Week 3: Capitol Week In Review

2012 General Legislative Session Week 3:  February 6 – February 10, 2012
 
Dear friends and neighbors,

It’s almost hard to believe we’ve already finished the third week of the legislative session. But we are eager to continue fighting for common sense solutions for Utah.

 

Highlights

  • Congratulations to Sen. Karen Mayne for being recognized by the 2012 Utah Fire Caucus as “Legislator of the Year.” Sen. Mayne was recognized for her never-ending quest to protect the rights of all workers, consumers, and citizens.
  • Sen. Mayne’s breast cancer prevention bill passed through both chambers. The bill would encourage giving more information to patients who receive mammograms.
  • Sen. Karen Morgan’s bill to reduce classroom sizes in the lower grades passed the Utah Senate this week.  The bill would cap class sizes or require teachers’ aides.
  • Sen. Luz Robles’ bill to cover the G.I. Bill tuition gap passed unanimously out of committee and now goes to the Senate floor.
  • Sen. Ross Romero’s bill which would prohibit teenagers from using a cell phone while driving passed out of the Senate and now heads to the house.
  • And finally, the Utah Commission on Aging will be reauthorized. Sen. Pat Jones bill reauthorizing the commission passed through both chambers. 

Senate Bills On the Move:

S.J.R. 1 – Recognizes the impact of Alzheimer’s on Utah citizens, encourages support for and implementation of the 5 year state plan to address the disease (Morgan).

 

Status: Passed the second reading in the Senate, and now awaits a third reading.

 

S.C.R. 4 – Urges women age 40 and older to receive breast cancer screening (that includes a mammogram) once a year (Mayne).

 

Status: Passed out of the Senate and now heads to a House committee.

 

S.B. 31 – Limits class sizes for kindergarten through grade three (Morgan).

 

Status: Passed out of the Senate and is now in the House Rules Committee.

 

S.B. 32 – Encourages facilities which perform mammograms to tell patients who have dense breast tissue about options for additional screening (Mayne).

 

Status: Passed through both chambers.

 

S.B. 36 – Modifies the Utah Revised Business Corporation Act to allow domestic corporations to transfer to another state (Davis).

 

Status: Passed through both chambers. 

 

S.B. 44 – Increases tuition benefits for veterans.

 

Status: Substituted in committee

 

S.B. 47 – Creates the Alzheimer’s State Plan Advisory Council within the Division of Aging and Adult Services and describes the duties of the division.

 

Status: Bill substituted in committee.

 

S.B. 48 – Expands the mission statement of public education, emphasizing citizen involvement in government and strong moral values.

 

Status: Passed out of committee and is on the second reading calendar in the Senate.

 

S.B. 90 – Creates incentive for individuals to report financial fraud (McAdams).

 

Status: Passed in the House with an Amendment, and the amended version passed unanimously in the Senate.

 

S.B. 91 – Helps victims who lost their savings due to financial fraud to recover against perpetrators. (McAdams).

 

Status: Amended and passed out of the House, and awaits a concurrence final vote in the Senate.

 

S.B. 116 – Allows active duty military personnel to claim a property tax exemption (Robles).

 

Status: Passed out of committee and has been placed on the second reading calendar in the Senate.

 

S.B. 131 – Reauthorizes the Utah Commission on Aging. (Jones)

 

Status: Passed through both chambers.

 

S.B. 128 – Prohibits anyone under 18 from talking on a cell phone while driving.

 

Status: Passed through the Senate and has been introduced in the House.

 

S.B. 139 – Reduces the age from 16 to 14 for children who wish to express their opinion during

a child custody proceeding regarding with which parent they would prefer to reside (Robles).

 

Status: Passed out of committee and placed on the second reading calendar in the Senate.

 

S.B. 146 – removes language from the divorce statute favoring one spouse over the other and provides for equal footing in property matters.

 

Status: Passed out of committee and is on the second reading calendar in the Senate.

Senate Democrats Discuss Important Issues With Governor Gary Herbert

Each week, Senate Democrats have the opportunity to meet with with Governor Herbert regarding legislation and policy that is being discussed during the legislative session.  

