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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Senator Greiner: Negotiations failed, ending candidacy

From Senator Jon Greiner, Utah State Senator for District 18:
After months of negotiations with the federal Office of Special Counsel regarding federal funds, that represent less than 1% of the annual Ogden Police Department budget, and trying to find a compliance program, previously decided in recent case law, acceptable to the needs of the office of Special Counsel, and being able to find nothing -- I have been advised by my legal counsel to withdraw my Declaration of Candidacy for the Senate District #18 of the State of Utah for the year 2010. Today, March 31, 2010, I did such at the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s office.

Our founding fathers would probably roll over in their graves at the notion that a part time state or local citizen legislator would be denied his or her 1st amendment rights and all voters would be denied their rights by a 70 year old act of Congress that was originally passed to curb the currying of partisan political favor for federal employees.

This act today, the Hatch Act, not only has the potential for significantly lesser civil penalties for federal employees than state and local workers it doesn’t even require an act of political currying. It only requires that there may exist a potential of partisan political currying for any federal grant or loan anywhere in an organization that accepts federal money, of any amount, as determined by the Office of Special Counsel.

I apologize to the citizens of Ogden City, Utah and to the elected leadership of Ogden City for the embarrassing course this locally, legally misunderstood process has taken over the last four years.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Key Ethics Reform Legislation

What ethics policy changes did the legislature enact in 2010?

Here's a quick summary:

H.J.R. 15, Joint Resolution on Legislative Ethics Commission - establishes in the Utah Constitution a legislative ethics commission. The legislative ethics commission will have authority to conduct an independent review of complaints against legislators alleging unethical legislative behavior. The purpose of the review is to determine whether the complaint merits further consideration by the house of the member against whom the complaint is made. The commission will make recommendations to the Legislature about how to handle complaints alleging unethical behavior.

As the founders intended, the House and Senate will continue to be accountable for determining whether one of their members has engaged in unethical behavior and, if so, the appropriate sanction.

Under this resolution, the ethics commission will consist of five members, none of which may be a sitting legislator or registered lobbyist.

S.J.R. 3 - Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures - This bill has created an Independent Legislative Ethics Commission and modifies the rules of the House and Senate for handling ethics complaints.

Here's the new process:
A complaint may be filed for breach of the Legislative Code of Conduct or a conviction or plea of guilty/no contest to a crime of moral turpitude. The complaint must be filed by two registered voters, one of whom must have first-hand knowledge of the allegation. It can also be filed by two Senators or Representatives with affidavits/evidence attached for each allegation. A list of requested witnesses is attached to the complaint.

A technical review of the complaint by the chairs of the Independent Legislative Ethics Commission would follow. The complaint cannot be filed within 60 days of the respondent standing for election, and cannot re-file a previously heard allegation unless there is new evidence. The respondent will have the chance to file a response.

If the complaint meets the technical filing requirements, the review by the Independent Legislative Ethics Commission would go as follows:
  • Hearing is closed to the public
  • Commission must give public notice that they are meeting to review an ethics complaint
  • Complaint is private (if the complaint or its information is released, the complaint is dismissed, but can be refiled)
  • Hearing structure is similar to a trial (testimony of witnesses/cross-examination, etc.)
Each allegation that is proved (4 out of 5 vote that the allegation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence) is forwarded to the House or Senate Legislative Ethics Committee for their action. The commission would publicly release a report that included complaint and response on the proved allegations, plus findings which include votes and comments on the proved allegations.

The review by the House or Senate Ethics Committee would go as follows:
  • Hearing is conducted in public
  • Hearing structure is similar to the commission’s review
  • Committee deliberates in private after hearing evidence and testimony
  • Committee releases findings on all allegations reviewed (the vote on each allegation and comments as well as recommendations to the House or Senate for disciplinary action on proved allegations.
Each allegation that is proved (proof means a majority of the committee votes that the allegation is supported by a standard of clear and convincing evidence) is forwarded to the entire House or Senate. At this point, the House or Senate can vote to Discipline/Censure a legislator (which requires a majority vote) or Expel them from the body (which requires a 2/3 vote).
S.J.R. 19 - Joint Rules Resolution on Ethics Complaints – This bill is a clarification of S.J.R. 3 - In Senator Valentine’s words:
Senate Joint Resolution 19 - Joint Rules Resolution on Ethics Complaints clarifies SJR 3. To remove possible criticism about the process, this bill requires any new ethics complaints to go directly to the Independent Legislative Ethics Commission rather than going through the Senate or House legislative ethics committees first. In my previous bill, the legislative ethics committee chairs served as the gatekeepers during the filing period. However, I believe we want to make the commission truly independent by giving them the primary authority to investigate ethics complaints against members of the legislature.

Along with the change in the initial filing, this resolution also provides that the chair of the commission will provide notice of a filing of an ethics complaint – confidential, no names or details until publicly disclosed by the commission – to the Speaker of the House or the Senate President as well as the chair and vice-chair of the legislative ethics committee.
As we've learned, there's a dark side of campaign politics - particularly from some who don't feel they can win at the ballot box. The next two bills are associated with SJR3, to help assure frivolous, deceitful or politically opportunistic complaints will not damage the reputations of the innocent. Sorry, ________ (you know who you are) we know that takes some of the fun out of your campaign work.
S.B. 136 - Open and Public Meetings Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints - This legislation is meant to depoliticize the review of ethics complaints by allowing a review committee to complete its due diligence prior to publicizing an ethics complaints.

S.B. 138 - Grama Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints - This legislation further depoliticizes the review of ethics complaints by allowing records related to review of specific ethics complaints to be classified as private, but allows any other document to be classified as public by legislative rule. It's worth noting that these documents were already private -- this revision opens it up somewhat.
H.B. 267- Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act Amendments – This bill requires the disclosure of an expenditure greater than $10. A lobbyist, principal or government officer (not a legislator) is prohibited from making an expenditure on behalf of a legislator greater than $10 except for food, a beverage, travel, lodging, or attendance at a meeting or activity (which must be disclosed). This bill also adds definition to many terms, providing clarity.

H.B. 270 - Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Amendments and H.J.R. 14 - Joint Rules Resolution on Financial Disclosures – This bill modifies and extends the requirement to file a financial disclosure form and the existing application of the criminal provision (Section 76-8-109) which requires a legislator to verbally declare a conflict of interest before a vote if the conflict is not listed on the form. Legislators must file the form on the first day of the legislative session and when a legislator changes employment.

Candidates for the Legislature, state constitutional offices, and the State Board of Education are required to file the same financial disclosure form at the time they file a declaration of candidacy. Here is an example of the form. With this legislation, the information must be available to the public via the internet.

H.B. 124 - Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions - This bill prohibits a candidate or officeholder from spending campaign funds on personal items (that primarily furthers a personal interest of a candidate or officeholder and is NOT connected with the candidacy or office) from campaign contributions. It also provides a list of authorized and prohibited uses of campaign contributions.

This bill authorizes the Lieutenant Governor to enforce this prohibition with a fine equaling 50% of the expenditure and forcing the return of 100% of the expenditure to the candidate’s campaign account.

H.B. 329 – Campaign Finance Amendments – This bill adds to the filing requirements for a candidate during a campaign. It also requires a person sponsoring certain electioneering communications (third party campaigning either supporting or opposing) to file a report. A corporation must disclose a contract with the state in excess of $100,000. This bill also prohibits someone from making a campaign contribution in another person’s name. If one does not file a timely financial statement, removal from the ballot and a fine would be imposed by the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

Want more detail?

Click on the bill headers, above, or open this bullet-point summary of the key ethics legislation in 2010 (PDF). In addition, here's a PDF of the Ethics Reform Legislation we passed in 2009.

We'd be interested in thoughtful feedback.

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Senator Hillyard: Getting in shape for the garden season

By Lyle Hillyard
Utah State Senator

It was great to spend most of Saturday in my garden and yard but oh how it hurts afterward! I try to get little projects done in the evening when I have some time but a full 8 hours working when I finally get a chance can really cause some pain. I hope that I can over come that with a few more such Saturdays. I need to remember how good it feels when I am done and look back at what has been accomplished. Does anyone have a good recommendation for a good heat rub?

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Legislation passed in memory of the 10th Amendment

Holly on the Hill calls it the States' Rights Session of 2010. We disagree - the eventual story of the 2010 session has to include balancing a shrinking budget in a humane smart way, ethics policy reform and a host of other substantive issues.

But Holly has a pretty good list.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Senator Bramble: 10 Ethics Bills in 2010

Senator Bramble's comments in the UVU debate last week:
This year, 10 bills dealing with ethics were passed by the legislature. Their provisions include an independent commission; prohibitions on campaign spending other than on the campaign; conflict of interest amendments; campaign disclosure requirements; open meetings requirements; and no gifts with value greater than $10.

All these things combined represent strong improvements, he said. By contrast, the UEG initiative is “frightening.”

“They give themselves the power of law. They give themselves the power of appropriation. They give themselves the power of subpoena, and to deem someone guilty of a felony,” Bramble said. “And all of that with no judicial review of any of their actions, period. This would be a miscarriage of justice.”

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Why take healthcare legislation to court?

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff explains why he and several of our sister-states are filing a lawsuit against federal healthcare legislation.



Here's KSL.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ethics Reform Editorial

In the Daily Herald, emphasis is ours:

It's time for Utahns for Ethical Government to withdraw its referendum on legislative ethics reform.

The group's flawed effort had the beneficial effect of pushing the Legislature to pass its own reforms, and the Legislature's plan turned out better.

To be sure, the UEG group is making hay of the scandals bookending the just-ended session: former House majority leader Kevin Garn's hot-tubbing with a teen, as well as Senate leader Sheldon Killpack's DUI arrest before the 2010 session.

Such spin underlines the reality that UEG is a political group, regardless of its rhetoric. These scandals should not distract Utahns from the fact that Garn's past has nothing to do with legislative ethics, and Killpack's misdeed -- a DUI -- is only marginally related.

It's true that the Legislature's ethics review and discipline process needed to be strengthened. The question, however, is how best to address the matter.

UEG made its pitch, but in a politically charged and ill-considered ballot initiative. Since last year it has been doing everything it can to qualify that initiative. Its proposed rules, however, are badly crafted, potentially casting a wide net of suspicion on citizen-lawmakers, while hobbling their ability to defend themselves. It likely would deter good people from running for office, while distracting legislators from their real concerns.

