Legislature Week 2 Summary
The 2014 General Session of the Utah State Legislature began Monday, January 27. Two weeks are in the books and there are 32 days left. 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 week:
Continued Budget Discussions
The first week, the legislature spent most of its time going over the State's budget. This last week we approved the preliminary "base" budgets. Each legislator is on at least one appropriations subcommittee. I have been assigned to the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations subcommittee, which makes recommendations for approximately $820 million of the State's overall budget and deals with issues such as the Corrections, Juvenile Justice, the Courts, the Highway Patrol, and budgets for all of the executive offices (Governor / Attorney General / Auditor / etc.). During the first week, our committee carefully scrutinized their existing budgets, and reviewed previous appropriations. Throughout the week, our committee was able to identify over $20 Million and reallocate it for more pressing needs.
Many have asked if there is a handy way to figure out where all the money goes that the State collects. If anyone is interested, this link has all the budget information you would ever want to see (both revenues and expenses - to the penny). In short, here is a good graph of where the State spends its money:
Special Events at the Capitol this Week
- Visit from the family of fallen Sgt. Derek Johnson
This week the Utah House of Representatives honored Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson, who was killed Sept. 1, 2013, when he pulled over to check on a stopped motorist. Johnson’s wife, son and parents, as well as the extended family and law-enforcement officers, stood in the chamber of the House for a moment of silence honoring him. Thank you to all of our police officers that put their lives on the line to serve and protect the rest of us. Here's a news article regarding the event. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/57506657-90/johnson-draper-sgt-enforcement.html.csp
- Visit from West Valley Firefighters
Firefighters throughout the state visited the Capitol this last week. Again, thanks to all of them for protecting us.
More Town Hall Meetings!
We had our first Town Hall meeting on Saturday, February 1. We had wonderful turnout. Thanks to all 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 11, 2014, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday, March 1, 2014, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Hope to see you there!
Please return your survey!
I recently mailed a survey to each registered voter in District 33. The answers you provide to these survey questions are invaluable. I have had hundreds of surveys returned already. Thank you! Please, please, please, if you haven't returned your survey, fill it out and return. I am very interested in your perspectives. Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!
This last week we started 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 we voted on this last week:
- A House committee passed legislation clarifying who qualifies as a "person of special trust" in cases of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. See article here
- The Senate passed legislation allowing teachers to take six school days for professional development or preparation time. See article here.
- A bill to make preschool available to at-risk children by using private funds passed a House committee. See article here.
- The Senate passed legislation that prohibit arrests that did not result in convictions from appearing on background checks. See article here.
- The bill proposing harsher punishments to those who damage geological features in the state is on hold. See article here.
Rep. Hall's Legislation
I have several bills this session. I will keep you updated on how they are progressing. Here are a couple:
- HB216 - Legislative Process Amendments
This bill would slightly change the process we use as a legislature to pass bills. It will provide for a more deliberative process, more chance for legislators to review bills, and give the public more opportunities to speak in favor or against the bill. Here's a news article regarding this bill: http://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/1727-lawmakers-look-to-tweak-legislative-process.
In order to increase transparency in elections, candidates are required to report campaign contributions within 30 days. However, there is currently no penalty for reporting within the 30 day deadline. Accordingly, some candidates are NOT reporting their contributions timely, as required by law. This bill adds a significant penalty if a candidate does not report a campaign contribution within the required 30 days.
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 at www.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