Democratic leaders discussed immigration policy with the Governor, who said immigration is the chief responsibility of the federal government. He cited the need for “a tall fence and a wide gate,” meaning better temporary worker programs combined with tightening security on the border.

Democrats questioned if attacking the federal government on all other fronts – and then passing the buck on immigration – was consistent. We also cited problems with E-Verify, the employment verification program which the Governor supports. But with E-Verify there are far too many false positives – instances where people who are legally authorized to work are incorrectly flagged, and then have to waste time and business resources to resolve the issue.

Gov. Herbert also mentioned continued problems with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control – specifically a lack of oversight and accountability. He said the DABC hasn’t prioritized money well enough, and has ignored the findings of legislative audits.

We are pleased that the Governor seems willing to work with us to improve the functions of the DABC.

 

Senate Democrats In the News

 

 
Get Involved
Track Legislation with the award-winning website: http://le.utah.gov/
 
http://www.utahsenatedemocrats.org

Thank you for your political involvement, and let us know how we can more effectively serve you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Utah Senate Democrats

Breast Cancer Screening Bill Passes the Utah Senate & House

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House of Representatives passed SB32 last week.  The bill, sponsored by Senator Karen Mayne, D–West Valley City, will encourage medical providers to inform patients of the presence of dense breast tissue and recommend extra screenings to detect possible cancer growth.

The bill previously passed the Utah Senate.   It now goes to the Governor for final signing.

“This will save thousands of lives,” Mayne said.

Hearing on Wine Sampling Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, contact:

Emily Bingham Hollingshead
Communications Director, Utah Senate Democrats
Ph: 435.590.9961
E:    emily.hollingshead@gmail.com

A proposal to allow wine & spirits distributors to offer wine and spirits samples to restaurant owners will be heard in the Senate Business and Labor Committee on Monday, February 13, 2012.   SB119 would allow these distributors to visit a restaurant and provide the restaurant‘s owner or any other designated employee with a private tasting of any wine or spirit they are offering for sale.  This tasting would occur at the restaurant.

“Some high-end wines cost as much as $300 per bottle.  This legislation allows a restaurant to sample wines and spirits before purchasing them.  Restaurant owners not only want to ensure these wines work well with their menus, but they also want to offer the highest quality wines and spirits to their customers.” explained Senator Ross Romero, the sponsor of the bill.

Who:    Senator Ross Romero, D–Salt Lake City

What:   Presentation of SB119 to the Senate Business and Labor Committee

Where: 215 Senate Building, Utah State Capitol Complex

When:  2:10 pm

 

Utah Fire Caucus Honors Senator Mayne

Last Monday during the fire fighters luncheon at the Capitol, the 2012 Utah Fire Caucus recognized Senator Karen Mayne as “Legislator of the Year.”

Senator Mayne was recognized for her never-ending quest to protect the rights of all workers, consumers, and citizens.  Beginning in her youth, Senator Mayne made it her mission to help others in her community.  She has been instrumental in the creation of several youth programs and women’s support programs, and she has advocated for the elderly.

Senator Mayne is quick to demonstrate her respect and affection for the fire service, knowing that fire fighters are expected to win every time.  She is always willing to battle along side fire fighters and champion their causes.  She stands with them to protect their rights to safe working conditions.

When you hear Senator Mayne call a fire fighter “buddy,” you know she means it—and the fire fighter has earned it.

(excerpts from award presentation by Jack Tidrow,
President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Utah)

 

Congratulations, Senator Mayne, on this well-deserved honor.

Utah Senate passes bill to lower class size

From the Salt Lake Tribune
by Lisa Schencker

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to lower class sizes for young children, despite arguments from some that it could hurt schools because of the cost.

SB31 would cap class sizes at 20 students in kindergarten and at 22 students in first, second and third grades. Or, it would require teachers’ aides, known as paraprofessionals, in larger classes.

“As we all know, the early grades are critical years in a child’s education,” said bill sponsor Sen. Karen Morgan, D-Cottonwood Heights. “These are the years a child learns foundational math and reading skills that will determine their future success.”

