2019 Utah Legislature - Week 5 Summary!
2019 Utah Legislative Session
Extremely busy week! Thanks to everyone for reaching out over the last few weeks, letting me know how you feel about the issues. Less than two weeks left!
- Police Chiefs Day on the Hill
- Visit with Mayor Bigelow
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:
- Gov. Gary Herbert said he supports a bill that would allow grocery stores to sell beer with a higher alcohol limit. Utah law currently only allows a 3.2 percent by weight rate — the legislation would raise that to 4.8 percent. [Trib]
- Lawmakers released their plan to make sweeping changes to Utah’s tax system, expanding the sales tax to cover many services [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [KUTV]
- A bill that would allow teachers to use incentives to get students to take standardized exams and perform well narrowly passed the Senate, despite opposition from groups who claim the practice would be unfair. [Trib]
- The Senate Transportation Committee killed a bill that would have allowed bicyclists to roll through stop signs and red lights if the rider first determined the coast is clear. [Trib] [DNews]
- Community members came out Thursday to support a piece of legislation that would provide schools across the state with $32 million to hire more counselors. Residents made passionate pleas to the lawmakers, telling stories about how school counselors saved their children’s lives. [Trib] [DNews] [KSL]
- Utah lawmakers are considering a series of bills aimed at tackling the state’s declining air quality, one of them intended to provide funding for lower-income residents to replace older gas-guzzling vehicles. [Trib]
- Utah House members unanimously passed a bill to require politicians to choose between serving as either an elected municipal or county official — prohibiting anyone from occupying both seats simultaneously. [Trib]
- Utah senators voted 27-2 to add $5.3 million into first responder retirement systems — a move lauded by police and firefighters who have long said they are under-compensated. [Trib]
Rep. Hall's Legislation
I have several bills this session, here are a few:
- HB129 - Campaign Amendments - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. This bill passed the floor of the House 72-1. Passed the Senate this week 27-0. Came back to the House on Concurrent and passed 66-4. This bill has now passed and is waiting for the Governor's signature.
See story here.
- HB57 - Electronic Information or Data Privacy - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. This bill passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the House floor 71-0. Set to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.
- HB52 - Remote Notarization Standards - PASSED! - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 68-0 on the House floor. Passed 28-0 on the Senate floor.
- HB163 - Offenses Against the Administration of Government - PASSED!- I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed unanimously in the House Government Operations Committee. Passed the House 63-10. Passed the Senate 26-0
- HJR4 - Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution -- Legislator Qualifications - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House 73-0. Passed a Senate committee 4-0. Passed the Senate floor 25-1. Awaiting one last vote from the full Senate.
- HB168 - School Bus Safety Amendments - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House Transportation Committee 7-4. Did not pass on the floor of the House.
Here are some stories on this issue: DNews ABC4 SLTrib
- HB399 - Prohibition of the Practice of Conversion Therapy Upon Minors - I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Bill was initially introduced on Friday in the House Judiciary Committee. There will be more debate in the committee on Tuesday.
Conversion therapy is a medical practice or treatment meant to change sexual orientation. It has been rejected by major medical groups including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association, among many others. Study after study has shown that such a practice is ineffective and very harmful. A recent study showed how LGBT youth subjected to conversion therapy were two times more likely to experience depression and nearly three times more likely to attempt suicide.
15 states have already prohibited this practice. Hopefully Utah will be the 16th. I greatly appreciate all who have reached out, thanking me for running this bill. I am cautiously optimistic we will be able to pass this bill this Session.
Town Hall Meetings!
I've held three Town Hall since the session began. Thanks to those who attended!. Great comments and questions. Thank you!!!
As you may have heard over the last few weeks, much discussion at the Capitol was focused on Medicaid. In November, the voters passed Proposition 3 which expanded the number of Utahns that are eligible for Medicaid. In District 33, Proposition 3 prevailed by almost 30 percentage points. There has been been some effort this session to modify what was passed by the voters.
After a lot of study, thought and public input, I ended up voting NO on the bill that will modify Prop 3. Thanks to everyone who reached out to me over the last few weeks regarding their thoughts on the issue. I greatly appreciate it.
Sales and Income Tax
Utah faces a serious problem with its current tax system. Sales tax (also called our "General Fund"— which is used to pay for critical services such as Medicaid, transportation, public safety, etc.—is not keeping pace with Utah’s rapid growth. The state’s economy is experiencing a dramatic shift from a manufacturing and goods-based economy to a service-based economy. Furthermore, the state is experiencing extraordinary growth as families and businesses recognize the state as an exceptional place to live and work. As the population grows, so does the demand for funding for social services, water, transportation, and other critical infrastructure needs.
To resolve this issue, legislators have engaged in extensive and ongoing discussions regarding sales tax reform. This week, theTax Equalization andReduction Act (HB 441) was introduced, marking the first major step in the process of restructuring Utah’s current tax system.
HB 441 aims to broaden the sales tax base to include services while also lowering the sales tax rate significantly, from 4.7% to 3.1%. The bill will also result in a sizable tax cut and lower the income tax rate from 4.95% to 4.75%. This tax cut will level the playing field across industries and produce critical revenue to fund future growth in the state. Additionally, as new services and industries come into existence through entrepreneurial innovation, The average family is projected to save $600 a year. Those savings will come from lower income taxes and saving sales tax on purchasing products ranging from new cars to laundry detergent.
HB 441 also creates an added benefit to education funding by stabilizing General Fund revenue for the future and enhancing funding to education in the short-term. In short, HB 441 will ensure future economic stability and prosperity for Utah as the state continues to grow. HB 441 is an example of the legislature’s desire to take the long view, plan for the future, and craft responsible public policy.
Here is a fantastic video that helps explain this issue even better. Click the image to view:
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. Thanks for. visiting! Here's a shot from the "snow day" this week.
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
Legislative email: email@example.com
Personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell phone: (801) 573-1774