It sets up its own sponsors as "czars" to inject themselves into the process under certain circumstances. And it attempts to dodge some of the checks and balances of our political and legal systems.

In short, in trying to find an ideal solution for a perfect world, the ballot initiative would create a flawed system that would function badly in the real world.

The Legislature has now passed its own package of ethics reform. It is a strong one that meets all reasonable criteria for setting and enforcing ethical standards. The Legislature's plan restricts personal use of campaign funds, reforms the campaign funding process, and tightens conflict-of-interest disclosure.

It also would create an independent ethics panel -- with retired judges in the majority -- selected in a fair and balanced process that includes both major political parties. It includes provisions for alerting the public that an ethics probe is under way without slaughtering reputations prematurely.

Legislators should be held to high standards, but so should ethics complaints. This was achieved in the Legislature's reforms. Lawmakers have managed to take politics largely out of the process, which is quite an accomplishment -- and one that is not shared with the politically charged UEG initiative. The poorly conceived UEG initiative would allow virtually anyone to lob a flurry of charges, valid or not, at a politician in the hope something sticks. That's wrong. Worse, the UEG proposal makes the process exempt from judicial review. That's frightening.

While the Legislature's plan seems too cautious to some critics, we believe its measured approach is best. Rash, sweeping legislation like the UEG initiative often ushers in a host of unforeseen complications.

There is a strong case for the principle that when it comes to lawmaking, the legislative process has many advantages over citizen initiatives. It's a little known secret, closely guarded by UEG, that citizen initiatives are at least as vulnerable to the machinations of special interests as legislative measures -- and maybe more so. Just look at California, where various groups have rammed through a great many "citizen" initiatives. The Golden State is virtually dysfunctional today, partly as a result of citizen mandates.

So, be careful what you wish for.

At least the Utah Legislature's efforts are the product of men and women who have been elected to represent the voters -- and they'll have to face voters again soon. That is the most certain check on ethical transgressions or runaway power available in our republic.

The Utah Legislature, for all its follies, has made a strong move on ethics reforms. The process it created is strong, neutral, respectful and transparent. It should be given a chance.

If UEG manages to get its petition on the ballot, voters would see it alongside the Legislature's request for an independent ethics commission under the state Constitution. Such a ballot collision would only muddy the issue. It raises the specter of both measures passing and bringing on a legal nightmare that might thwart reforms. Here's our suggestion: As an American politician once suggested about the Vietnam War, it is time for UEG to declare victory and get out. The group could plausibly claim that it pushed the Legislature to clean up its act. Reformers could take satisfaction in their efforts, congratulate lawmakers on finally seeing the light, proclaim that their work is done and ride off into the sunset.

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Spring has Sprung

By Lyle Hillyard
Utah State Senator
Representing Cache & Rich Counties

As we were driving home Friday morning from Salt Lake after the legislative session ended, we stopped at my daughter’s home in Centerville. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had already planted some of their garden, and especially the growth of the spinach that they had planted late last fall.

Now that the session is over, I feel like spring is in the air so I stopped to look at my garden. I was pleased to see that most of the snow was gone so I will be able to cane the raspberries as we prepare for a new growing year. My raspberries come on about Labor Day and when caned, I must cut all of the branches off at ground level. When I am done, you can’t tell anything is even growing there. The other raspberries we have grown come on in mid summer and the caning there is quite different. You must only cut off the dead wood which is the stalks which have born fruit the past growing season and trim off some of the longer stems. By mid summer, my raspberry stalks will be 3 to 4 feet high and you would think that they had been a patch like that for years.

The carrots we buried in leaves last fall have now are all dug up and are as sweet as I remember them from past years. We are going to try parsnips. I remember them from my youth as also good buried for the winter. My wife has found lots of uses for parsnips this past year.

The other immediate job is to prune the apple trees. We had another good crop last year which leads me to wonder if this may be a resting year where not so many fruit develop. It won’t be long before I can plant some potatoes. The earlier the better for me because I love to dig and eat new potatoes. I feel we are blessed with good land and the freedom to use it well.

Happy spring and happy gardening!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Legislative Awards

Pignanelli & Webb: Some outstanding performances at the Legislature:
"Best evidence that courage still exists in politics: Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who incurred the wrath of thousands by almost single-handedly reforming the public employee retirement system to avert a looming disaster.

"Best performance as Renaissance Man: Sen. Steve Urquhart sponsored legislation to prevent nasty abuse on the Internet and to broaden sex education in public schools. In other words, he is dragging us into the 21st century.

"Best performance without a title: Although no longer a member of legislative leadership, Sen. Curt Bramble remains Senate workhorse, personally guiding 61 pieces of legislation and playing significant roles in crafting most legislative compromises.

"Greatest surprise performance: Some politicos wondered if Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins could fill the shoes of his predecessor. He did it with dignity and style.

"Conscience of the Senate award: Sen. John Valentine distinguished himself in crafting and passing needed ethics legislation that is a legitimate alternative to the ethics initiatives.

"Best performance by newcomers: Although sworn in on the eve of the legislative session, Sens. Ben McAdams and Jerry Stevenson deftly utilized their local government experience and impressed all with their bipartisan approach. Sen. Stuart Adams, a legislative returnee, was also effective."

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State Budget 2011: The Unsung Heroes

By Lyle Hillyard
Senate Chair of Exec Approps

Everyone knew as the past legislative session began that the budget would be the tough challenge. I did not think as late as Monday, March 1st, that we would make it because the Governor and the Legislature were so far apart. Many people wonder how we can do this in just 45 days and the simple answer is that we have to.

This session was especially difficult because of the continuing cuts that had to be made. Last year, the cuts could be made in committee without really seeing the impact they were having. Those impacts were seen since that session and it made everyone more cautious about what we were doing. At the same time, legislators were seeing what was happening to the private sector. There was no mood to raise the taxes to the level many people dependent on government funding were requesting. It is a very stressful process both mentally and emotionally to try to ensure the proper balance.

I want to complement the Governor, his staff and the agencies for their willingness to step up and help with the process. I have seen many times when there is no cooperation and the changes the legislature was trying to make were done without the local expertise agencies could have offered.

Second, I can’t say enough good about our staff members who in my mind are the unsung heroes. I know how much time Rep. Bigelow and I spent reviewing budgets and programs to see how to best allocate the money we had but staff was there before we arrived and stayed until after we left. Jonathon Ball, Steve Allred and all of those men and women who serve in the Fiscal Analyst office did a yeoman’s job. I cannot remember a time that a question was asked that they either had an immediate answer or would get us one in minutes.

Third, we tried to involve all legislators in their role as members of appropriations subcommittees and we relied greatly on their recommendations. From the feedback I received, I believe that even the members of the minority party felt a part of the process and their input was given careful attention.

I for one am tired of cutting budgets and hope next year that more people are working and comfortably spending most of their earnings so that we can concentrate on building the programs that are really needed and talk about a tax cut again.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Budget Report to the Board of Directors

It didn't come easy, but the state budget is balanced.

Here is a pretty clear overview (PDF) followed by a committee-by-committee summary of the Utah State Budget.

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Ghost Town: Monday after Session

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Morning (OK, afternoon...) Workout

  1. Out of Context: Some Legislative Levity (Gehrke on Sen. Liljenquist's serenade)
  2. Watch it here at the Senate Channel
  3. Hesterman Report on the legislative session (SenateSite)
  4. Daily Herald: Lawmakers finish up 45 days of heavy lifting
  5. KUER: 2010 Legislative Session Ends
  6. KSL: Lawmakers: The 2010 Legislative Session was a success
  7. Bernick: 2010 Legislature to be remembered for budget, ethics
  8. Fox13: Utah's 45-day legislative session coming to an end
  9. SLTrib: The states' rights session
  10. Davis Co. Clipper: 2010 Legislature
  11. Daily Herald: Herbert: First session went well, even with tobacco tax increase
  12. Roche: Gov. Gary Herbert listens, compromises in first session as governor
  13. KSL: Utah legislative Democrats say bipartisanship hit a high note
  14. SLTrib: E-Verify bill clears Utah House, ready to be signed
  15. DNews: Lawmakers urge feds to relinquish disputed rural roads
  16. DNews: No dollars for new state road projects
  17. St. George Spectrum: $35M approved for DSC building
  18. Daily Herald: UVU science building close to a done deal
  19. SLTrib: School districts to get break on funding rules
  20. KCPW: Lawmakers Reach Deal on Charter School Funding
  21. DNews: Lawmakers drop charter issue to resolve education budget
  22. Schencker: Schools' budget spared heavy cuts
  23. DNews: Charter schools get boost in funding, seat on board
  24. KCPW: Last-Minute Effort to Ban Paid Union Leave Fails
  25. SLTrib: Utah Legislature calls on Congress to allow local control of old roads
  26. DNews: Animal euthanasia not limited to lethal injection
  27. SLTrib: Utah senate rejects animal euthanasia standards
  28. SLTrib: Utah lawmakers urge health care transparency
  29. DNews: Teen cell phone bill fails
  30. SLTrib: Driving-while-phoning ban fails in Legislature
  31. SLTrib: Teens get break on skills test
  32. KSL: Utah bicyclists won't be allowed to run lights
  33. SLTrib: State pension plan gets overhaul
  34. DNews: Higher education dealt minor changes, remains optimistic
  35. SLTrib: Utah senator-grading bill ready for signature
  36. DNews: Herbert won't veto cigarette tax hike
  37. SLTrib: Herbert expects to approve $1 per-pack tobacco tax
  38. DNews: Lack of support dooms anti-affirmative action proposal
  39. SLTrib: Utah backers of amendment to ban affirmative action abandon fight
  40. KCPW: Equalization Repeal Law Passes After Several Revisions
  41. DNews: Student reading bill passes
  42. SLTrib: Lawmakers approve transit-oriented districts
  43. DNews: Legislators approve DNA collection bill
  44. SLTrib: Independent panel gets OK, cap on gifts fails
  45. Davis Co. Clipper: Rob Miller: The ‘best’ and ‘worst’ of the 2010 Legislature
  46. Davis Co. Clipper: Todd Weiler: The ‘best’ and ‘worst’ of the 2010 Legislature
  47. Tooele Transcript: Big election year kicks off Friday
  48. KCPW: Bison, Deer, & Bighorn Sheep Hunting to Be Allowed on Antelope Island
  49. KSL: Ban on nicotine-flavored candies fails to pass

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last Day of 2010 Session part-2

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Sine Die

Sine Die - ADVERB: abbr. s.d. Without a day specified for a future meeting; indefinitely: The Senate adjourned sine die.

