2016 Legislative Summary - Week 6!
Special Events at the Capitol
- Prayer and Pledge given by District 33 constituents
Each day during the legislative session, a different representative has the responsibility to select someone to give the prayer and the pledge. This year I asked Pastor Sid Casillas from Life Church in West Valley (corner of Bangerter and 4700 South) to give the prayer. Pastor Casillas has been with Life Church since 2001 and is a wonderful asset to our community. First grader Claire Hall (my daughter) gave the pledge of allegiance. Thanks to these two great folks for opening the House of Representatives on Monday with the prayer and the pledge.
- Visit from Pioneer Elementary Students!
Thanks to the students and teacher from Pioneer Elementary School for visiting the Capitol this week. They were a great group with wonderful questions. Thanks for coming!
- Visit from Mayor Bigelow
During the legislative session, I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with our local officials in order to protect the interests of West Valley City. Thanks to all of them for working with the legislature to help keep West Valley a wonderful place to work, raise a family, and send our kids to school. Thanks to Mayor Bigelow and others for all of your help.
- Speaking with the Women's State Legislative Council of Utah
Thanks for the invite from the Women's State Legislative Council of Utah for a chance to visit with their group. They were interested in some of the bills I am sponsoring and it was great to meet with them. Thanks for your support!
- 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. Here is a photo of the Capitol when I left Thursday night...
- Time is Flying!
As you can see from the graphic below, the legislative session will end soon (current as of about 6:30 pm on Sunday). On Thursday night at midnight, it's all over! Feel free to contact me anytime to let me know how much you hate or love any of the bills you happen to hear about.
2016 Legislation - Week 6
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:
- Lawmakers reached a compromise in the long and contentious battle over funding equity between the public and charter schools systems. [Trib] [DNews]
- A proposal to eliminate the death penalty in the state gained initial approval in the Senate. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [KUER]
- The $14.7 billion dollar proposed budget has been released with education faring well. [Trib] [UtahPolicy]
- A bill to hire secret shoppers for state run liquor stores passed a committee. [DNews]
- A bill to outlaw workplace discrimination against pregnant or breastfeeding women is on the way to the governor. [DNews]
- A bill to provide incentives to refineries who manufacture cleaner burning fuel cleared the Senate. [Trib] [KUER]
- The Senate will hear a bill to decriminalize victims of child prostitution. [Trib]
- Utah residents may soon be able to purchase a special Real Salt Lake licence plate. [Trib]
- The House passed a plan to rename the House building after the late Speaker Becky Lockhart. [Trib]
Rep. Hall's Legislation
I have several bills this session, here are a few:
- HB83 - Campaign Finance Disclosures in Municipal Elections - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House with a vote of 64 - 5. Passed a Senate committee 3 - 0, and passed the full Senate 26 - 0.
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 the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 9 - 0. Passed the full House 44 - 28. Passed a Senate committee 3 - 1. Waiting for a vote by the full Senate. Here is the latest news report. [Trib][HJNews]
Currently, justice court judges need not be law school graduates. In fact, the only education requirement is 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 - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee 9 - 1. Passed the full House 64 - 7. Passed the Senate House and Human Services Committee 4 - 0, and passed the full senate with a vote of 25 - 0. Here's the latest article: [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.
Here I am on the floor of the House requesting final passage of HB155.
- HB89 - Office of State Debt Collection Reporting Amendments - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House unanimously 73 - 0. Passed the senate 25 - 0.
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).
- HB288 - Educational Records Protection Amendments - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House Education Committee with a vote of 10 - 0. Passed the full House 62 - 9. Passed the Senate Business and Labor Committee 4 - 0. Passed the Senate 26 - 0. The House needs to concur with some minor amendments in the Senate. Here's the latest article regarding the bill: [Trib]
This bill was prompted by a situation from about four years ago when a teacher had an inappropriate relationship with a minor student. The student was asked by the school district to write a statement regarding the details of the abuse. The media found out about the scandal and filed a public records request for all the investigation records, including the minor's statement. The school district refused to give up the statement. The media then appealed the decision to the State Records Committee. The Records Committee reversed the school district's decision and required the district to produce the victim's statement to the media.
This bill will simply clarify the law that such sensitive records cannot be accessed by the media, or anyone else that requests it, pursuant to the state public disclosure statute. Law enforcement will still be able to access such records if necessary.
- HB110 - Election Law Changes - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the Government Operations Committee with a vote of 9 - 0. Passed the House 65 - 8. Passed a Senate Committee 4 - 1. 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 stands 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. Passed the House 70 - 0. Passed the Senate Transportation Committee 3 - 0. 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.
- HB263 - Fraud Amendments - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House 73 - 0. Passed a Senate committee 4 - 0.
This is an important change requested by the Utah Attorney General's Office. There is a plague of false identification documents throughout Utah (mostly false driver licenses and false social security cards). Right now, it is illegal to "transfer" a false identification document. However, unless law enforcement can prove that the document was actually "transferred," there can be no prosecution. Accordingly, this bill would also make it illegal to "possess with the intent to transfer" a false identification document. This is similar language that is found in the Controlled Substance Act.
This bill will help track down, and prosecute, those in the business of forging and distributing false identification documents (which unfortunately, disproportionately affects children).
Town Hall Meetings!
I have held three Town Hall meetings over the last few weeks. THANKS TO ALL THOSE WHO ATTENDED and asked great questions.
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