December 2013 Legislative Highlights
The legislature does not have an official Interim Session in December. However, we met on December 17th and 18th and discussed some of our priorities for the upcoming Regular Session. I have included below some of the presentations that were particularly enlightening. Click on the respective links to see each presentation:
- Long-term state budget challenges. - Our state's rainy-day fund is up to $400 million. This is up from about $205 million in 2010. But it is still short of what Utah had in its rainy-day fund pre-Great Recession (about $425 million in 2008).
- Utah Tomorrow - Did you know that Utah will have a population of 6 million in 2060?
- A summary of various Utah demographics. - Utah will have over 750,000 school-aged children (5-17 years of age) in 2030!
- Utah Today. - Did you know that Utah is the 9th most urban state?
- What Make an Economy Grow? - Wonderful whiteboard animation regarding what sorts of actions help a State's economy.
- There was also a news article (here) regarding our discussion about various issues including education, transportation, air quality, and the State's budget.
In short, we certainly recognize there are many challenges ahead. However, it was also an opportunity to realize we are doing many things right here in Utah. Here's a slide from one of the presentations. These things don't happen by accident. It is the result of good fiscal planning, creating a solid business environment, and careful spending.
News Article Regarding Rep. Hall's Jury Service Bill
On Sunday, the Deseret News featured on its front page one of the bills I sponsored this last Regular Session, which dealt with jury service. Ever heard the story of "I've been called to jury service half-a-dozen times, and my spouse (or friend or neighbor or co-worker) hasn't been called in twenty years"??? Well, it's widely anticipated that this bill will help resolve that situation. This bill passed almost unanimously, was signed by the Governor, and goes into effect January 1, 2014. You can read the article here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865593182/New-rule-will-spread-jury-service-among-more-Utahns.html
Regular Session begins January 27, 2014
On January 27, 2014, the legislature begins its yearly Regular Session. Pursuant to the Utah State Constitution, the Session will be held for 45 calendar days, and will end on March 13, 2014. If you have any thoughts about possible legislation, NOW is the best time to let me know your thoughts and ideas. I currently have bills in the works where the initial ideas came from constituents. But it takes time to draft bills, and many times bills get defeated simply because they are not quite ready to be heard and voted upon before the 45 days are up. So again, let me know your thoughts. And as always, if you hear of any bills / ideas / proposals that you like (or hate), always feel free to let me know. I am your "Representative" and will ALWAYS keep the best interests of you, and the residents of District 33, in mind when I vote. It is truly an honor to represent the residents of West Valley at the State Capitol.
Thank you for the opportunity!