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Legislative Update Week Five – March 1, 2011
by Rep. Becky Edwards
Mar 08, 2011 | 4270 views | 0 0 comments | 112 112 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rep. Becky Edwards District 20
Rep. Becky Edwards District 20
slideshow
Keep Calm and Carry On (still)

This is the Week Five update, but it’s coming a couple of days late,

which is fortuitous because I have information now that I can share

regarding the proposed funding additions to the base budget bills

we passed several weeks ago. Remember we started the session with a

budget shortfall of $313 million, and the new revenue forecast estimates

show signs of recovery with $263 million coming in. This is a positive

sign forUtah and shows that true to projections we are starting to inch

our way out of the recession. Since the new revenue doesn’t cover the

shortfall entirely, we’ll have to use some one-time money to fund ongoing

costs, or make additional cuts to bridge the $50 million difference.

Here are the “final” (as of today) cuts/increases each of the

appropriations committees will realize after the proposed additions:

Business, Economic Development & Labor, 0.5% cut on $106M budget

Executive Offices and Criminal Justice, 1.1% cut on$490 M budget

Higher Education, 2% cut on $688 M budget

Infrastructure and General Government, 4.7% cut on$130M budget

Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environmental Quality, 4.4% cut on $57M

budget

Public Education, 2% increase on $2.2B budget

Social Services, 1.4% cut on $663M budget

Retirement and Independent Entities, 3.3% cut on $3Mbudget

State Totals, 1% cut (1% increase with growth) on$4,370M budget

There may still be some movement within the appropriation committees

between line items (write me if you have something specific you’re

wondering about), but this is a snapshot of where we are today.

Issues Ahead:

Sales Tax on Food

There are two bills coming forward that deal with restoring sales tax on

food that was reduced 3 years ago. Many in the legislature who voted

forthat feel now that it was a mistake. The balance between property

tax, income tax, and sales tax is important in terms of providing a

solid, stable tax base.Our sales tax revenue during the recession has

been very unstable because people are scaling back their spending. An

increase in the sales tax on food would do what many people feel is

a good economic move: broaden the base and lower the rate. It would

allow for a lowering of general sales tax, while restoring the sales tax

on food. I’d love to hear from you on this issue as we will continue to

discuss this over the next week of the session. Below are the links and

basic descriptions of the two main bills moving through the process.

SB 270, Sen. Stuart Adams,

http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/sbillhtm/SB0270.htm,would increase the

sales tax on food while lowering the general sales tax rate. The goal

here is to stabilize the tax base, the proverbial three legged stool

(property, income,and sales taxes). You know….broaden the base and all.

The concerns are how this will affect lower income families, with

some saying it will be a tax increase for all Utah families learning less

than $150Ka year.

HB 282, Rep. Kay McIff,

http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/hbillhtm/hb0282.htm,would also increase

the sales tax on food while lowering the general sales tax rate. This

version provides a 5% tax credit to any Utah resident who qualifies for

the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Those who qualify are families

with one child and an income of $35,535($40,545 if filing jointly), or

families with three or more children and an income of less than $43,352

($48,682 if married filing jointly). The concern here is that many low

income people are not employed and would not receive this benefit.

Immigration

We have dedicated a lot of floor time this week to bills dealing with

illegal immigration. Several bills have passed the House and are now on

their way to the Senate. This includes:

HB 70, Rep. Sandstrom, Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act

http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0070S01.htm

HB 116, Rep. Wright, Guest Worker Program Act,

http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0116S02.htm

HB 253, Rep. Herrod, Emplohttp://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0253S01.htm

HB 191, Rep. Wimmer, Non-resident Tuition Waiver Amendments,

http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0191S01.htm

There is a comprehensive bill coming from the Senate,SB 288, Sen.

Bramble, Utah Immigration Enforcement Amendments,

http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/sbillhtm/SB0288S01.htm.

Please let me know how you feel about SB 288specifically as we have

already voted in the House on the first four listed. The HB 70, HB 116,

and HB253 all received my yes vote. HB191 did not.

Legislative Trivia

Through the end of last week, the legislature has introduced 608 bills

(compared with 602 last year and 609 in 2009). During our first four

weeks we passed127 bills (compared with 100 last year and 108 in 2009).

More on how my bills are faring throughthe process on my blog,

www.utahbecky.com. We will pass about 400 bills on average so you can

see this last week or week and a half carries the bulk of the

bill passage. We had been meeting on the floor for 2 hrs a day for the

first few weeks and then moved up to 4 hours a day last week. Tomorrow

is the last day of committee meetings. Beginning on Thursday we will be

on the floor for 8 hours a day.