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Final Day of the Legislative Session

Today will move fast. Twitter is probably the best way to track it.

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Hesterman Report - Final Look on 2010 Session

As the 2010 Legislative session comes to a close I wanted to share with you some of the sound bytes from the session that stood out to me. In the final Hesterman Report you'll hear about the budget, State's Rights, and Ethics. Listen here. (MP3)

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Last Day of 2010 Session part-1

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Media Briefing: March 11

Today's media briefing included President Waddoups and Senator Jenkins recapping some of the accomplishments of the Senate during this session. Also, Senator Stephenson spoke on SB 2. Watch the full briefing here. Listen to it here. (MP3)

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Senator Stowell on Streambed Access

By Dennis E. Stowell
Senator, District 28

It is important that we bring the escalating confrontations between property owners and recreationists to a close. SB 141 affirms the right for a person to float or fish, while floating in public waters over private property. It also is designed to confirm the constitutional protection for private property owners.

Recreationists should know that they can still gain access to areas of rivers on private property through a program run by the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) called the “Walk-in Access” program.

This is how the Walk-in Access program works: The DWR can lease a tract of private land for hunting, trapping and/or fishing privileges for the use of public recreation. Those who travel on foot, hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers can enter and use the land without obtaining special permission or paying a separate fee. This partnership between the state and private landowners helps maintain important wildlife habitat on private lands and improves public access for wildlife-related recreation on private property.

Fishers should also know that there is still access available on streams that flow through private lands without walk-in access. Where access has historically existed, anglers will be able to walk within three feet of the water on either bank, and are also able to port around obstacles.

This bill is not meant to create dissonance between recreationists and private land owners. This bill is about ensuring that private property owners are receiving the constitutional protection for private properties. Thus making certain private property is not taken or damaged for public use without just compensation. Anglers are still welcome to enjoy the rivers and streams in the state of Utah but are expected to respect the rights that belong to those that own the property on which they use.

To further help open private areas we have passed SB 281Public access to Stream Beds, Utah Waterways Task force. This task force will be made up of 12 legislators that will study, during the 2010 interim session, areas of the state which have conflicts between fishermen and landowners. The task force will hold public hearings to allow the landowners and fishermen testify about the conflicts in these areas. This process will help the legislature better understand how the problem may be solved. The task force will also address funding issues in regards to expanding the DWR Walk-in Access program, funding to permanently purchase access rights from landowners, and establishment of cooperative fishing management units (CFMU’S).

Public Hearings for areas being studied will be announced on the Senate Site as they are scheduled. Please be involved.

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Extra blessings for the final day of session

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Staff Highlights: Secretary of the Senate





By Krystle Whitney
Intern in Exile

As the final member of The Circle, Secretary of the Senate Annette Moore was pretty tough to track down for an interview. With illness, session duties and my being stationed in Exile, I count it close to a miracle that we were able to meet up.

Having a long history with the Utah State, Annette is a key player and source of stability. She supervises session staff, certifies the transfer of bills from Senate to the House of Representatives and enforces Parliamentary Procedure (having read and learned the 100 page manual). With this being her 19th Session, she said she is always learning new things about the Legislative process.

"In 19 years I have not missed one day of Session...if you’re sick you just come to work," she said. "But, there’s been a virus going around and I was one of the unfortunate ones and I was just really impressed by the way the staff...just stepped up. I was impressed by the team effort."

To hear more about Annette’s Senate Highlights or her favorite “funny moment” during her 19-years of working for the Legislature, listen to her interview above.

Click HERE for the podcast.

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Last Day of the Session Workout

  1. The Final 24 Hours
  2. KCPW: Senate Votes to Keep Pay the Same
  3. Daily Herald: Lawmakers vote to keep last year's pay cut
  4. ABC4: Utah legislators decide not to take pay hike
  5. KSL: Winners and losers of the 2010 Legislative Session
  6. SLTrib: Senate backs new campaign finance reporting rules
  7. SLTrib: Regents could get more rural
  8. DNews: Public education budget bill comes down to last day
  9. SLTrib: Will charter schools sink education funds deal?
  10. DNews: Districts to help fund charter schools?
  11. ABC4: Lawmakers make 10 million dollar cut to public education
  12. DNews: Senate Oks bill limiting scholarships
  13. KCPW: Teachers Will Still Get Paid Association Leave
  14. SLTrib: Anti-gang measure heads to guv's desk
  15. DNews: Gang prevention bill passes
  16. SLTrib: Legislature approves holiday for Browning
  17. KCPW: Watered-Down Prosthetic Parity Bill Clears Senate
  18. SLTrib: Senate paves way for road upgrades in Salt Lake County
  19. DNews: Rally at Capitol urges lawmakers to address climate change
  20. Fox 13: Utah House resources Rep and former SLC Mayor debate climate change
  21. Standard Ex: Antelope Island hunting part of budget legislation
  22. Out of Context: Political Cornflakes
  23. Sausage Grinder: Morning of the Last Day

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

24

Day 45. The final day of session. The Senate will work on House Bills. The House will work on Senate Bills. We'll concur (or not) with House amendments to Senate Bills. The House will concur (or not) with Senate amendments to House Bills.

Watch for conference committees throughout the day. (A conference committee is the small negotiating team that will resolve differences between House and Senate versions of a bill.) In a bygone era you could find them by listening for the shouting. These last few years - not so much.

Leadership of both bodies will trade priority lists. Senate Leadership will prioritize senate bills for the House to consider. House Leadership will prioritize house bills for the Senate to consider.

Bills are debated and acted on faster than normal. You’ll see hopes rise and fall as the clock hurtles toward midnight.

We might end early this year. We'll see. The state constitution indicates the last possible moment we can vote a bill up or down is the stroke of midnight.

Follow along on the Twitter Site.

Or watch or listen live via our official site. We'll be here all day, if you need us.

It's been a tough but productive session.

Thanks for paying attention.

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The Phantom Student Phase Out

Senator Howard Stephenson explains the Phantom Student Phaseout and fair funding of public schools in SB2.

video

Share the Youtube version of the Video by visiting here.

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Senate Floor Action: How to track your bills

We've been documenting senate floor action (here, here and here).

As the final End of Session Crescendo arrives, here are a few pointers on gathering all that vital information for yourself.

Visit the Audio & Video Archives
1. Visit the Legislative web site.

2. On the far right side, you’ll see the “Quick Links” section. Listed under this section is "Floor Debates." Click on the Senate tab.

3. On this page, fill in the desired Legislative Session year and date.

4. Once you have chosen a specific day, all floor action of that day should show up with options to view each action (or bill debate) either visually or with audio.

Bill Search and Bill Status Page
1. On the right upper corner of the Legislative site, you’ll find the “Quick Bill Search” section. Type in your bill number, name of the sponsor or the subject of the bill into the search box. Easy as pie.

2. Click on your bill.

3. Now you're at the Bill's info page. You'll be able to . . .
Upload and read the actual bill in PDF or HTML format.

Track bill status to see where the bill has been or where it is headed and track the tallied votes it has received.

Listen to debates on the bill, either while it was in committee or on the Senate floor.

Have updates bill sent to your email address.

Etcetera. Check it out. Here's an example.

More Tracking Tools

On the left side of the Legislative site, mouse over Bills and check out the options.


The Reading Calendar

"What bill are they on now?" Also easy as pie to find out. Go to the Reading Calendar. Put a check in the House or Senate "Display Board" box. Now you know. You can see the vote count here too.

On the left side you can also check boxes to view a live video feed, list of bills to be discussed next and indications as to which bills are circled, and links to the text of all the bills on the calendars.

Leave a comment if you have any questions.

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March 10, 2010

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Staff Highlights: The Circle

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

The Circle (which actually isn't a circle at all but a elongated semi-circle) refers to those sitting in front of the Senate dais right below the Senate President. The three individuals who make up The Circle are known (amongst the Senate staff) as holding the most prestigious clerical positions. It consists of the Secretary of the Senate, Reading Mending Clerk and the Docket Clerk.

Because of illness, availability and the diversity of each of their positions, I’ve decided to interview the two clerks and the Secretary of the Senate separately. Leslie McLean (Reading Mending Clerk) and Paula Tew (Docket Clerk) amend bills, receive communications from the House, manage Senate services, aid the Third House and bring a comedic side to the Senate floor, to name just a few of their responsibilities.

I personally have to admit that interviewing these ladies had to be one of my highlights of this Session. Listen to their interview and see why.

Click HERE for the podcast.

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Media Briefing: March 10

In today's Media Briefing Senator Jenkins gave the latest updates on the positions of the majority caucus and Senator Stephenson spoke on funding related to education. You can watch the full briefing here. Listen to the full briefing here. (MP3)

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Wednesday Morning Workout

  1. Park Record: Session enters last days
  2. Political Cornflakes: Political Cornflakes
  3. SLTrib: Education funding: Guv, lawmakers salvage most of schools' budget
  4. DNews: Education takes a small hit in final budget
  5. 2News: Legislature Taps Rainy Day Fund To Spare Education
  6. DNews: Money for roads will now fund new buildings
  7. KSL: Governor, lawmakers reach deal on education funding
  8. Daily Herald: State budget proposal: Swap road projects for higher-ed needs
  9. Standard Ex: Utah governor, lawmakers come to terms on budget, cigarette tax
  10. Herald Journal: Legislature OKs FY 2011 budget
  11. KUER: Governor, Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Public Ed Funding - Also, Teachers Paid Leave, Eminent Domain, and How to Catch A Fish
  12. Stewart: Bill regulating teacher union rep funding fails in House
  13. Daily Herald: Gov. Herbert will decide if Utah jumps into federal land lawsuit
  14. SLTrib: Eminent domain bill ready for governor
  15. DNews: Senate approves eminent domain bills
  16. SLTrib: Senate approves bill to condemn federal land
  17. KSL: Governor signs bill requiring financial disclosure
  18. DNews: Bill would allow bonding for higher ed projects
  19. SLTrib: Road funds to take detour
  20. DNews: Legislation would allow closed auto dealers to seek damages
  21. Gehrke: Utah Legislature OKs bill to reinstate Chrysler dealers
  22. DNews: Lawmakers approve hike in waste fees
  23. SLTrib: Senate backs restrictions on stream access
  24. KCPW: Senate Approves New Streambed Access Bill
  25. The Spectrum: E-Verify may become Utah law
  26. KSL: Legislature puts a stop to real estate transfer fees
  27. SLTrib: Senate blocks legal notices in free publications
  28. KSL: Tension builds as Legislative session comes to a close
  29. SLTrib: Guv inks bill to thin number of school tests

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Senator Stephenson on SB 250: holding U.S. Senators accountable

By Howard Stephenson
Senator, District 11

Article I Section 3 Clause 1 of the Constitution states:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
This process was chosen as a part of the Great Compromise in 1787 to ensure that checks and balances exist within our government: by having the state legislature elect senators to the upper house of the national congress this measure balanced the populist tendencies of the direct election of members to the House of Representatives. As officials are most accountable to those bodies that elect them, the intent was to ensure that focus on legislating for the States as whole and sovereign bodies rather than conducting broad and overreaching national programs that intruded upon the rights of the States.

