Blog from Day 2 of the State Legislature, Jan 29th, 2013

For the second day in a row, I had a white knuckled ride to Salt Lake City on state roads and I-15 that had not been plowed. I remember a poem that I came up with 15 years ago during a cross country drive over Christmas Break: “We are very grateful to have made it home alive, we that our Heavenly Father, Anti-Lock Brakes, and Four-Wheel Drive. LOL

Today was the first full day of committee meetings and floor time. I was better prepared for today’s votes because of the bills that were on the 2nd and 3rd readings from yesterday. I feel better about my no votes yesterday when there was a lot of clarifications on why everything happened so fast yesterday and that leadership apoligized for the way everything happened. I had lots of other legislators tell me that my vote was the right vote and that it was the right thing to do in that situation.

Here are the bills and how I voted and why:

  • HB 17: I voted yes, but the vote was perceived as over riding local control and it failed. I did not see it as over riding local control, but setting a consistent standard that applies to all elections in the state.
  • HB 18: I voted yes, Campaign reporting penalties
  • HB 19: I voted yes, Election Code penalties
  • HB 20 Wrongful documents: I voted yes to have the bill sent back to committees, or circled, which means that it was pulled back to committee to resolve wording issues. I joking said that the reason that I would have voted for the bill is because all (or almost all) of the attorneys in the state legislature were voting against it. That is enough for me to think that it must be a good thing.
  • HJR 6 I voted for this change in compensation schedule. I will do a full blog on this later.

My Public Education committee is a tough assignment. Public education finances is very complicated and we keep digging into the numbers and how everything fits together. We are working on the base line budget for public education that we will vote on soon. We will then complete the budgeting process the last week of the session after we agree on changes to the base line budget.

My transportation committee meeting is something that I have a better grasp on. I joked that I asked more questions that the rest of the committee combined. I voted to approve all of the 3 bills that were presented. I requested more data for these type of bills in the future. I got UDOT to admit that the number of 6,000 HOV permits was a number that they pulled out of a hat and was not based on any specific calculation, historical data, or science. I voted for the bill but with reservations. I also voted to approve the “in God we trust” license plates bill. Many other states have that and any revenue that is generated will go to charity.

I had a good visit with a number of legislators this evening at a social event sponsored by the Utah Hospital organization.  I spoke again to Don Ipson about his gun bill. Since I have a number of constituents express concern about the wording of the bill, I wanted to make sure that he got all of that feedback. He said that he is meeting with Clark Aposhian and representatives from the NRA tomorrow to hammer out the wording that he needs to get it to pass. I also spoke with Derrick Brown about the caucus that he and others are putting together. I have invited to join that and other caucuses. I have made the conscience decision not to join any caucuses. While that may have some advantage in getting some legislation passed, I really feel that my caucus are the voters that I represent in Saratoga Sprigns and Eagle Mountain. I don’t want there to be any doubt among my constituents as to who I represent. I know that in the past when some politicians have joined a caucus, that their constituents have raised concerns about who they are really representing.

Tomorrow is Governor Herbert’s State of the State address. It is also the Leagues of City and Towns day at Capitol Hill. I have scheduled events with the mayor, city council, and staff from both Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain. I’m looking forward to it.

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