Bagels and Briefings

Thanks to those who have attended the Bagels and Briefings this session

at my home. It is always informative to hear your perspectives on the

issues and I appreciate your taking time to attend. This Saturday, March

5, will be our final meeting of the session. 10:00 am at my home, 1121

Eaglewood Loop, North Salt Lake. I will beholding a Town Hall meeting

following the end of the session and I will include that in my final

Legislative Update. Again, check out the blog for more immediate

information, www.utahbecky.com, and list of my votes on all the bills we

discuss each day. In addition, you can follow me on Twitter, @utahbecky.

Here are Week Five’s additions to the bills passed so far:

HB 19 Insurance Law Related Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R –Taylorsville)

Addresses fees for captive insurance companies, grace periods for

accident and health insurance policies and modifies provisions related to

individuals, group, or blanket accident and health insurance coverage.

HB 48 Fingerprints of Juveniles

Sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Peterson (R –Ogden)

Requires fingerprints and photographs of juveniles to be taken and stored

if admitted to a detention facility for an offense that would be a felony

if committed by an adult.

HB 76 Federal Law Evaluation and Response

Sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory (R –West Jordan)

Creates a Federalism Subcommittee within the Constitutional Defense

Council to evaluate federal law, make recommendations to the governor to

respond to federal law.

HB 77 Medical Assistance Accountability

Sponsored by Rep. David Clark (R –Santa Clara)

An inspector general of Medicaid services or director of Office of

Internal Audit & Program Integrity will oversee the presiding officer in

administrative appeal proceedings relating to Medicaid funds or services.

HB 78 Developer Fees

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R –Spanish Fork)

Requires a municipality or a county to establish afee appeal process and

enacts provisions related to a provider of culinary or secondary water

that commits to provide a water service required by a public land use

application.

HB 94 Income Tax Credit for Combat Related Death

Sponsored by Rep. Merlynn Newbold(R –South Jordan)

Provides a nonrefundable individual income tax credit for a combat

related death.

HB 99 Motion Picture Incentive Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Greg Hughes (R –Draper)

The governor’s Office of Economic Development may issue tax credit

certificates annually as incentives for motion picture productions and

digital media projects within the state.

HB 106 Electronic Meetings Revisions

Sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw (R –Orem)

Established a pilot program for charter schools to conduct electronic

meetings that establish time limits on the electronic meetings, prohibit

HB 115 Mechanics’ Liens Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R –Spanish Fork)

Establishes a procedure for perfecting and enforcing liens and provides

for the priority of the liens. Also provides that a person who knowingly

falsifies information for the purpose of obtaining priority of

a preconstruction service lien is guilty of a misdemeanor.

HB 116 Guest Worker Program Act

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Wright(R –Holden)

Creates a Guest Worker Program which establishes eligibility criteria,

application/renewal process, addresses English proficiency and creating

an identification database.

HB 128 Health Reform Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R – Taylorsville)

Requires Health Data Authority to publish comparative data about

physician and clinic quality by October 1, 2001. Requires group health

benefit plans to have reasonable plan premium rates and to comply

with standards established by the Insurance Department.

HB 143 Ballot Placement Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason (R –Sandy)

Requires election officer to list candidates on the ballot for each

office through random selection. The Lieutenant Governor needs to

identify the order for listing candidates for the current year and the

next year, and also exempts ballot order requirement for those running

unopposed.

HB 152 School Community Councils Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Wright (R –Holden)

Requires an election for the parent or guardian members of a school

community to extend for a period of at least three consecutive school

days and begin no later than 30 days after the first day of the school

year. Also requires a principal to provide notification of a

school community council election at least 21 days before the beginning

of anelection.

HB 162 Pedestrians on Freeways

Sponsored by Rep. Lee Perry(R –Perry)

Prohibits a pedestrian from walking along or on a no access freeway

facility except during an emergency.

HB 165 State Reimbursement for Required Medical Services Act

Sponsored by Rep. Chris Herrod (R –Provo)

Establishes what costs can be reimbursed, creates an application process

to obtain reimbursement and requires the creation of a plan to assert or

litigate an obligation by the federal government to repay the money

reimbursed by the state.

HB 172 Service Animal Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Keith Grover(R –Provo)

This bills changes the definition of a “service animal” to follow the

federal definition.

HB 173 Dedication and Abandonment of Public Highways

Sponsored by Rep. Kay McIff(R –Richfield)

Provides that dedication of a highway to the use of public does not

require an act of dedication or implied dedication by the property owner.

HB 174 Contracting for Medicaid Eligibility Determination Services

Sponsored by Rep. Wayne Harper (R –Layton)

Requires the study of the state’s eligibility determination system for

Medicaid to determine whether consolidation of the system

or privatization would create greater efficiencies.

HB 176 Audit of State Budgets

Sponsored by Rep. LaVar Christensen(R –Draper)

Requires the Office of Legislative Auditor General t oaudit entities in

the executive branch as directed by the Legislative Audit Subcommittee.