This long-standing method came to end in 1911 with the passage of the Amendment XVII. It amended the Constitution to allow U.S. Senators to be selected by a direct, general election of the public at large. This turned out to be a far reaching shift in the balance of elected offices in the context of federalism. While the passage of Amend. XVII not only had the effect of putting Senators in a more direct, responsive relationship with the average citizen, it also limited the all too often corrupt influence Senators could exercise over the local races in their home state.

These laudable impacts are, however, outweighed by that which was sacrificed in the process: a vital link of cooperation and mutual responsibility between the Federal Government and State Legislatures. Today, rather than national Senators exercising undue influence over the election of state offices, national Senators appear to be too little interested in the needs of their respective States and their governing bodies. The misuse of the TARP and ARRA funds, lined and laced from one end to the other with pork-barrel projects and private Washington gamesmanship, is only the most recent in a “long train of abuses and usurpations.” Many of these projects are either blatantly unnecessary or simply unwanted by the states that they were so graciously “bestowed” upon—namely without their consent. Direct elections, far from making U.S. Senators more responsive to their constituents, appear to have actually distanced them from their duties.

A full scale repeal of the long entrenched Amendment would be inefficient and a reactionary measure at best. Rather than alter a well-established process of elections, why not reexamine giving the people new guards and securities against the responsibilities of their officials? Senate Bill 250 is designed to restore the efficacy of checks and balances between Utah and her federal officials. This bill will allow political parties to consult with their respective members of the Utah House of Representatives and Senate on the job performance of the Senators in Washington. Parties will then be better informed as to how the Federal Delegation is representing the State and that they pursue Federal policies that work in the best interest for the citizens of Utah. We all know that regular reporting by an outside observer—just as in auditing—keeps an agent honest towards his principal, and that is the principle at work in SB 250.

S.B. 250 will allow a political party to establish bylaws . . .
(1) . . . in order to rate and evaluate their elected legislators both in the state and nationally.

(2) . . . whereby members could rate their state senators and state representatives.

(3) . . . in order to rate and evaluate their national senators generally, as well as specifically regarding their performance and position on the state’s rights.

(4) . . . in order to rate candidates for the United States’ Senate races.

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March 9, 2010

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Senator Valentine on SJR 19: slight but significant change to the Ethics Complaint Process

By John L. Valentine
Utah State Senator, District 14

Senate Joint Resolution 19 - Joint Rules Resolution on Ethics Complaints
clarifies SJR 3. To remove possible criticism about the process, this bill requires any new ethics complaints to go directly to the Independent Legislative Ethics Commission rather than going through the Senate or House legislative ethics committees first. In my previous bill, the legislative ethics committee chairs served as the gatekeepers during the filing period. However, I believe we want to make the commission truly independent by giving them the primary authority to investigate ethics complaints against members of the legislature.

Along with the change in the initial filing, this resolution also provides that the chair of the commission will provide notice of a filing of an ethics complaint – confidential, no names or details until publicly disclosed by the commission – to the Speaker of the House or the Senate President as well as the chair and vice-chair of the legislative ethics committee.

This bill passed the Senate today unanimously and is headed to the House for their consent.

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Run for the hills! It's HB 150

The much-talked about HB 150 passed the Senate this morning. We've heard some valid concern about this bill, mixed with a little healthy paranoia and some outright misunderstanding.

Here are some facts:

HB 150 is designed to give law enforcement a technological tool to investigate not only sex offenses against children but also child kidnapping and stalking activity. Criminals have expanded their criminal activities with technology (text messaging, emails, access to internet) and it is important to expand law enforcement's ability likewise to include electronic communication devices such as cell phones as well as being able to trace email addresses.
  • HB 150 does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The bill does not go after content. It only covers contact information such as name, phone number, email address, bank account identifiers and location of suspected offenders (of the three listed crimes: sex offenses against a child, kidnapping of a child, and stalking). The electronic sources being used are cell phones, smart phones, PDA's and email addresses.
  • Additional content can only be obtained only through court orders/warrants.
  • Other states that have similar laws in place: Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Kentucky, Virginia, and Wyoming.
  • Most of the major providers of electronic services have service contracts advising customers that the providers will cooperate with law enforcement in criminal investigations.
  • Every federal court that has addressed this topic has ruled that subscriber information to an internet provider is not protected by the Fourth Amendment. The internet provider is a third party and there is no legitimate expectation of privacy in non-content information
Hope that helps. You can watch the Senate's floor debate to this bill here.

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Staff Highlights: Senate Hostesses

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

If you’ve listened to past “Staff Highlights” interviews this Session, or if you’ve looked at the colorful pictures published on our Picasa Site, you’ve probably guessed that a big highlight to working with the Senate is the amount of food we share with each other. And who better to prepare and distribute these delicious treats than the Senate Hostesses Evoline Gardner and Katherine Gardner (no relation).

“I don’t think people realize how hard everyone works,” Katherine said. “That’s one of the things that has impressed me in the two years that I’ve been here; the wonderful people that are working very hard to bring all of this about in just 45 days.”

Joking that their highlight for Session this year was the amount of chocolate milk they were able to hand out, they both said they have enjoyed getting to know the Senate staff and are impressed by the help everyone offers for each other.

To listen to their highlights and learn more about their position, click on the audio above.

Or click HERE for the podcast.

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Hesterman Report: SB 250

The Senate Passed SB 250. This bill will allow the delegates who select senate candidates for their political party to become better educated as to how U.S. Senators have served their state - from the perspective of the state legislature. Senator Stephenson discusses the bill in this edition of the Hesterman Report. Listen here. (MP3)

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Chamber of Commerce on 2010's Ethics Bills

Press release from the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce:

Chamber praises landmark ethics modernization

SALT LAKE CITY- (March 8, 2010) The Salt Lake Chamber applauds the State Legislature for modernizing Utah's legislative ethics laws to support transparency and high standards of conduct in government. This legislation comes on the heels of last year's efforts, which established a one-year cooling-off period, strengthened the gift ban, placed limitations on the use of campaign funds after leaving public office and required annual ethics training for legislators and lobbyists. Taken together, the Utah Legislature has enacted the most significant ethics reform legislation in our state's history and dramatically improved transparency and accountability in government.

Ethics legislation 2010

We commend the Legislature for its overwhelming bipartisan support of H.J.R. 15, sponsored by House Speaker David Clark, which will establish an independent ethics commission in the State Constitution.

Other ethics bills supported by the Chamber include:
H.B. 267- Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act Amendments (Rep. Garn), which passed both houses without a single nay vote. This bill bans lobbyist expenditures greater than $10 excepting food, beverage and certain other reasonable expenses. This legislation gives citizens further assurance that gifts are not given to legislators as a quid pro quo.

H.B. 270 - Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Amendments (Rep. Hughes), which passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate with only two dissenting votes. This legislation strengthens financial disclosure rules for elected officials and requires conflict of interest disclosure on any and all potential conflicts. This legislation also provides that this information be available to the public via the internet, thereby improving transparency and increasing accountability of elected officials to their constituents.

H.J.R. 14 - Joint Rules Resolution on Financial Disclosures (Rep. Hughes), which passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate with only two dissenting votes. This bill immediately changes legislative rules to incorporate the changes contained in H.B. 270.

H.B. 124 - Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions (Rep. Cosgrove), which passed the House and Senate unanimously. This bill prohibits a candidate, judge or an officeholder from using campaign contributions for personal expenditures and provides for enforcement, investigation of complaints and assessment of penalties.

S.B. 136 - Open and Public Meetings Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Sen. Valentine), which passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House with one dissenting vote. This legislation depoliticizes the review of ethics complaints by providing a review committee to complete its due diligence prior to publicizing ethics complaints. Providing this fair process protects the integrity of the complaint process.

S.B. 138 - Grama Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Sen. Valentine), which passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House with one dissenting vote. This legislation further depoliticizes the review of ethics complaints by allowing only records related to review of specific ethics complaints to be classified as private, but allows any other document to be classified as public by legislative rule.

S.J.R. 3 - Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures (Sen. Valentine), which passed unanimously in the Senate and with only two dissenting votes in the House. This legislation creates an independent Legislative Ethics Commission and modifies the rules of the House and Senate in regards to procedure for adjudicating ethics complaints.
These changes enjoy bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.

Initiative on legislative ethics

The Chamber opposes the confusing and over-reaching ethics initiative that is currently circulating throughout the state, but acknowledges its value in making ethics modernization a front and center issue this year. We oppose the petition because it has the potential to restrict businesspersons and community leaders from serving in a citizens' legislature. The Chamber also opposes onerous financial disclosure requirements that violate personal privacy beyond the scope needed for public accountability. We encourage Utah residents to read the initiative, pay special attention to the definitions at the front and refrain from signing the initiative because it limits representation in the Legislature.

Next steps

The community must be vigilant in demanding the highest standards of ethical conduct in government. We look favorably upon the recommendations agreed to by the Governor's Commission on Strengthening Utah's Democracy and recommend a full vetting of their recommendations over the interim period. We pledge to work with the Legislature to continually improve representative government.

About the Chamber

The Salt Lake Chamber is Utah's largest statewide business association and Utah's Business Leader. With roots that date back to 1887, the Chamber has been standing as the voice of business, supporting its members' success and championing community prosperity for over 100 years. The Chamber represents 6,100 businesses statewide and one in every three jobs in the Utah economy. Chamber strategic partners include the Downtown Alliance and World Trade Center Utah.

