2016 Legislative Summary - Week 2!
2016 Utah Legislative Session
Week 2 Summary
The 2016 General Session of the Utah State Legislature began on Monday, January 25. Thank you so much for all of your support. It is truly an honor to represent the great residents of District 33. Just a few highlights from the last week:
Special Events at the Capitol
- Bipartisan Clean-air Caucus
This last week our bipartisan (republicans and democrats) clean-air caucus (both republicans and democrats) held a press conference to announce some of the bills that will help our air quality situation. Thanks to my colleagues for coming together in our attempt to actual make a difference in this area. Here's a news report re. the press conference: [ABC4]
- Students Visiting the Capitol
Once again we had several students visit the Capitol. They came to show their support for an issue they care deeply about. And they were LOUD!! :) Thanks for coming!
- Visits to the Capitol!
One of our State's treasures is the State Capitol building. And visiting during the legislative session is the best time of year to visit. Lots of action happening every day. I would love to give your family / school group / church group / etc. a behind-the-scenes tour of the State Capitol. Give me a call/email and we'll make it happen.
This last week we continued the process of voting on non-budget bills. Of course, you can always watch the new reports. But the best way to track any legislation is at the Legislature's website at http://le.utah.gov. Here are a few of the more interesting bills that were discussed this last week:
- A House committee passed a bill to repeal drug testing for welfare recipients. [Abc4]
- A Senate committee approved two bills that seek to legalize medical marijuana. One from Sen. Evan Vickers that takes a limited approach and another from Sen. Mark Madsen that would allow whole plant marijuana use. [Trib] [DNews] [APviaKUTV] [Fox13]
- A bill that would reinstate dental benefits for Medicaid patients passed through a House committee. [DNews]
- A bill to allow some sex offenders the chance to get off the registry sooner passed through committee unanimously. [Abc4]
- A House committee denied a proposal to eliminate the option Utahns have of straight-ticket voting. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13]
Rep. Hall's Legislation
I have several bills this session, here are a few:
- HB83 - Campaign Finance Disclosures in Municipal Elections - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Last week it passed the House Political Subdivisions Cmte, 7 - 4. It will now go to the floor of the House.
State election code sets forth a minimum amount of financial disclosures in municipal elections. If the city wants to make those requirements more stringent, they are allowed to do so. Currently, state code does NOT require a a financial disclosure statement before a primary election. This bill would simply require such disclosure before a primary election, if there is a primary election. This is a good bill that will increase candidate transparency in municipals elections.
- HB160 - Justice Court Judge Qualification Amendments - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed this week the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 10 - 0. Here is the latest news report. [Trib]
Currently, justice court judges need not be law school graduates. In fact, the only education requirement is that they must have a high school diploma. I want to change that.
Justice court judges deal with important constitutional rights every day. They have the ability and authority to throw people in jail. Two recent reports (done by the State and by the 6th Amendment Center) both conclude that our justice court judges need to be better trained. Requiring them to be law school graduates would go a long way towards providing that needed education and training. When criminal defendants and other litigants go into the justice court system, too much is at stake for non-law-trained individuals to be making the decisions.
- HB155 - Reporting of Child Pornography - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee 9 - 1. Latest articles: [KSL][Trib]
This bill would require computer technicians to report to law enforcement if they happen to come across child pornography in the scope of their employment. There would be no duty to actively look for any child pornography. The law would only be triggered if they happen to see it. There are 12 states that already have similar laws.
I have been working with IT professionals and their lawyers to make sure there will not be undue burden on such workers. The bill will help our efforts in fighting the horrendous crimes of manufacturing and distributing child pornography.
- HB89 - Office of State Debt Collection Reporting Amendments - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House unanimously 73 - 0. Will next be heard in a Senate committee.
There are hundreds of reports in state code required to be presented to the legislature every year. Some are more vital than others. Some are not really needed. During the Interim, our Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee identified one report that should be done away with. It's not a hugely important bill, but it deletes a section of our too-large State Code (which is always a good thing).
Town Hall Meetings!
We had our first Town Hall meeting on Saturday, January 30. Thanks to those who attended and asked great questions. I have two more Town Hall meetings scheduled during the legislative session. All of the following Town Hall meetings will be at West Valley Library (2800 West 3650 South).
- Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday, February 27, 2016, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Please return your survey!
I have mailed a survey to constituents within District 33. The answers you provide to these survey questions are invaluable. Please, please, please fill it out and return! I am very interested in your perspectives. Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated. You can also take the survey online athttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RepHall2016 if you prefer that method. Thank you so much!
Ways to Contact Representative Hall
I make a concerted effort to reach out to all of my constituents. For that reason, I use as many different forms of communication as possible. Most of you have received mail from me. I also have frequent town hall meetings (more on that above). You can follow me online at www.votecraighall.com. For even more frequent updates, you can follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/votecraighall and/or on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/hcraighall. You are also welcome to call my cell phone anytime. (801) 573-1774. I will be in many meetings throughout the legislative session, so if I don't answer right away, feel free to leave me a message and I'll try to call back as soon as possible. I will also be sending out regular updates via email. Probably the quickest way to get ahold of me is by email. My legislative email address is email@example.com.
Thanks for your support. Contact me anytime.
Read all previous email newsletters here: http://bit.ly/YJCYy1
Representative Craig Hall
Legislative email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal email: email@example.com
Cell phone: (801) 573-1774