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2019 Utah Legislature - Week 5 Summary!

2019 Utah Legislative Session

Week 5 Summary

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!
 
 
Special Events at the Capitol
 
  • Police Chiefs Day on the Hill
 
This week, many of the police chiefs throughout the state visited the capitol. West Valley Police Chief Jacobs was nice enough to chat with Rep. Winder and me for a while about the West Valley Police Dept. and our City. Thanks for coming!
 

 
  • Visit with Mayor Bigelow
It was great running into and talking with Mayor Bigelow this week. Thanks for coming and continuing to look out for WVC's interests!



 

2019 Legislation

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.
States are divided as to whether campaign funds can be used for childcare while campaigning. Federal law allows it for federal campaigns. This bill would make clear that in Utah, campaign funds may be used for childcare expenses while campaigning.  Rep. Stephanie Pitcher (Democrat) and I are jointly sponsoring this bill.  There are so many wonderful people and leaders in this State. And they shouldn't be discouraged from running simply because they have childcare responsibilities.  

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.
This bill seeks to apply the same 4th amendment protections that we have in the paper and physical world, to the digital world. So much of our communication and information is now in digital and electronic format. And a lot our personal information is stored with third-parties (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.). This bill simply would require law enforcement to seek a warrant from a judge if they want access to such digital information.  See story here
 
  • 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.
This bill allows notarizations to be performed remotely. Currently, notarizations are only allowed to be performed in-person. Beginning November 2019, you'll be able to perform a notarization through your smart phone. Fantastic bill. Several states have already adopted remote notarizations.
  This bill is in response to an audit performed by the State Adutior's office. One recommendation that came forth after the audit was to clarify Utah law that it is unlawful to use government property for personal use. Here is a story explaining the issue.
  This bill is to clarify how old a legislator has to be. The state constitution says that a legislator must be 25 years of age. But it does NOT say by when he/she must be 25. At the time of filing (in March)? At the time of the election (in November)? At the time he/she assumes office (in January)? This bill clarifies that the legislator must be 25 years old "at the time of election" (in November.
  • 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.
This bill would require seat belts on new school buses starting in 2020. This issue can be summed up by a quote I made during the hearing. "It's silly and interesting that we require by law all children and all adults in our own personal vehicles to wear seatbelts. … But for some reason, we find it perfectly acceptable to put kids in buses with no seat belts at all," Hall said.

Here are some stories on this issue: DNews ABC4 SLTrib
 

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!!!



 
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! (Below is a photo of some of the paper surveys that have been returned!). I am very interested in your perspectives. Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated.  You can also take the survey online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RepHall2019 if you prefer that method.  Thank you so much!
 
 

Medicaid

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 chall@le.utah.gov.

Thanks for your support. Contact me anytime.

Read all previous email newsletters here: http://bit.ly/YJCYy1

Representative Craig Hall

Legislative email: chall@le.utah.gov
Personal email: hcraighall@yahoo.com
Website: www.votecraighall.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/votecraighall
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hcraighall
Cell phone: (801) 573-1774

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