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Media Briefing: March 9

Members of the Utah Senate including, President Waddoups, Senator Jenkins, Senator Hillyard, Senator Jones, and Senator Dayton, met with the media prior to afternoon floor time to discuss the latest issues taking place in the Senate. You can watch the full media briefing here. Listen here. (MP3)

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SCR 11, Opposition to the Creation of the New National Monuments

By Kevin T. Van Tassell
Senator, District 26

With the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 11, Expressing Opposition to the Creation of New National Monuments in Utah, from the Senate floor yesterday, I thought I would take the time to explain the key elements on what this Resolution really does.

SCR 11 is a joint resolution between the Legislature and the Governor’s Office requesting that state and local Utahns have the opportunity to give input before a new national park or monument is created. We know the state and its lands better than those in Washington D.C. and this would allow for us to weigh in and give our opinions on shaping the boundaries.

With about 70% of the State of Utah already owned by the federal government, we consider it a huge impact when any of our federal lands are changed from BLM or US Forest Service to National Park or National Monument. Not only are governing rules changed, but the state is forever banned from multi use to develop industry; effecting potential water development, impacting livestock grazing, and many recreational activities.

This resolution simply states that we should have more input as a state. SCR 11 would also address the Antiquities Act and asks the President of the United States and the United States Congress to refrain from using this act to designate new national monuments of any large land mass. We would amend the Antiquities Act to clarify its actual intent, which is to establish small discrete monuments or memorials as existed in Utah prior to the creation of the 1996 Grand Staircase National Monument.

My hope in structuring this resolution is to have the Resolution signed by the Legislature and the Governor and ready by the time Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visits Utah in April.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

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Tuesday Morning Workout

  1. Standard Ex: Senate Wives and More
  2. SLTrib: Utah lawmakers say no to more monuments
  3. KCPW: Legislature: No More National Monuments
  4. DNews: Opposition to future national monuments clears House
  5. KUER: Lawmakers Examine Land Use, E-Waste and DNA Collection
  6. Daily Herald: Lawmakers advance plan to increase DNA collection and storage
  7. DNews: Commemoration for Utah gunmaker John Browning to be one-time event — for now
  8. SLTrib: Senate votes to honor John Browning
  9. DNews: Meth reporting bill stalled in Senate
  10. Trib Editorial: Save DORA
  11. Loomis: Utah Senate votes to grade U.S. senators
  12. DNews: GOP lawmakers want power to rate U.S. senators
  13. SLTrib: Senate OKs loan support for dairy, turkey farmers
  14. KCPW: Violent Felony Suspects Could Have DNA Sample Taken Immediately
  15. DNews: Senate votes to expand DNA collection from crime suspects
  16. Gehrke: Senate OKs bill to collect DNA
  17. SLTrib: Senate seeks to ease penalties on emissions shops
  18. DNews: Lawmakers again shoot down carbon credit trading
  19. KCPW: Citing Cap-and-Trade Fears, Republican Senators Kill Carbon Credits Bill
  20. Standard Ex: Utah lawmakers divided over education cuts
  21. KSL: Public education to face $21M cut
  22. DNews: House leaders promise to restore $21 million to public education
  23. Schencker: Bill would raise tax cap for Jordan
  24. Stewart: Bill would allow for Jordan school tax increase
  25. Gehrke: Guv signs revised abortion bill
  26. ABC4: Herbert signs abortion bill into law
  27. SLTrib: Supporters push for anti-affirmative action vote
  28. DNews: Bill seeks to reduce medical malpractice lawsuits
  29. Sausage Grinder: Morning of the Last Tuesday

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Monday, March 08, 2010

March 8, 2010

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Media Briefing: March 8

Today's Media Briefing comes to you in two parts. The first includes Senator Adams and Ed Smart speaking on the DNA Amendments bill, SB277. You can watch this briefing here. Listen to it here. (mp3)

Part two features Senator Jenkins and Senator Hillyard giving the latest updates to the budget. You can watch the full session here. Listen here. (mp3)

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LAST Monday Morning Workout

  1. Out of Context: Things Get Hairy On The Hill
  2. Sausage Grinder: Morning of the Last Monday
  3. Burr: Political Cornflakes
  4. KSL: Education, tobacco tax take spotlight as 2010 session wraps up
  5. KSL: Sunday Edition, March 7: Education Funding Crisis
  6. Fox13: What will the 2010 legislature be known for?
  7. ABC4: The first annual "VanOscar" legislative awards
  8. DNews: Lawmakers pleased with achievements in 2010 Legislature
  9. DNews: House and Senate pass abortion measure
  10. SLTrib: Hospital assessment could bring $90M for low-income care
  11. DNews: Employee verification bill passes Senate
  12. KCPW: Senate Passes E-Verify Bill
  13. SLTrib: E-Verify bill clears Senate
  14. DNews: Lawmakers ponder insurance, liability
  15. SLTrib: Teens rally for sex education
  16. SLTrib: Scramble on to save drug treatment program
  17. Daily Herald: 'Sick tax' passes Senate, lawmakers say consumers won't pay more
  18. Stan Ex: Bill would allow UTA to develop transit-oriented communities
  19. KSL: Governor in tough position after lawmakers pass tobacco tax increase
  20. KCPW: Legislature Approves Tobacco Tax Hike, but will Governor Veto it?
  21. SLTrib: Lawmakers OK $1 per pack cigarette tax hike
  22. KCPW: Equalization Repeal on the Move in Legislature
  23. SLTrib: Help for Jordan District may be on the way
  24. SLTrib: Utah Latinos plan to march to state Capitol

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Staff Highlights: Secretaries

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

Being that they are housed in Exile with myself and the operators, I thought tracking down the Senate Secretaries for a Staff Highlight interview would be easy. Not quite. Little did I know how time consuming the life of a secretary is.

These six individuals help run committee meetings, take minutes, tally votes, make copies of bills, post agendas and hunt down the Senators for their signature on different types of documents. “We post agendas and they have to be on the Capitol Board 24 hours in advance,” Lorna said. “We have to watch the clock and if its getting close to that 24 hour time we have to hustle over.”

Because they travel throughout the offices for various signatures, they all agreed that they wish there was one common area where all of the Senate staff could be situated. “If I was to change anything I would get everybody in one place,” Henry said, joking that he does not like being in Exile.

Listed below are the Senate Secretaries:
Rolayne Day, Secretarial Supervisor
Karen C. Allred
Karen Allred
Ernest Hayes
Henry Liu
Lorna Wells
Click HERE for the podcast.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

March 5, 2010

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action March 5, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
1S.H.B. 196 Tobacco Tax Revisions (Christensen) passed with 19 yea, 8 nay votes. On to the Governor's Office.

1S.S.B. 227 Interlocal Energy Amendments (Bramble) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.S.B. 161 Real Property Transfer Fee Amendments (Madsen) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 231 Medical Benefits Under Worker's Compensation (Buttars) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 66 Public School Extracurricular for Home and Private School Students (Madsen) passed with 26 yea, 1 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B 188 Charter School Amendments (Stephenson) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 273 Hospital Assessments (Hillyard) passed with 24 yea, 2 nay votes. On to the House.

3S.S.B. 175 School District Capital Outlay Equalization Amendments (McAdams) passed with 23 yea, 1 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 198 Economic Development Incentive Amendments (Valentine) passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 157 Motor Vehicle Dealer Franchise Amendments (Bramble) passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
No Changes
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar

2S.S.B. 235 Agricultural Loan Authorization (Okerlund) Circled. Will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

1S.S.B. 207 Tax Exemption for Cedar Band of Paiute Tribe (Stowell) Circled. Will 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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Media Briefing: March 5

Today's Media Briefing included discussion on the Tobacco Tax Amendments being sponsored by Senator Christensen, Senator Hillyard explaining the latest news on the budget, and Senator Jenkins gave a rundown on the Majority's Friday agenda. Watch the briefing here. Listen to it here. (mp3)

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Morning Senate Floor Action March 5, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
1S.B. 199 Municipal Boundary Clarification (Okerlund) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 154 Postconviction Remedies Act Amendments (Adams) passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 219 Criminal Nuisance Amendment (Greiner) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 252 Bail Bond Act Amendments (Stowell) passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 238 Long-term Care Facility - Medicaid Certification for Bed Capacity Amendments (Robles) passed with 28, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 143 Grand Jury Amendments (Liljenquist) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 144 Vision Screening Amendments (Niederhauser) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

3S.B. 145 Medical Malpractice Amendments (Adams) passed with 24 yea, 1 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 251 Verification of Employment Eligibility (Buttars) passed with 24 yea, 4 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 32 Rainwater Harvesting (Jenkins) passed with 26 yea, 1 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 113 Wireless Telephone Use Restriction for Minors in Vehicles (Romero) passed with 20 yea, 7 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 259 Amendments to Tobacco Tax (Christensen) passed with 21 yea, 5 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 341 Uniform Athlete Agents Act passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

2H.B. 388 Mobile Home Revisions passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 161 Voter Registration Amendments passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 310 Spending Limits Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.C.R. 12 Printing and Graphic Arts Recognition Month Concurrent Resolution passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 215 Amendments to Public Employees' Benefit and Insurance Program Act - Risk Pools passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 462 Criminal Homicide and Abortion Revisions passed with 23 yea, 4 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.C.R. 16 Statue of Responsibility Monument Concurrent Resolution passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is 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. 200 Cause of Action Amendments (Urquhart) stricken from Senate floor by bill sponsor.

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

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Senate Radio: Hesterman Report - Ethics

The Senate passed legislation this week that will have a major impact on the ethics policies concerning Utah's lawmakers. Ethics Bills sponsors Senator Valentine, Senator Stowell, Senator Mayne, and Senator Niederhauser explained more on their bills. Listen here. (mp3)

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2 p.m. Media Briefings

We're changing the noon media briefing to 2:00 p.m. Ish.

To better facilitate information flow to the the press, we're going to hold the daily media briefing after caucus instead of before. We'll plan on 2:00 p.m. LST (Legislative Standard Time).

Briefings will be held in the Senate President's office, or you can watch online. Bloggers, reporters, tweeters (the entire FBLT Community*) are welcome.

