Today is the Last Day for the 2017 Legislative Session
The session is coming to a close today at Midnight! It’s a whirlwind of bills coming through and at the stroke of midnight the session will end Sine Die. All of us will go home exhausted and tired, and there will likely be things that we will need to prepare for and address in the coming months at potential Interim Sessions. It’s interesting to watch the proceedings as the midnight deadline approaches. So you may want to tune in to the House at this link. You may also want to tune into the Senate at this link.
Let me just express my gratitude for the survey answers, your emails, your calls, your visits to the Capitol. Your support and your input are valuable to me as we try to solve our challenges in the most productive way.
I’ll send a final week report in a few days and a list of the status on my Legislative efforts.
News from the House…
Week Six: February 27-March 3
This year the Utah Legislature is working on a number of bills that would allow us to better care for our public lands and permit greater recreational access on lands controlled by the federal government. These include:
HB 63, Hole in the Rock State Park, which creates a state park in the Hole in the Rock area.
HB 95, Little Sahara State Park Designation, which creates a state park in the Little Sahara Recreation Area.
HB 317, Antelope Island State Park Funding Amendments, which creates the Antelope Island State Park Improvement restricted account and sets up a way to fund it.
HB 385, State Monuments Act, which establishes a process for the state to designate its own state monuments and creates rules for the management of them.
HB 407, Utah Public Land Management Act Amendments, which declares that the state should retain lands in state ownership “for the enjoyment and betterment of the public and state” and requires super-majority support of two-thirds of the Legislature for public land sales.
HCR 1, Concurrent Resolution to Secure the Perpetual Health and Vitality of Utah’s Public Lands and its Status as a Premier Public Lands State, in order to reiterate that Utah is a premier public lands state and is committed to remaining a public lands state. It asserts that local control of Utah’s public lands would result in greater opportunities for outdoor recreation, as well as economic opportunities for rural Utah.
HCR 11,Concurrent Resolution Urging the President to Rescind the Bears Ears National Monument Designation, so as to not place greater restrictions on use of the land and make it nearly impossible for recreationalists to use much of it as they do now.
HCR 12, Concurrent Resolution Urging Federal Legislation to Reduce or Modify the Boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, in order to allow greater use on and around those lands for locals and recreationalists.
HCR 23, Concurrent Resolution Promoting Continued Access and Recreation on Lands Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which supports expanding state and local control over access and recreation on BLM lands in order to ensure no loss of access.
HCR 24, Concurrent Resolution on Native American Recreation and Public Purposes Grant, encourages the state of Utah to seek acquisition of the Bears Ears National Monument and supports a governance and management plan that includes southwestern Native American tribes.
Combatting Intergenerational Poverty
HB 240, Employability to Careers Program, recently passed the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for consideration. It seeks to help combat the growing problem of intergenerational poverty in our state and does it in a way that obligates state dollars only if successful.
The program uses a model known as “pay for success.” This model allows an outside foundation or philanthropic organization to provide the capital to a social service provider that will be responsible for the program’s design and administration. The state reimburses the funding organization only when an independent evaluator verifies that very rigorous and specific predetermined metrics have been met. The program also includes an evaluation to determine how much of the benefit to the state can be attributed to the intervention rather than to other factors, like the self-motivation of participants.
The Employability to Careers Program, outlined in HB 240, targets those who don’t have a high school diploma or GED, are unemployed or under-employed and eligible for public assistance. The end goal is to move them toward self-sustainability by providing opportunities to get a high school diploma, develop critical employability skills and start on a career path.
The service provider will work with those individuals who qualify, assisting not only in the completion of their high school diploma and development of job skills, but also in the development of employability skills, including life skills, communication, time management, problem solving and professionalism.
Based on a model developed by Dr. Young, a Legislative Fiscal Analyst, cost reductions to the state are projected to be $32.7 million over the first 15 years and revenue increases during that same period are estimated at $9.9 million. If the metrics are not met, the state does not pay and the money goes back to the state.
In the News
There have been quite a few articles in the news lately on legislation I am sponsoring. Let me know if you have any questions.
