Democratic Caucuses to Hold Press Briefing


For more information, contact:

Emily Bingham Hollingshead
Communications Director, Utah Senate Democrats
Ph: 435.590.9961

Eric Ethington
Communications Coordinator, Utah House Democrats
Ph: 801.647.8609

Utah House & Senate Democratic Leadership to hold mid-session press briefing today

Salt Lake City – Members of  House and Senate Democratic Leadership Team will hold a press briefing today, Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm to discuss the 2012 session and answer questions regarding pending legislation and budget proposals before both bodies.

Senator Ross Romero, Democratic Leader in the Utah Senate
Senator Karen Morgan, Democratic Whip in the Utah Senate
Senator Pat Jones, Democratic Assistant Whip in the Utah Senate
Senator Ben McAdams, Democratic Caucus Manager

Representative David Litvack, Democratic Leader in the Utah House
Representative Jennifer Seelig, Democratic Whip in the Utah House
Representative Brian King, Democratic Assistant Whip in the Utah House
Representative Christine Watkins, Democratic Caucus Manager

What: Discussion on pending legislation and budget proposals
Where: Old Supreme Court Chambers of the Utah State Capitol
When: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 12:15pm – 12:25pm



Sen. Mayne’s Worker Classification Bills

Senator Karen Mayne’s landmark legislation, Senate Bill 35, was featured this week in news reports by KSL Television and the Deseret News. Click here for KSL’s report and interview with Senator Mayne and here for the Deseret News article.

Senate Bill 35, along with its companion bills, SB 11 and SB 191, closed a loophole that allowed companies to designate workers as “owners,” thereby avoiding paying taxes and other employee-related costs. Senator Mayne’s legislation insures the protection of workers’ rights.

Senator Mayne predicts her landmark legislation will serve as a model for other states. She has already been contacted by lawmakers in Hawaii, Colorado, and Illinois who are interested in sponsoring similar legislation for their states.

Click here for archived post of bill signings.

Nine Liquor Stores to Remain Open-Senator Romero’s Response

Senator Ross RomeroSenator Ross Romero just learned of Governor Gary Herbert’s decision to authorize the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to reassign $1.4 million in agency funds to keep nine of ten state liquor stores open that were originally slated for closure.  He commends Governor Herbert and DABC for their efforts in finding a preferred solution to DABC’s budget shortfall.

Senator Romero is aware of the public’s concern about closing state liquor stores.  He shares the expressed concerns of over consumption and prevention of under-age drinking, but that is not what the closing of stores was addressing. 

The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, along with other state agencies, was ordered to cut their budget by 7.5%, or $2.2 million.  In order to meet those cuts, the DABC was going to close 10 stores that make a profit for the state of nearly $20 million annually. 

During the past few months, Senator Romero has questioned the wisdom in closing 10 stores that make $20 million in profit annually in order to save just over $2 million this year.  In addition to the unfortunate monetary loss, about 100 Utahns would have lost their jobs, workers who may have turned to state assistance to make ends meet. 

Senator Romero has been exploring other sensible solutions to avoid the store closures, and he is pleased to now learn that nine stores will remain open for business.

Senator Mayne–Signing of Worker Classification Bills

Accompanied by bill sponsor Senator Karen Mayne, Governor Gary Herbert ceremonially signed Senator Mayne’s recently passed legislation, SB 11Worker Classification Coordinated Enforcement, SB 35Construction Licensees Related Amendments, and SB 191Workers’ Compensation Coverage Waivers.  These three companion bills closed a loophole that allowed some companies to designate workers as “owners,” thereby avoiding paying taxes and other employee-related costs.  Senator Mayne engaged numerous government agencies, business entities, and individuals in this effort, garnering their assistance and support.  Our community is well served by legislators such as Senator Mayne.

Alzheimer’s State Plan Task Force

Senator Karen Morgan is featured on The Tribune’s front page today.  Senator Morgan passed SB 48, Alzheimer’s State Plan Task Force, which creates a 20-member task force to examine how Utah will manage soaring costs related to the epidemic rise in Alzheimer’s disease. 

“I have called it a health care crisis,” said Senator Morgan.  “For me, the #1 thing to do is to educate the public and then figure out what to do to delay the onset of the disease.  We are going to see a trememdous increase in the prevalence of this disease.”

Thanks to Senator Morgan for addressing the health care needs of our state.

A Time To Say “Thank You”

by Sen. Ross Romero, Senate Minority Leader

Thank you to the legislative staff members who spent countless hours researching legislation, writing bills, preparing the budget and making sure all of the behind the scenes work got done.  A special thank you to Janeen Halverson, Minority Executive Assistant, who is a great help to our caucus. Continue reading

Taylor Maryon Leads the Pledge

Today’s Senate floor time began with Taylor Maryon leading the Senate body in the pledge of allegiance.  Taylor is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and currently serves as Senator Ben McAdams’ intern.

Taylor enlisted in the United States Coast Guard seven weeks before September 11, 2001.  During his two enlistments, he performed counter narcotics operations in Central & South America, piloted Search and Rescue lifeboats on Lake Superior, and led a domestic antiterrorism team in the Port of Houston.  Taylor achieved the rank of Boatswain’s Mate First Class (E-6).  Recently, Taylor was appointed Chairman of the Salt Lake County Veterans caucus.

Taylor Maryon, intern for Senator Ben McAdams

Thanks, Taylor, for your service to our country and to the Utah State Senate.

Women Working in Nontraditional Roles

It began with Rosie the Riveter, stated Senator Karen Mayne, as she introduced a number of women on the Senate floor who have chosen nontraditional occupations as a way to meet the challenge of supporting themselves and their families.  Rosie (We Can Do It!) is a cultural icon representing American women who worked in manufacturing plants during World War II.  These women sometimes took entirely new jobs, replacing the male workers who were serving in the military.

Utah Women in Trades (Wow--that reflector tape really works!)

Senator Mayne introduced Katie Leslie, who chose the Sheet Metal program at Ogden-Weber Tech College because there was a waiting list for Cosmetology.  She flew through the program, and with her hands-on experience, entered the apprenticeship program with the layout sheet metal fitting skills of a journeyman.  Katie landed a job with Mechanical Service & Systems, Inc., where she has worked for six years.

Isabell Navarro was devastated when her job at La-Z-Boy would no longer exist.  She scoured through dozens of college materials, and the Heavy Equipment Operator Program at Bridgerland ATC struck an exciting chord with her.  Now, Isabell is the first female heavy equipment operator hired at Nish Rock in Garland, Utah.

Jessee Yesenia, a struggling single mom and former waitress who needed a steady income to support her family, joined the JATC Laborers Apprenticeship program.  Jessee was able to go to school and get paid at the same time learning the flagging trade, making the same money as her coworkers who are men.

Concetta Defa has been an electrician for 15 years.  Concetta’s father passed away when she was 17 years old, and her mother struggled financially to support the family.  When Concetta became an electrician, she was able to help her mother in a way that she couldn’t help herself. 

Everyone’s story is different, but in the end, women are all looking for the same thing–security.  Women can create their own security for themselves and their families.

Read more about women in construction trades in an article by Peg McEntee in The Salt Lake Tribune.