We'll also be available as news breaks throughout the day. Reporters seeking one-on-one interviews with senators can coordinate with Laura Barlow (801-201-3813), Billy Hesterman (801-633-3663), or Janeen Halverson (801-538-1406).

* FBLT: Facebookers, bloggers, live-streamers, & tweeters.

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Friday Morning Workout

  1. DNews: Lawmakers, governor honor fallen heroes
  2. SLTrib: 10-year-old stands up for prosthetics change
  3. Herald Journal: Legislature approves CEU/USU merger
  4. DNews: CEU, USU prepare for potential merger
  5. ABC4: USU and CEU create an historic union
  6. DNews: Senators OK a cigarette tax increase
  7. Gehrke: With a probable tobacco tax filling holes, budget is taking shape
  8. ABC4: Utah Senate passes cigarette tax increase
  9. SLTrib: Malpractice caps appear likely
  10. Daily Herald: Changes to malpractice lawsuits easily passes House
  11. KUER: Cut Proposed for Public Ed, Lawmakers Wrap Up Ethics and Health Reform
  12. St. George Spectrum: Legislators to meet with city
  13. Canham: Father of Elizabeth Smart pushes for law collecting DNA from arrestees
  14. DNews: Rallying cry at Capitol: If this isn’t rainy day, what would be?
  15. Examiner.com: SB248 allows Internet casino ads
  16. Daily Herald: Bill would restrict teens from driving while talking on cell
  17. SLTrib: Teen cell phone bill clears House
  18. DNews: Ethics showdown possible at ballot box
  19. SLTrib: Senators debate ethics and people's right
  20. SLTrib: Anti-federal health care bill passes on party lines
  21. Davis County Clipper: 2010 Legislature
  22. Standard Ex: Utah state Rep. Allen won't seek re-election
  23. Davis County Clipper: Sheryl Allen not running for House seat
  24. SLTrib: Gay lawmaker to leave Utah House, laments lack of 'equal protections'
  25. DNews: Rep. Christine Johnson opts out of seeking new term

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

March 4, 2010

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Ethics Bills: Where are they now?

More status updates on this session’s key ethics bills:

SJR 3 S2 Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures (Valentine) - Senate Concurrence Calendar (Passed the House 71-2).
The following bills work in conjunction with SJR3:
SB 136 S2 Open and Public Meetings Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) - Passed Senate (Passed House 69-1).

SB 138 S1 Grama Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) - Passed Senate (Passed House 69-1).
HJR 15 Joint Resolution on Legislative Ethics Committee - Passed Senate, sent back to the House.

HB 124 S2 Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions - Passed Senate, sent back to the House with amendments.

HB 267 S1 Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act Amendments - Passed Senate, sent back to the House with amendments.

HJR 14 Joint Rules Resolution on Financial Disclosures - Passed Senate, sent back to the House.

HB 270 Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Amendments - Passed Senate, sent back to the House with amendments.

HB 329 S2 Campaign Finance Amendments - Senate Rules Committee.

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Staff Highlights: Pages

(click picture for sound)

By Krystle Whitney
Intern in Exile

To be honest, when I first heard the term “Senate Pages,” I thought the reference belonged to some paperwork in the back room. How wrong I was. Not only do Pages help organize all of the Senate Bill’s as they come, they work with the Secretaries to handle Senators signatures, remind Senators when it is their time to speak on the floor and distribute notes and paperwork throughout the Senate offices.

Joking that their official position at the Senate is the “staff gopher,” this group of ten women also organize staff lunches, decorate the office during holidays and bring much needed snacks for grateful individuals (much like myself).

“You see a lighter side (of Senate) and gain a respect for the men and women who are up here,” Deanne Evans said. “They are really good men and women who listen to their constituents and care very much about the constitution.”

Sharing much of these “lighter sides of Senate,” the women laughed as they reencountered their highlights of the Legislative Session (quite entertaining stories that you will not want to miss).

Listed below are this year's Pages:
Gayle Peterson: Pages Supervisor
Linda Cornaby: Assistant Supervisor
Jewel Doxey
Deanne Evans
Sue Gaskill
Janet Packman
Leslie Rice
Dianne Richards
Mary Russell
Shirley Taylor

Click HERE for the podcast.

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action March 4, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
1S.S.B.40 Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Amendments (Christensen) passed with 20 yea 9 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B.209 Humanitarian Humanitarian Service and Educational and Cultural Exchange Support Special Group License Plate (Knudson) passed with 26 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 17 Amendments to Programs for People with Disabilities (Liljenquist) passed with 16 yea 11 nay votes. Governor's Office next.

H.B. 115 Council for indigents in Juvenile Court (Van Tassell) passed with 26 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 125 Kidnapping and Sex Offender Registry Amendments (Mayne) failed with 13 yea 14 nay votes. Will be filed.

H.B. 276 Sex Offender Registry Amendment (Greiner) passed with 27 yea 0 nay votes. Governor's Office next.

1S.H.B. 284 Uniform Collaborative Law Act (Hillyard) passed with 27 yea 0 nay votes. Governor's Office next.

H.B. 176 Continuing Education Requirements for Electricians and Plumbers (Van Tassell) passed with 23 yea 6 nay votes. Governor's Office next.

1S.H.B. 275 Division of Real Estate Amendments (Niederhauser) passed with 26 yea 0 nay votes. Governor's Office Next.

1S.H.B. 178 Bureau of Criminal Identification Fee Amendments (Greiner) passed with 25 yea 2 nay votes. Governor's Office Next.

H.J.R. 23 Joint Resolution Approving the Sale of Real Property At the Utah State Developmental Center (Valentine) passed with 23 yea 0 nay votes. Governor's Office next.

H.J.R. 27 Authentic Charity Health Care Joint Resolution (Niederhauser) passed with 24 yea 0 nay votes. Governor's Office Next.

1S.H.B. 67 Health System Amendments (Adams) passed with 22 yea 7 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.H.B. 234 Opting Out of the Real Id Act (Dayton) passed with 23 yea 5 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.H.B. 92 Moist Snuff Taxation Revisions (Bramble) passed with 20 yea 6 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 181 Condominium Association Common Expense (Romero) passed with 25 yea 0 nay votes.

2S.H.B. 278 Government Records Access and Management Act Amendments (Bramble) passed with 27 yea 0 nay votes. Governor's Office Next.

1S.H.B. 265 Real Property Amendments (Bramble) passed with 25 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 73 Utah Construction Trades Continuing Education Amendments (Adams) passed with 25 yea 1 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 18 Unemployment Insurance Amendments (Niederhauser) passed with 20 yea 6 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 200 Informed Consent Amendments (Buttars) passed with 20 yea 7 nay votes. On to the House.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
1.S.S.B. 99 Municipal Boundary Clarification (Okerlund) Circled. Will Remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.

1.S.S.B. 227 Interlocal Energy Amendments (Bramble) Circled. Will remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 215 Amendments to Public Employees' Benefit and Insurance Program Act - Risk Pools (Liljenquist) Circled. Will remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B. 178 Bureau of Criminal Identification Fee Amendments (Greiner) Circled. Will remain 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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Morning Senate Floor Action March 4, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
2S.B. 48 Utah Historical Society - Nonlapsing Authority (Okerlund) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 220 Vehicle Impound Amendment (Greiner) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1H.B. 270 Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Amendments passed with 24 yea, 2 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.J.R. 14 Joint Rules Resolution on Financial passed with 26 yea, 2 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

2H.B. 259 Property Tax Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 349 Sales and Use Tax Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

1H.B. 378 Motor Vehicle Insurance Requirements passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 68 Habitual Wanton Destruction of Wildlife passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 228 Renewable Energy Source Amendments passed with 25 yea, 1 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

2H.B. 124 Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

1H.B. 267 Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act Amendments passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.J.R. 15 Joint Resolution on Legislative Ethics Commission passed with 25 yea, 4 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 279 County Recorder Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 302 Minor Adjustments to County Boundaries passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 202 Fireworks Amendments passed with 23 yea, 2 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 230 Human Trafficking Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 239 Child Protection Revisions passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.J.R. 6 Strangulation and Domestic Violence Joint Resolution passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 257 Dietitian Certification Act Amendments passed with 23 yea, 2 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 183 Construction and Fire Code Related Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 260 Children's Health Insurance Plan Simplified Renewal passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 120 Underground Storage Tank Amendments passed with 18 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 285 Practice of Veterinary Medicine passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 240 Department of Natural Resources Amendments passed with 23 yea, 1 nay vote. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 116 Political Subdivision Facility Energy Efficiency passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

1H.B. 304 Lieutenant Governor Amendments passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 308 State Fire Code Adoption passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 315 Utah Public Notice Website Amendments passed with 25 yea, 1 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
1H.B. 67 Health System Amendments circled. Will remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 250 Criminal Penalties Amendments - Leaving the Scene of an Accident tabled. Will remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 118 Economic Development Incentives Modifications tabled. Will remain 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: March 4

In today's media briefing Senator Jenkins and Senator Hillyard discussed the Tobacco Tax and the budget. You can watch the full briefing here. Listen here. (mp3)

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Thursday Morning Workout

  1. Senator Stuart Adams on Medical Malpractice
  2. Hesterman Report on the Budget
  3. Political Cornflakes: One week til sine die, Gehrke, one week.
  4. Sausage Grinder: Morning Fist Shaker
  5. Roche: Senate in the dark
  6. Smith: World Series hero from 1960 honored
  7. KCPW: Senate Passes Reading Requirements for Young Students
  8. SLTrib: Bill would hold back poor readers
  9. Daily Herald: Lawmakers approve reforms to citizen initiative process
  10. DNews: GOP closer on petition name removal
  11. SLTrib: Utah guv to get bill making it easier to withdraw initiative support
  12. American City & County: Utah law challenges federal authority over guns
  13. SLTrib: Bill could let kids get invites to gamble
  14. Standard Ex: 1 percent cut for schools? Senate favoring education reduction, $1cigarette tax hike
  15. DNews: Republican senators back school funding cut
  16. SLTrib: Lawmakers consider slim cut to education

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Senate Radio: Hesterman Report - The Budget

With the end of the session in sight, the race to pass a budget is on. Senator Liljenquist spoke on the Hesterman Report about the latest on the budget and what his goals for the budget are. Hear the report here. (mp3)

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Medical Malpractice Amendments

By J. Stuart Adams
Senator, District 22

Today, the Senate passed the 3rd substitute of Senate Bill 145 – Medical Malpractice Amendments. This bill has been changed a few times, but the most current version of the bill does 3 things:
  • This bill hard caps non-economic damages that may be awarded in a malpractice action at $450,000. Non-economic damages are sometimes referred to as the compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the malpractice. The current cap for non-economic damages ranges from $480,000-$500,000 and above. We also took out the inflationary increases so the total will remain $450,000 throughout the years.
  • A main purpose of this bill is to stop lawsuits that have no merit. Before a lawsuit is brought forward, a pre-litigation panel decides if the lawsuit has merit. Even if the panel decides the lawsuit has no merit, it can go forward. This bill requires someone to file an affidavit of merit by a healthcare provider in a related field before a non-meritorious action can proceed. If affidavit is fraudulent, the penalty falls on the law firm bringing the lawsuit forward.
  • People working for the hospital are agents of the hospital. However, there are many employees who are independent agents of the hospital. This bill relieves the liability from the hospital if one of those independent agents is the one who caused the damage.
My hope in running this bill is to stop those non-meritorious claims from being brought forward.

