With a little less than half of this year’s general session under our belt, we’re continuing to work hard and tackle the difficult issues tackling our state. As always, we welcome any questions, comments, or concerns, and look forward to hearing from you.
This was the first close vote in the House this session, narrowly passing with a 39-34 vote. This bill, if passed, would legalize firing squad executions in Utah if the drugs that are needed for lethal injections are not available. Bill sponsor Rep. Paul Ray says that Utah needs an alternative method to lethal injections due to recent botched executions that have led to a U.S. Supreme Court cases. There is also the prospect of the ‘drug cocktail’ used in Lethal Injections to be taken off of the market, because of pressure by those opposed to the death penalty on the manufacturers of the drugs used in lethal injections.
Those opposed say that this is a barbaric way of execution and would give Utah a bad image. However, I see the irony of some of the Democrats that opposed the firing squad for those guilty of murder and heinous crimes but are fully in support of killing innocent unborn children. After a tie vote of 35-35, I supported a “Call of the House” which requires all legislators that were not in the House Chambers to be located and brought by the Sergeant of Arms to the Chambers to Vote. This only affected 5 legislators that were at the capitol but not in the House Chambers for the vote. However, 3 of the 5 voted in favor of the bill and another legislator changed their vote during this time. This resulted in the 39-34 vote. There were 2 legislators that had excused absences and did not vote. Rep. Wheatly who was recovering from knee surgery was one of the excused absences.
This bill would strip the right of municipalities, in this case Salt lake city, to force restaurants to allow foot and bike traffic in drive through windows as well as keeping the lobby open as long as the drive through is open. This bill was really about politics in Salt Lake City where they recently passed laws to force operation regulations on businesses. Outside of Salt Lake City, this bill was about principles of government and free market. Those against the bill argue that local government control is best, where those in favor of the bill argued in favor of free enterprise over local control. "I stand on the side of intervening and saying it's not OK for a city to create risk and impose risk on a business," Coleman said. H.B. 160 passed through the House 52-21 and I voted for it.
This bill was an interesting combination of Education, transportation, and Clean Air bills. It allocated $20 million to provide loans for converting older diesel buses to natural gas vehicles. It also provides funding for building natural gas refueling infrastructure. This infrastructure can also be used by private vehicles to refuel their natural gas vehicles by paying retail prices. There were concerns that this bill would primarily benefit urban school districts. This bill passed 47-22 and I voted for it. I am talking to the Alpine School District to see if the will add Natural Gas Refueling to their Bus Parking facility next to Westlake High School.