today. Rep. Rob Bishop, our representative in the U.S. House of Representatives for Utah's first distict, gave the members of the senate a report on the activity taking place in the federal government back in Washington D.C.


Rep. Bishop spoke on his plan to promote federalism this year in his efforts with the United States Congress. Rep. Bishop stated that federalism, "is not only the solution to our problems, it is the salvation of this country going into the future." Rep. Bishop continued, "...if you want creativity and if you want efficiency, and if you want the problem solved where people actually have access, this is the level in which it has to take place, not in Washington."


You can hear the speech in it's entirety here.

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Feb. 1: 11:45 a.m. Media Briefing

If you missed this morning's media Q&A, you can watch the youtube video of the session here. The media spoke with Sen. Christensen about his bill, SB36, and followed up with senate leaders on the anti-discrimination study bill that was announced on Friday.

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Monday Morning Workout

  1. Utah Policy Daily
  2. Utah Policy/Fox 13 Insider Poll: Balancing the Budget
  3. Fox 13 Insider Poll: Outcome of This Year's Legislative Session
  4. SLTrib: Study finds most Utahns pay less under 5 percent flat tax
  5. Bernick: Utah Legislature: Most Utahns paying less under new 5% flat tax, study says
  6. Winters: Utah Dems shelve gay-rights bills for a year
  7. NYTimes: Utah Lawmakers Won’t Take Up a Ban on Discrimination Against Gays
  8. Senator Steve Urquhart on Sex Ed
  9. DNews: Salt Lake City a finalist for 2012 Republican National Convention
  10. Weist (Standard Ex): Bill targets 'rescue' scam artists
  11. McFarland: Utahns conflicted on in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants
  12. Park Record: Bill targets wolves
  13. KSL: Advocacy groups teach citizens to be politically involved
  14. DNews: Southern Parkway in St. George could gain a numeric name
  15. Gehrke: Report: Few saw taxes increase
  16. Utah Policy: Urquhart: 'We'll Keep It Together' on Legislative Ethics Reform
  17. Sausage Grinder: Morning Commute
  18. Under The Dome: Campaign Finance…Voter Participation & Corruption
  19. The Thicket: True meaning of 41
  20. SteveU: Michael Scott had nothing to do with the legislation
  21. Pyrah: Anything's possible

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