If you have any further questions, let me know.

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March 3, 2010

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Staff Highlights: System Analyst a.k.a. Computer Geniuses

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

Because of my amazing computer skills (or lack thereof), I have had the privilege of working with Greg Johnson and Richard Block, who are (I’m very confident to say) two men the Senate could not do without.

Working as the Utah Senate technical support team, they move throughout all of the Senate offices to make sure the technical world is at peace, constantly appearing on the Senate floor to help provide better communication with the public.
“We’re very motivated to make sure the Senators are happy and that the technology does not get in their way,” Richard said.

Having worked with the Senate for about 12 years, they both joked that they have many funny stories they could tell about the Senate, although nothing that can be recorded.
“It’s usually fun,” Greg said. “The Senators and staff are good to work with.”

Click HERE for the podcast.

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action March 3, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
No Changes
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
H.B. 118 Economic Development Incentive Modifications (Stevenson) passed 22 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 115 Council for Indigents in Juvenile Court (Van Tassell) passed 28 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 125 Kidnapping and Sex Offender Registry Amendments (Mayne) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B. 234 Opting out of Real ID Act (Dayton) passed 19 yea 8 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 276 Sex Offender Registry Amendment (Griener) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B. 284 Uniform Collaborative Law Act (Hillyard) passed 28 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B. 178 Bureau of Criminal Identification Fee Amendments (Greiner) passed 28 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

HB 176 Continuing Education Requirements for Electricians and Plumbers (Van Tassell) passed 23 yea 3 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B. 275 Division of Real Estate Amendments (Niederhauser) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.J.R. 23 Joint Resolution Approving the Sale of Real Property At the Utah State Developmental Center (Valentine) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.J.R. 27 Authentic Charity Health Care Joint Resolution (Niederhauser) passed 24 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B. 92 Moist Snuff Taxation Revisions (Bramble) passed 22 yea 5 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

2S.H.B. 278 Government Records Access and Management Act Amendments (Bramble) passed 27 yea 1 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B. 265 Real Property Amendments (Bramble) passed 28 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 181 Condominium Association Common Expenses (Romero) passed 24 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 215 Amendments to Public Employees' Benefit and Insurance Program Act (Liljenquist) 28 yea 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
S.B. 40 Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Amendments (Christensen) lifted from Rules. Placed on 2nd Reading Calendar.

1S.H.B. 196 Tobacco Tax Revisions (Christensen) lifted from Rules. Placed on 2nd Reading Calendar.

5S.H.B. 197 Custodial Interference Amendments (Madsen) Circled. Will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

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Morning Senate Floor Action March 3, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 210 Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission Amendments (Buttars) passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 155 Enhanced Penalties for HIV Positive Offender Amendments (Stevenson) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 52 State Board of Regents Amendments (Stowell) passed with 21 yea, 2 nay votes. On to the House.

3S.B. 145 Medical Malpractice Amendments (Adams) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 316 Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 273 Utah International Trade Commission Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 132 Pioneer Trail Memorial Highway passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 269 Solemnizing Marriages Amendment passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

1H.B. 186 Controlled Substance Database Revisions passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

1H.B. 106 Expedited Background Checks for Human Services Providers passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 238 Low Speed Vehicle Amendments passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

1H.B. 235 Child Support for Children in State Custody passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 108 Meat Inspection Amendments passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the Governor’s Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
1H.B. 67 Health System Amendments passed with 16 yea, 7 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 68 Habitual Wanton Destruction of Wildlife passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 228 Renewable Energy Source Amendments passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 279 County Recorder Amendments passed with 19 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 302 Minor Adjustments to County Boundaries passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 202 Fireworks Amendments passed with 19 yea, 5 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 230 Human Trafficking Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 239 Child Protection Revisions passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 250 Criminal Penalties Amendments - Leaving the Scene of an Accident passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.J.R. 6 Strangulation and Domestic Violence Joint Resolution passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 257 Dietitian Certification Act Amendments passed with 22 yea, 3 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 183 Construction and Fire Code Related Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 260 Children's Health Insurance Plan Simplified Renewal passed with 22 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 120 Underground Storage Tank Amendments passed with 23 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 285 Practice of Veterinary Medicine passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 240 Department of Natural Resources Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 116 Political Subdivision Facility Energy Efficiency passed with 20 yea, 2 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

1H.B. 304 Lieutenant Governor Amendments passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 308 State Fire Code Adoption passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 315 Utah Public Notice Website Amendments passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.
Over the Fence: 2nd Reading Calendar
2H.B. 124 Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

1H.B. 267 Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act Amendments circled. Will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

H.J.R. 15 Joint Resolution on Legislative Ethics Commission circled. Will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 112 Supreme Court Review of an Initiative or Referendum circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 251 Admission of Affidavits into Evidence circled. Will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

1H.B. 282 Local Government Amendments circled. Will remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Sent to the Dugout: Held
H.B. 17 Amendments to Programs for People with Disabilities fails with 14 yea, 11 nay votes.

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

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Media Briefing: March 3

Today's Media Briefing included Senator Jenkins and Senator Hillyard discussing the latest on the budget and the tobacco tax. You can watch the full briefing here. Listen to it here. (mp3)

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Baseball Legend in the Senate Chamber

Today, the Senate honored Cy Young Award Winner, Vernon Law, for the 50th anniversary of his 1960 World Series win with the Pittsburgh Pirates against the heavily favored New York Yankees (players including Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Yogi Berra).

Below, watch him throw out a ceremonial first pitch to Senate President Michael Waddoups.

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Senate Morning Workout: Wednesday

  1. SLTrib: Jobs data suggest worst over
  2. DNews: Bleeding of jobs slowed in January, report says
  3. SLTrib: Utah Senate backs cap on medical-malpractice awards
  4. KCPW: Senate Passes Reading Requirements for Young Students
  5. Daily Herald: Lawmaker wants to collect more DNA
  6. Fox 13: Bill to require DNA sampling for violent felony offenders passes Senate
  7. DNews: Complaints heat up over possible new monuments for Utah
  8. SLTrib: Snowbird bill gets wings clipped
  9. KCPW: Bill Honoring Ogden Gunmaker Clears Senate Committee
  10. Schencker: Bill to prohibit paid teachers union leave advances
  11. DNews: Controversial no-smoking measure passes House committee
  12. SLTrib: Stop-as-yield bike bill survives Utah Senate's divided panel
  13. DNews: House votes to raise cigarette tax by $1
  14. Gehrke: It's do-or-die time for cigarette tax as Utah House passes bill
  15. KCPW: Fate of Tobacco Tax Hike Now in Hands of Senate
  16. DNews: Carbon credit bill clears committee hurdle
  17. Smith: Senate committee wants Utah out of climate initiative
  18. SLTrib: Committee to Herbert: Exit climate alliance
  19. DNews: Pounds must check tags, call owners
  20. SLTrib: Canal bills advance to full Senate
  21. Park Record: Bill would encourage teens to call for help
  22. KUER: House Passes Cigarette Tax, Considers Proposals to Raise and Cut Money for Schools

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

March 2, 2010

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Ethics Bills: Where are they now?

More status updates on this session’s key ethics bills:

2SJR 3: Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures (Valentine) In House Rules Committee.
The following bills work in conjunction with SJR3:

2SB 136: Open and Public Meetings Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) House Third Reading Calendar.

1SB 138: Grama Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints (Valentine) House Third Reading Calendar.
HJR 15: Joint Resolution on Legislative Ethics Committee Senate Second Reading Calendar.

2HB 124: Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions Senate Second Reading Calendar.

1HB 267: Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act Amendments Senate Second Reading Calendar.

HJR 14: Joint Rules Resolution on Financial Disclosures Passed out of Senate Ethics Committee.

HB 270: Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Amendments Passed out of Senate Ethics Committee (Substituted by Committee).

2HB 329: Campaign Finance Amendments House Third Reading Calendar.

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Senate Radio: S.B. 40, Tobacco Tax Bill

(click picture for sound)
In a short interview with the Intern in Exile, Senator Allen Christensen gave a brief update about his bill on a tobacco tax, bill status and SB 40.

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action March 2, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 150 Reading Requirements for Student Advancement (Morgan) passed 18 yea 8 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.S.B. 77 School District Leave Policies (Dayton) passed 17 yea 12 nay votes. On to the House.

2S.S.B. 99 Water Companies and Water Right Change Requests (Valentine) failed 9 yea 19 nay votes. Will be Filed.

S.B. 191 Governmental Accounting Amendments (Hillyard) passed 24 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 179 Utah Revised Business Corporation Act Amendments (Liljenquist) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 178 Utah Emergency Medical Services System Act Amendment (Stowell) 27 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 225 Motor Vehicle Insurance - Named Driver Exclusion (Hillyard) passed 28 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.H.B. 201 State Fire Marshal Modifications (Bramble) 16 yea 11 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.H.B. 114 Disclosure of Donations to Higher Education (Stephenson) passed 22 yea 6 nay votes. On to the House.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
No Changes
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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Staff Highlights: The Bluecoats

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

If you’re among one of many who have found yourself asking for directions outside the Senate Chambers, you’ve probably had the privilege to meet the Men in the Blue Coats, officially known as Security and the Sergeant at Arms.