HB 210 Animal Cruelty Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Curt Oda (R –Clearfield)

Allow for the human killing of feral animals in unincorporated areas of a

county where hunting is not prohibited, if the person has a reasonable

belief that the animal is a feral animal.

HB 183 School District Leave Policies

Sponsored by Rep. Keith Grover(R –Provo)

Prohibits a local school board from granting paid association leave for

certain employee association or union duties.

HB 250 State Emblem of Service and Sacrifice

Sponsored by Rep. Merlynn Newbold (R –South Jordan)

Designates the “Honor and Remember” flag as the state’s emblem of service

and sacrifice as a visible reminder of the lives lost by members of the

United States Armed Forces in defense of our national freedoms.

HB 253 Employment of Unauthorized Aliens

Sponsored by Rep. Chris Herrod (R –Provo Enacts the Employment of Unauthorized Aliens Ac tincluding; addressing

construction and compliance with federal law, prohibiting the

knowing/intentional employment of unauthorized aliens and requiring

the certification of employment eligibility.

HB 256 Children’s Health Insurance and Medicaid Administrative

Simplification

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R –Taylorsville)

Requires the Department of Health to apply for grants to fund a

simplified enrollment and renewal process for Medicaid, Utah

Premium Partnership, and Primary Care Network Demonstration Project

programs.

HB 259 County Recorder Revisions

Sponsored by Rep. Curt Webb (R –Logan)

Authorizes a county recorder to examine and receive a fee for recording

documents.

HB 272 Indigent Defense Act Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Kay McIff (R –Richfield)

Changes the definition of compelling reason and requires the court, when

making a determination of indigency, to consider the reasonableness of

fees/expenses charged by privately retained defense counsel.

HB 275 School district Division Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Ken Sumsion (R –American Fork)

Requires a new district and remaining district to continue to impose for

five years tax levies that were imposed by the divided school district if

the property tax base per student of the new district is greater than the

property tax base in the remaining district.

HB 305 Midterm Vacancies in Municipal Offices

Sponsored by Rep. Kraig Powell (R –Heber City)

Repeals a provision that prohibits a member of a municipal legislative

body from participating in the process to fill a vacancy in the mayor

position if that member is being considered to fill the vacancy.

HB 318 Money Management Act Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Bird (R –West Jordan)

Requires that fixed rate corporate obligations and variable rate

securities be senior unsecured obligations of the issuer to be

an allowable investment for public funds. Also extends the allowable

remaining term to final maturity for certain first tier commercial paper

to 365 days or less.

HB 324 HIV Testing of Alleged Sex Offenders

Sponsored by Rep. Richard Greenwood (R –Roy)

A defendant charged with a sex offense shall be tested for HIV upon the

request of the victim. If the defendant is a mino rcharged with a sex

offense, the minor shall be tested for HIV upon the request of the

victim.

HB 331 Post-employment Benefits Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. John Dougall (R –American Fork)

Creates the Elected Official Post-Retirement Benefit Trust Fund for the

purpose of investing the governor and legislator postemployment

healthcare benefits.

HB 333 Unfair Inducements Related to Insurance Products

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R –Taylorsville)

Prohibits inducements by a licensee/officer/employee of a licensee, and

also lists activities that constitute or do not constitute a prohibited

inducement.

HB 334 Family Expense Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R –Orem)

Allows a creditor to collect reasonable collection costs and attorney

fees incurred in collecting a debt under the family expense stature.

HB 335 Military Survivors – Tuition Waiver

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R –Spanish Fork)

Provides that a Utah resident or nonresident dependent of a Utah resident

or nonresident decease member of the Utah National Guard may receive a

higher education tuition waiver.

HB 336 Medical Professional Licensing During a Declared Emergency

Sponsored by Rep. Evan Vickers (R –Cedar City)

Authorizes the Department of Health to establish a protocol for the

distribution of medicine in a national, state, or local emergency.

HB 375 Security Personnel Licensing Act Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory (R –West Jordan)

Provides that a person holding a valid license as a narmed private

security officer may also function as an unarmed private security officer

without the additional license.

HB 379 Nonjudicial Foreclosure of Trust Deeds

Sponsored by Rep. Curt Webb(R –Logan)

Modifies a provision containing requirelating to a nonjudicial foreclosure of a trust deed and requires the

notice of default to include specified information.

HB 399 Environmental Litigation Bond

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel(R –Kanab)

Requires a plaintiff to post a bond receiving a preliminary injunction or

administrative stay, and requires an unsuccessful plaintiff to pay

damages to defendants to, are harmed by a preliminary injunction or

administrative stay.

HB 440 Beer Tax Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Val Peterson (R –Kanab)

Modifies formula to determine the amount of revenue collected from the

beer tax to be deposited into the alcoholic Beverage Enforcement and

Treatment Restricted Account.

