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.”
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.
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.”
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)
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:
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:
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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
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.
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.
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.
"...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.
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.
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.
Why change the way Utah selects its Chief Justice?
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
If you missed this morning's media Q&A, you can watch the youtube video of the sessionhere. 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.