This group of 12 men are hired to not only provide safety and order but, apparently, for comedic relief as well. Sergeant at Arms Bob Gardner explained that his badge really should be called the “Sergeant of Charms.”

When asked what their official position is, most joked that they are actually just barriers between the Senators and the Lobbyists. “Guard the door, take care of the Senators... keep the lobbyists out,” Jason said.

Listed below are all of the Senate Security. If you get the chance to visit Capitol Hill, make sure you stop by their desks (located in front of the Senate offices) for some taffy and hear stories about what they’ve witnessed over the years at the Senate.

The Men . . . the Legends . . . .

  • Bob Gardner: Sergeant at Arms

  • Thomas Shepherd: Asst. Sergeant at Arms

  • Virgil Blair

  • Frank Christenson

  • Steve Higham

  • Glenn Hildebrand

  • Jason Hildebrand

  • Paul Jacobs

  • Dale Hansen

  • Leo Parry

  • Roger Winslow

  • Dennis Bird.
Click HERE for the podcast.

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Morning Senate Floor Action March 2, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 218 Engine Coolant Bittering Agent Act (Waddoups) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 169 Navajo Revitalization Fund Amendments (Hinkins) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 163 Health Regulation of Geothermal Pools and Baths (Madsen) passed with 23 yea, 6 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.C.R. 8 Fathers Do Matter Concurrent Resolution (Davis) passed with 20 yea, 5 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 222 Fee Exemptions (Goodfellow) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

3S.B. 172 Local District Taxing Authority Amendments (Bramble) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

2S.B. 152 Utah State Railroad Museum Authority Act (Knudson) passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 242 Economic Development Incentives for Alternative Energy Projects (Van Tassell) passed with 26 yea, 1 nay vote. On to the House.

S.B. 15 Utah Scenic Byway Amendments (Stowell) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 107 Animal Shelter Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

2H.B. 35 Controlled Substance Database - Reporting for Overdose of a Prescribed Controlled Substance passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

2H.B. 36 Controlled Substance Database - Reporting Convictions for Driving Under the Influence or Impaired Driving passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 28 Controlled Substance Database Amendments passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor’s Office next.

H.B. 208 Disposition of the Remains of a Deceased Military Service Member passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Governor's Office next.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
S.B. 150 Reading Requirements for Student Advancement (Morgan) circled. To remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.

3S.B. 145 Medical Malpractice Amendments (Adams) passed with 24 yea, 1 nay votes. Placed on 3rd Reading Calendar.
Over the Fence: 2nd Reading Calendar
1S.B. 52 State Board of Regents Amendments (Stowell) circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

2S.B. 175 School District Capital Outlay Equalization Amendments (McAdams) 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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Live Media Briefing

Today's Media Briefing topics included: Senator Madsen's bill SB163 and the latest news on the budget. You can watch the full briefing here. Listen here. (mp3)

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Tuesday Morning Workout

  1. Out of Context: Political cornflakes
  2. Sausage Grinder: First period -- Pop Quiz edition!
  3. Gehrke: Lawmaker drops plan to earmark smoke tax money
  4. DNews: Tobacco tax an offer governor can't refuse?
  5. SLTrib: Utah Senate OKs retirement bills, now await guv's signature
  6. Spectrum: Board of Regents may see change
  7. KCPW: Senate Passes Health Reform Bill Over Objections
  8. SLTrib: Health reform fix clears Senate, for now
  9. Villasenor: Health-care access to legal immigrant children advances
  10. Fox13: Senate gives preliminary OK to new reading rules
  11. Stewart: Reading requirement bill draws heated debate in Senate
  12. KCPW: Ethics Bills Unanimously Clear House Committee
  13. Fox13: Utah State Legislature weighs options for ethics reform
  14. Smith: Committee guts bill to cap campaign contributions
  15. McKitrick: Ethics commission legislation advances to Utah House
  16. Bernick: Ethics hearing fails to reduce heat
  17. ABC4: Utah legislators and lobbyists have just days left to take state's ethics test
  18. KUER: Public Access & Public Input Debated at the State Capitol
  19. Fox13: Bill to open HOV lanes to all drivers gets makeover
  20. ABC4: State lawmakers to consider smoking while driving ban
  21. Keep your hopes up

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Monday, March 01, 2010

March 1st 2010

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Afternoon Senate Floor Action March 1, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 118 Uniform Probate Codes (Hillyard) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 143 Grand Jury Amendments (Liljenquist) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 59 At-Risk Student Provisions (Robles) passed 22 yea 1 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 164 Surety Requirements for Mining (Stowell) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

2S.S.B. 129 New Motor Vehicle Franchise Amendments (Liljenquist) passed 22 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 180 Sexual Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult (Hinkins) passed 23 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 212 Pawn Shop Amendments (Greiner) passed 25 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 232 Judicial Administration Amendments (Jenkins) passed 26 yea 0 nay votes. On to the House.

3S.S.B.108 Judicial Nominating Commission Staff Amendments (Jenkins) passed 18 yea 8 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 294 Health System Reform Amendments (Niederhauser) passed 23 yea 0 nay votes. Held for 24 Hours.
At the Plate: Third Reading Calendar
No Changes
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
S.B. 179 Utah Revised Business Corporation Act Amendments (Liljenquist) Circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.
S.B. 163 Health Regulation of Geothermal Pools and Baths (Madsen) Circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.
1S.S.B. 199 Municipal Boundary Clarification (Okerlund) Circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.
Listen/View today’s action HERE
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Morning Senate Floor Action March 1, 2010

Over the Fence: Passed the Senate
S.B. 160 Utah State Developmental Center Amendments (Dayton) passed with 23 yea, 2 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 69 College of Eastern Utah Affiliation with Utah State University (Hinkins) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

2S.B. 274 Online Pharmacy Amendments (Bramble) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

1S.B. 51 Bioprospecting (Hillyard) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 149 Utah Forest Practices Act Amendments (Hinkins) passed with 28 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.J.R. 11 Utah Athletic Foundation Resolution (Urquhart) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 71 Small Business Access to Justice Act (Romero) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.J.R. 10 Joint Resolution Supporting the Expansion of Correctional Facilities in Uintah County (Tassell) passed with 25 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

3S.B. 43 Post-retirement Employment Amendments (Liljenquist) passed with 20 yea, 8 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 167 Alcoholic Beverage Control Act Recodification (Valentine) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

S.B. 206 Access to Crime Victim's Medical Records (Greiner) passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. On to the House.

H.B. 96 Libel Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 249 Emancipation Amendments passed with 26 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.B. 299 Amendments Related to Substances Harmful to Pregnancy passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.

H.C.R. 9 Autism, Disabilities, and Faith Concurrent Resolution passed with 24 yea, 0 nay votes. Next stop is the Governor’s Office.
At the Plate: 3rd Reading Calendar
2S.B. 99 Water Companies and Water Right Change Requests (Valentine) circled. To remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 150 Reading Requirements for Student Advancement (Morgan) passed with 21 yea, 3 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 169 Navajo Revitalization Fund Amendments (Hinkins) passed with 27 yea, 0 nay votes. Placed on the 3rd Reading Calendar.

H.B. 294 Health System Reform Amendments circled. Will remain on 3rd Reading Calendar.
On Deck: 2nd Reading Calendar
S.B. 118 Uniform Probate Code Amendments (Hillyard) circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

S.B. 143 Grand Jury Amendments (Liljenquist) circled. To remain on 2nd Reading Calendar.

Listen/View today’s action HERE
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Ethics Bills: Where are they now?

Here is a status update on this session's key ethics bills:

SJR3:
Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures (Valentine) -House Ethics Committee, Scheduled for Monday, March 1st.

The following bills, also by Senator Valentine work in conjunction with SJR3.
2SB 136: Open and Public Meetings Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints -House Ethics Committee, scheduled for Monday, March 1st.

1SB 138: Grama Revisions Related to Review of Ethics Complaints - House Ethics Committee: Scheduled for Monday, March 1st.
HJR 15: Joint Resolution on Legislative Ethics Committee -Senate Second Reading Calendar.

2HB 124: Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions -Senate Second Reading Calendar.

1HB 267: Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act Amendments -Senate Second Reading Calendar.

HJR 14: Joint Rules Resolution on Financial Disclosures -Senate Ethics Committee, scheduled for Tuesday, March 2nd.

HB 270: Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Amendments -Senate Ethics Committee, scheduled for Tuesday, March 2nd.

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Media Briefing: March 1

Today's Media Briefing included the latest information on the budget and a discussion regarding the tobacco tax. You can watch the full briefing here. Listen to it here. (mp3)

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Monday Morning Workout

  1. Gehrke: Overhaul of state pension system looks like a done deal
  2. KSL: Utah House passes sweeping retirement reforms
  3. KCPW: Lawmakers Amend Retirement Bills Several Times
  4. DNews: Senate passes cell phone driving ban
  5. SLTrib: Gun bill signed by Herbert
  6. Raymond: Herbert signs gun measure that defies federal laws
  7. ABCNews: Hiring Illegal Immigrants May Lead to Jail in Utah
  8. Thalman: Senate approves two health reform proposals
  9. KCPW: Not Everyone on Board with Health Reform Bill in Senate
  10. Pyrah: Christensen pushing to revive tobacco tax
  11. Gehrke: Tobacco tax proponents cut deals to win votes
  12. Roche: Proposed smoking tax would benefit education, law enforcement
  13. ABC4: Utah State University/ College of Eastern Utah merge?
  14. DNews: CEU one step closer to affiliation with USU
  15. Spectrum: Districts to manage groundwater
  16. SLTrib: Utah Senate panel seeks to circumvent 17th Amendment
  17. DNews: Senate panel backs E-Verify bill
  18. Hancock: State may delay road projects to save money
  19. McFarland: Pulling plug on in-state tuition will cost $1.5M
  20. SLTrib: State agencies ignoring new immigration law
  21. DNews: Salt Lake County Mayor Corroon repeats call for state cigarette tax hike
  22. Fox13: Gov. Herbert discusses issues facing the state
  23. DNews: College gifts bill awaits Senate vote
  24. Sausage Grinder: Morning Fistful of Dollars!
  25. Holly on the Hill: Herbert steps up to the plate
  26. Out of Context: Morning Update
  27. Under the Dome: 2010 General Session Highlights – Week Five

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