Blog from Day 1 of the State Legislature, Jan 28th, 2013

It was a busy day with a frantic pace on the first day of the State Legislature. It started out with a very snowy and treacherous drive from Eagle Mountain. There were parts of I-15 in Salt Lake County that were not snow plowed. I was only able to get up to 40mph one time between the point of the mountain at downtown Salt Lake.

 

The first business of the day at the State Legislature was to swear everyone in. I was sworn in with the large group of newly elected legislators.

 

 

Next, Speaker Becky Lockhart gave a spot-on evaluation of where we are as a state. Speaker Lockhart is a very strong woman who has been able to arrive at creative solutions. We owe much of our recent transportation options to her leadership.  Here are some of her points:

  • She blistered the Congress for not only not passing a budget, but to have so much debt and financial mismanagement that it negatively impacts the best managed state in the nation, Utah.
  • There is not true partnership with the Federal Government. They pick our pockets while telling us what to do. There is not negotiating with them.
  • On average each of us break 3 federal laws each day without even knowing it
  • Hair Braiding has nothing to do with the health and safety of Utahns
  • There will be 400+ laws passed during this legislative session. She encouraged legislators to use restraint and that "less is more"
  • She quoted Bill Cosby in referencing the voters, our constituents:"They brought you in to this world, and they can take you out of it."
  • Be Problem solvers, think outside the money box
  • If a lobbyiest says that it is a really simple bill, that should be your first warning

I got to visit with Constituents Alan Jackson and Wendi Baggaley. Alan Jackson led the Color Guard and carried the American Flag.

Wendi was the former Legislative District 56 Education Officer.  Wendi is planning to be more active in government and plans to go to the state legislature often this year. She had a long list of legislation that she is concerned about.  I requested that she send me an email with her list so that I can post it online. She made a good point about stigmatizing the mentally ill and not allowing them the freedoms guaranteed in the 2nd Amendment. I told her that the mentally ill are the ones that probably have the greatest need to defend themselves, because they are frequently victimized.

In the afternoon we had some floor time before the Utah State Chief Justice Mathew Durrant spoke. I had not read the first 2 bills that were up for vote. I had not properly prepared for those 2 since they were not from my committees. I voted no on them because I hadn't had the time to think through the consequences. Both of them passed easily. The 3rd bill is one that I had read and since it was a financial benefit to transportation. I voted for it.  I was ready for the next 2 bills which were from Rep. Keith Grover, but we didn't get to vote on them.

Tomorrow begins my first committee meeting, which is Public Education Appropriations. So I have a lot of documents to go through tonight.

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