A number of lawmakers also praised the bill because it would require schools to meet the new caps in order to continue receiving millions of dollars a year that have long been intended for class size reduction. A 2007 legislative audit showed that $460 million meant to make class sizes smaller in Utah over seven years hadn’t led to any change, though some have said class sizes would have been even larger if not for that money.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

Breaking News! Class Size Reduction Bill passes the Senate

SALT LAKE CITY – Senator Karen Morgan’s bill to reduce classroom sizes in the lower grades passed the Utah Senate today.  The bill would put caps on class sizes – 20 students in kindergarten and at 22 students in first, second and third grades. Or, it would require teachers’ aides, known as paraprofessionals, in larger classes.   The bill also includes measures to hold schools accountable.  In order to continue to receive state money that’s long been distributed for class size reductions, schools would have to meet the new caps.

“Kindergarten through third grade is a critical time in a child’s education,” Morgan, D-Cottonwood Heights, told senators. “That is the time they need more one-on-one individualized attention.”

The bill passed on a 19 – 9 vote, with all Democrats voting in favor of the measure.

How did your Senator vote?

Yeas – 19

Adams, J. S. Davis, G. Jones, P. Knudson, P. Mayne, K.
McAdams, B. Morgan, K. Niederhauser, W. Okerlund, R. Osmond, A.
Reid, S. Robles, L. Romero, R. Stephenson, H. Stevenson, J.
Valentine, J. Van Tassell, K. Waddoups, M. Weiler, T.

Nays – 9

Anderson, C. Bramble, C. Christensen, A. Dayton, M. Hinkins, D.
Jenkins, S. Madsen, M. Thatcher, D. Urquhart, S.

Absent or not voting – 1

Hillyard, L.

 

 

Cell phone bill moves to the Utah House of Representatives

From KSL
By Nkoyo Iyamba

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill targeting teenage drivers and cellphone use passed a second Senate reading 19 to 9 Monday.

The bill, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero (D) puts restrictions on how and when cellphones can be used by teenage drivers while operating a vehicle. The bill, according to Romero, is supp osed to extend Utah’s Graduated license program, which gives teens under 18 driving privileges incrementally. It would prohibit teens from talking on any phone device while driving, unless in an emergency or they are talking to parents. New drivers are currently limited by passenger restrictions, supervision and nighttime driving rules.

“Those with the least experience driving operating a motor vehicle, should have their focus on learning how to operate a motor vehicle,” Romero said. “…If you are under 18 and you get into an automobile accident, you cause property damage or injure other people, (and) the parent is responsible for that.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

Ban on cell phones for young drivers advances

From The Salt Lake Tribune
by Robert Gehrke

The fate of a bill to ban 16- and 17-year-old drivers from using cell phones while behind the wheel remains unclear as it moves to a final vote later this week.

Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, is proposing to prohibit the phone use, arguing that young drivers are more likely to phone while driving and more likely to endanger themselves and others on the roads.

“This bill has been very narrowly tailored and it’s addressing a problem that specifically is affecting young individuals,” Romero said. “This is a significant public safety issue.”

SB128 got preliminary approval Monday on a 19-9 vote, but several of those who voted in favor expressed concerns about the measure and may not support it when it comes up for final passage later this week. Romero said he is optimistic he will have enough votes to move the bill on to the House.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

 

Dems forum cheers overhaul of health care

From the Salt Lake Tribune
by Pamela Manson

State Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, said the Affordable Care Act requires that 80 percent of premiums must be used for health care. Utah already has an exchange for small businesses and should take the next step, he said.

“I really believe the state of Utah needs to take the lead in creating our own exchange for individuals,” rather than waiting for the federal government to do it, Davis said.

Click here to read the whole story.

Week 2: Capitol Week In Review

Dear friends and neighbors,

The 2012 Legislative Session is now in full swing, and Utah Senate Democrats are working hard to find common sense solutions for the many complex issues we face a state.

This week Utah House and Senate Democrats presented several pieces of legislation that will impact the health and wellness of all Utahns.  Please take a moment to view our press briefings and read the full transcript and summary of the bills by clicking here.

Utah Democrats have always believed that that when it comes to our health and wellness, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  That’s why in 2012 we are presenting legislation to make sure that every child has access to quality health care, bills that will provide all Utahns with improved cancer screening, and solutions to decrease the incidences of melanoma, the fastest growing cancer in Utah.  There are also bills from Democrats designed to improve Utah’s air quality proposals to solutions faced by our aging population, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and end of life decisions.   Please check our website regularly to see how our bills are moving through the process.

