Week Four; Only Three More.
The 2021 Legislative Session is halfway through. Together the House and Senate have passed 91 bills which have been sent to Governor Cox to sign. There will be many more bills passed in the next few weeks. Things seem to be slowing down and speeding up all at the same instant. My time spent in committee meetings is lessening but it is being taken up by other critical meetings on legislation and more time voting on the House floor. This is the first time in state history, legislators and the public are participating in the legislative session in person and virtually. You can watch committee.
Congressman Chris Stewart Visits
Each session, we look forward to visiting with our congressional delegation. This week, Congressman Chris Stewart visited the House Majority Caucus. We discussed his role in D.C. and how we can best support one another in fulfilling our duties to represent the people of Utah.
Help with Vaccines
Governor Cox and Lieutenant Governor Henderson announced their goal to have all adult Utahns receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May. In tackling this goal, there is a large need for willing and able volunteers. Click here to see if you qualify to volunteer for this project.
This week the House Health and Human Services Committee passed HB 288 Education and Mental Health Coordinating Council. This bill creates a new council of educators, mental and behavioral health experts along with other advocates to advise the Governor and the Legislature. The council will provide action-oriented guidance to state leaders on how to meet the behavioral and mental health needs of children and families in our state.
Several bills are making their way through the legislative process that will provide tax relief to many Utahns. Last week, HB 86 Social Security Amendments passed the House unanimously and if passed by the Senate, will benefit many living on a fixed income. Additionally, HB 161 Military Retirement Tax Amendments passed the House this week, which removes the tax on military retirement, benefiting those who have served our country. Finally, a bill is in the works to help restore the child dependent exemption.
HB 82 Single Family Housing Amendments passed out of the House Business and Labor Committee this week. This bill helps increase housing availability and relieve pressure on prices by decreasing regulations in housing.
It was a special privilege to have Sarah Frei and her parents join us on the House floor this week as we voted to pass HB 47 DUI Revisions, nicknamed “Sarah’s Bill.” Last summer, Sarah and three of her friends were hit head-on by a drunk driver, paralyzing Sarah from the waist down and resulting in the loss of her legs. The drunk driver had a blood-alcohol level four times higher than the legal limit but was released on bail while still under the influence. HB 47 will deny bail to drunk drivers who injure or kill someone until they have gone before a magistrate (civil officer or judge).
Podcast- Economic Development Incentives
Utah's economic growth has been incredible these last few decades, but that growth and economic strength are far from reaching their peak. Representative Hawkes joins us on the show this week to talk about more ways Utah is staging itself to be the country's economic leader. Listen here!
I spent time in the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee. I presented a Request for Appropriation to fund a study of the air quality in Box Elder County. The EPA’s inclusion of Box Elder county in the Salt Lake County airshed is to the detriment of economic growth in Box Elder County. If appropriated, the study will hopefully produce results that can be used to petition the EPA to have Box Elder County placed in its own airshed which is not subject to the development prohibitive regulations that currently inhabit the Salt Lake County airshed.