HB 489 Housing Authority Application Process

Sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer (R –Huntsville)

If there are two or more housing authorities established in a county of

the first or second class, then those authorities shall create a uniform

online application for their housing choice voucher program with links to

each of the housing authorities within the county.

HR 1 House Rules Amendments Resolution

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R –Taylorsville)

Any action taken by a standing committee while the House is in session is

invalid unless properly authorized. Establishes conditions to move to the

next agenda item, eliminates motions to postpone time certain or day

certain items.

HCR7 Concurrent Resolution Supporting Public Policies That Promote

Outdoor Activities for Children

Sponsored by Rep. Jack Draxler(R –North Logan)

This resolution expresses support for increased participation by children

in outdoor activities and supports policies that promote outdoor

activities for Utah’s children.

HCR16 Resolution Supporting Utah Highway Patrol Use of White Crosses as

Roadside Memorial

Sponsored by Rep. Lee Perry(R –Perry)

Expresses continued support for the Utah Highway Patrol’s placement of

white crosses, or other appropriate symbols as requested by the family of

a deceased patrol officer, as memorials to highway patrol officers who

have been killed in the line of duty.

SB 16 State Tax Commission Tax, Fee, or Charge Administrative and

Collection Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. John Dougall(R –American Fork)

Renames the Sales and Use Tax Administrative Fees Account to the State

Tax Commission Administrative Charge Account. It also addresses the

frequency with which certain taxes, fees, or charges are required to be

paid to the State Tax Commission.

SB 50 Enhanced Penalties for HIV Positive Offender Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Brad Wilson (R –Kaysville)

An HIV positive person engaged in prostitution,patronizing a prostitute,

or sexual solicitation, and who is HIV positive, is guilty of a third

degree felony. A person who has tested HIV positive shall b enotified of

test results in person by a law enforcement agency, Department

of Corrections, or Department of Health.

SB 58 Crime Victims Reparations Revisions

Sponsored by Rep. Brad Wilson (R –Kaysville)

Changes name of the office to the Utah Office for Victims of Crime,

modifies existing membership of the board to include a victim advocate,

and defines the duties and functions of assistance officers.

SB 92 Private Security Services

Sponsored by Rep. Keith Grover (R –Provo)

Requires that law enforcement agencies establish a written policy

regarding peace officers working as security officers while off-duty

including the issue of financial responsibility.

SB 101 Utah Uniform Securities Enforcement

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Bird (R –West Jordan)

Provides for criminal penalty enhancements and addresses an affirmative

defense.

SB 110 Driver License Suspension Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Curt Oda (R –Clearfield)

Points may not be assessed against a person’s driving record for traffic

violations that occurred in another state on or after July1, 2011.

SB 117 Community Association Act Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Don Ipson (R –St. George)

Modifies a provision prohibiting a homeowner association’s governing

documents from requiring an amendment to be approved by more than 67% of

the voting interests.

SB 125 Pr Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Painter(R –Nephi)

For the purpose of property tax exemption for property used exclusively

for educational purposes, which include the physical/mental teaching,

training or condition of competitive athletes by specified entities.

Provides that a charter school is considered to be a school district.

SB 135 Department of Public Safety Duties Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Eric Hutchings (R –Kearns)

Removes from the duties of the Department of Public Safety the

requirement that it maintain a database to officers’ checks of driver

licenses and state identification cards that includes the name, race,and

gender of officer and person whose license was checked.

SB 136 Boating Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Ronda Menlove (R –Garland)

Grants the Board of Parks and Recreation rule making authority to make

rules establishing regulations for anchored, beached, moored,and

abandoned vessels. Repeals requirement that a motorboat registration

that has been revoked may not be renewed for one year and specifies the

requirements for a motorboat registration to be renewed after revocation.

SB 142 Public Official Contact Information

Sponsored by Rep. Carl Wimmer (R – Herriman)

Requires a community council member to have a telephone number, email

address if available where the member can be reached.This information if

public under the Government Records Access and Management Act.

SB 143 Judiciary Amendments

Sponsored by Rep. Kay McIff(R –Richfield)

Permits a person to be a candidate for more than one justice court judge

office and requires an appointee or candidate to more than one justice

court office to pay a filing fee for each office.

SJR 12 Joint Resolution – Immigration

Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Wilcox (R –Ogden)

Recognizes that the United States Congress presently has assumed

authority to make immigration policy. Urges Utah’s

congressional delegation to sponsor and support legislation to resolve

the immigration policy issues facing the nation.

SCR 15 Delisting of Wolves Concurrent Resolution

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel(R –Kanab)

Urges the United States Congress to take action to maintain the integrity

of the Endangered Species Act by exempting wolves from the Act in every

state and allow each state to protect its rural economies,game herds,

livestock and pets.

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