2016 Legislative Summary - Week 3!
2016 Utah Legislative Session
Week 3 Summary
The 2016 General Session of the Utah State Legislature began Monday, January 25. Week three is in the books. 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
- Visit from West Valley Firefighters
Every year firefighters from across the state come to visit the Capitol during the Session. I was able to visit with the firefighters from West Valley. Thank you for everything that you do and how you put your lives on the line for those who live in West Valley. I greatly appreciate your service.
- Utah Arts Day on the Hill
The fifth annual Arts Day on the Hill, presented by the Utah Arts Council Board of Directors, the Utah Cultural Alliance and Friends of Art Works for Kids, was held on February 9. Arts Day is a great opportunity for individuals and organizations in the arts community to meet and talk with their state senators and representatives about the work they do throughout our state, and we were thrilled to welcome them to the Capitol this week. We had these wonderful kids come and share their art with us:
- 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 bill to allow for the release of daily election vote counts passed the Senate and will be sent to the governor. [Trib]
- Huntsville Republican Gage Froerer unveiled a bill to allow some medical offices to donate unused pills to the poor. [DNews]
- Lawmakers are calling for greater restrictions on the e-cigarette industry after they heard statistics that about one in every 10 high-school students has vaped in the past 30 days. [Trib]
- Legislation is being drafted to address the Utah Fairpark's uncertain future. [Trib]
- A House committee advanced Rep. Johnny Anderson's bill to outlaw gas chambers at animal shelters. [Trib]
- A bill to ban non-compete clauses in employee contracts passed a House committee. [Trib]
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. This week it passed the House with a vote of 64 - 5. It now heads to the Senate.
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 last week the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 10 - 0. Waiting for a vote by the full House. 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. Waiting for a vote by the full House. 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. Passed a senate committee and is now waiting for a vote by the full Senate.
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).
- HB110 - Election Law Changes - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the Government Operations Committee with a vote of 9 - 0. Waiting for a vote by the full House. Latest news report: [Trib]
There has been some debate over how to select state school board members. Last year, the previous process of the Governor selecting two candidates and putting them on the general election ballot was held unconstitutional by a federal court. So as it stand now, anyone who wants to be a state school board member will be on the ballot. There is currently no mechanism in state code for a primary. All this bill does is add a primary election, so there won't be more than two candidates on the general election ballot. This bill also makes some minor revisions to what county clerks can do, administratively, with "inactive voters."
- HB227 - Electronic Driver License Amendments - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House Transportation Committee with a vote of 10 - 0. Waiting for a vote by the full House. Latest news report: [Trib][DesNews]
This will direct the Department of Public Safety to conduct a study regarding the possibility of allowing Utah drivers the option of having their driver license on their mobile phone. Although some drivers will certainly prefer to keep carrying the plastic card, we as a State need to acknowledge there is a desire by many drivers to have this electronic option. At this point, the bill only requires a study, which will educate us more regarding the possible options, and the challenges that we need to overcome if this were to become a reality. Other states are looking into this possibility, and we can learn from their efforts as well.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your support. Contact me anytime.
Read all previous email newsletters here: http://bit.ly/YJCYy1
Representative Craig Hall
Legislative email: email@example.com
Personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell phone: (801) 573-1774