A bill was recently introduced in the Utah State Legislature which would put in place a new process for the sale or exchange of public lands in the state, emphasizing exchanges over sales.
H.B. 407, Utah Public Land Management Act Amendments, declares that the state should retain lands in state ownership “for the enjoyment and betterment of the public and state,” and that if any lands are to be sold, a super-majority support of two-thirds of the Legislature would be required. Any sales must be for fair market value, and the proceeds must be used to improve existing public land, acquire additional public land or increase utilization of the land by the public.
Under this bill, if Utah were to gain the ability to oversee and control at least 250,000 acres of public lands currently managed by the federal government, they would be placed under the purview of a new Department of Land Management. The director of that department would be elected by county commissions and councils, putting much more control in the hands of local governments, closer to the people.
The bill adds to language from last year’s H.B. 276requiring management for multiple use, adding hunting. That same bill created a Public Land Management Fund which would be used for costs associated with managing public lands if and when they are returned to the State of Utah.
Over the past two years, stakeholders from all sectors — public, private and nonprofit — have been working to responsibly address the homelessness crisis we face in our state. The Speaker of the House, state leadership and the mayors of Salt Lake County and City announced the next steps to address the crisis in Utah. The plan includes a new direction, in breaking up the “one-size-fits-all” shelter model into three resource centers— two in Salt Lake City and one located outside the city but remaining in Salt Lake County.
This plan has four primary components:
A redesigned shelter model with three new resource centers, tailoring services to population needs, in addition to the existing family resource center in Midvale. The two facilities in Salt Lake City will each be capped at 200 beds. These resource centers will serve distinct populations: adult women, adult men and a gender-segregated facility serving both adult men and women.
Alternatives to shelter will continue to be pursued to draw down demand for emergency shelter. Efforts include Salt Lake County’s Pay for Success initiative which targets persistently homeless individuals, more affordable housing, behavioral healthcare treatment facilities, increased diversion, additional efforts to reduce length of stay at a shelter and prevent repeat stays, motel vouchers and other alternatives to meet shelter demand.
System improvements that more efficiently coordinate resources across the housing and homelessness delivery system, including a coordinated entry and assessment system.
A public safety and treatment initiative, similar to Operation Diversion launched last fall, to ensure neighborhoods are safe and individuals have access to treatment. This will include two more police officers at the Midvale Center and the opening of an additional 300 jail beds to allow for sufficient enforcement in and around these facilities.
At the request of the state, through a process facilitated by Salt Lake County, stakeholders will identify possible sites for a resource center located in an area outside Salt Lake City for consideration and approval by the State Homeless Coordinating Committee by March 30, 2017. The target date for the closure of the downtown emergency shelter is June 30, 2019.
Concealed Carry Amendments
This week the House passed H.B. 198, Concealed Carry Amendments, that will lower the minimum age to obtain a concealed carry permit to 18 if all other eligibility requirements are met. Currently, Utah law already allows those 18-20 to carry openly.
With increased concern about sexual assault on college campuses, it only makes sense that those most at risk be permitted options giving them the ability to protect themselves.
A total of 16 states, in some way or another, allow those 18 and older to carry a concealed firearm.
Federal Delegation Visit
This week, Senator Orrin Hatch, Congressman Mike Lee and Congresswoman Mia Love all came to speak to the House. Sen. Hatch explained the work being done on the federal level to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument and asked the body to give President Trump a chance. Sen. Lee spoke to the House members about federalism, executive power and returning power to the people. Rep. Love recognized that many people are nervous about the environment in Washington, and soothed these fears by discussing the good she’s personally doing to improve immigration, transparency and healthcare.
A press conference was held on the Capitol steps to raise awareness about military and civilian suicide. A display of combat boots from the National Guard and shoes from Deseret Industries lined the south steps to represent the 613 lives lost to suicide in Utah last year. Of those, 466 were male and 147 were female. Thirty-three were youth, between the ages of 10 and 18, and 74 were Veterans.
Thank You for Your Trust
I’m grateful to represent this district in the Utah Legislature. Thank you for your trust. If you have any questions, please email or call.