Here are some highlights:

S.J.R. 1 – Recognizes the impact of Alzheimer’s on Utah citizens, encourages support for and implementation of the 5 year state plan to address the disease (Morgan). 

Status: Passed out of committee  unanimously and has been placed on the second reading calendar of the Senate.

 

S.C.R. 4 – Urges women age 40 and older to receive breast cancer screening (that includes a mammogram) once a year (Mayne).

 

Status: Passed out of committee and has been placed on the second reading calendar of the Senate.

 

S.B. 31 – Limits class sizes for kindergarten through grade three (Morgan).

 

Status: Passed the second reading on the Senate floor. The vote was 18 yeas, 9 nays, with two absent. It is now on the third reading calendar for the Senate.

 

S.B. 32 – Encourages facilities which perform mammograms to tell patients who have dense breast tissue about options for additional screening (Mayne).

 

Status: Passed the in the Senate and was sent to the House, and assigned to the House Business and Labor Committee.

 

 

S.B. 36 – Modifies the Utah Revised Business Corporation Act to allow domestic corporations to transfer to another state (Davis). 

Status: Passed out of the House Business and Labor Committee and now awaits a second reading on the house floor.

 

S.B. 90 – Creates incentive for individuals to report financial fraud (McAdams).

Status: Passed in the

Senate and has been sent to the House, and is being held in committee.

 

S.B. 91 – Helps victims who lost their savings due to financial fraud to recover against perpetrators. (McAdams).

 

Status: Passed in the Senate and has been introduced in the House.

 

S.B. 107 – Prohibits a person from possessing graffiti paraphernalia with the intent to deface public property (Mayne).

 

Status: Failed to pass on the Senate floor. The vote was 11 yeas, 17 nays, and one absent or not voting.

 

S.B. 51 – Prohibits housing or employment discrimination on basis of sexual orientation.

 

Status: Tabled in committee on a 4-2 vote. (Senator Luz Robles voted against tabling the bill, and had recommended that the bill be passed from committee with a favorable recommendation.)


S.B. 110
– Requires that suits against Salt Lake County borrowers be brought in the county (McAdams). 

Status: Failed to pass out of the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

 

S.B. 116 – Allows active duty military personnel to claim a property tax exemption (Robles).

 

Status: Passed out of committee and has been placed on the second reading calendar in the Senate.

 

S.B. 117 – Requires certain publication of bills which reduce Education Fund reserves (McAdams).

 

Status: Failed to pass out of the Senate Education Committee.

 

S.B. 127 – Requires more training for those who prescribe pain medications. (Jones).

 

Status: Passed out of committee and has been placed on the second reading calendar of the Senate.

 

S.B. 139 – Reduces the age from 16 to 14 for children who wish to express their opinion during

a child custody proceeding regarding with which parent they would prefer to reside (Robles).

 

Status: This bill was not considered in the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee.

Senate Democrats Discuss Important Issues With Governor Gary Herbert

Each week, Senate Democrats have the opportunity to meet with with Governor Herbert regarding legislation and policy that is being discussed during the legislative session.

Senate Democrats expressed concern to the Governor that higher education did not have a larger funding priority in his budget.  Although we agreed with him that public education also needs more funding, we also believe that higher education must also be properly prioritized. As the budget process unfolds in this session, we will be working with our Republican colleagues to find more funding for our colleges and universities.

We reported back to the Governor regarding the series of Town Hall meetings that have been held with business and community leaders regarding alcohol policy.  We expressed the desire from business leaders to be more included in discussions regarding the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and its policies.   We also want to ensure that all those affected by DABC policies have a voice, and we’re working with Governor to achieve that goal.


Senate Democrats In the News

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Track Legislation with the award-winning website: http://le.utah.gov/

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http://www.utahsenatedemocrats.org

Thank you for your political involvement, and let us know how we can more effectively serve you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Utah Senate Democrats

Week 2:  January 30 – February 3, 2012
2012 Legislative Session