Senator Karen Mayne’s bill to target graffiti suspects

From KSL…

by Paul Nelson

SALT LAKE CITY — Today is the first day of the 2012 legislative session. One of the bills being proposed this year would give officers and prosecutors more options to go after people suspected of tagging graffiti.

“It’s just something that we don’t want in our community, we don’t want in our neighborhoods and we don’t want in our state,” said Sen. Karen Mayne, who is sponsoring Senate Bill 107.

Mayne says police officers don’t have any truly meaningful ways to go after people they suspect of tagging. Under SB 107, graffiti would be at least a class B misdemeanor. The charges could be more serious depending on how much damage is done.

The measure also would make it a class B misdemeanor to possess items used to make graffiti, if officers and prosecutors thought the suspect intended to use them that way.

“When you’re out at 2:00 in the morning with a spray can, a ladder and brushes, you’re not painting my neighbor’s garage,” Mayne observed.

Mayne says paints used by taggers are more damaging to walls and fences than in years past.

“They’re costing people so much money to fix their fences, and now [with] this corrosive stuff that [taggers] can put on fences, they will have to replace the fence,” Mayne said.

She says the proposal has received a lot of support from law enforcement agencies all over the state.





It’s Time to Clear the Air

Senator Ross Romeroby Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip

Last month I had the opportunity to hear a presentation regarding Park City, Utah’s effort to track its sustainability numbers.  Energy and water conservation are a couple of ways we can help sustain our communities.  Park City is particularly sensitive to how we treat our environment since it hosts many visitors to ski on its surrounding slopes.  Even slight temperature increases year after year have the potential to reduce snowfall amounts, jeopardizing the ski and tourism industry which will affect our state’s economy whether we ski or not.

Park City’s program was adopted to allow homeowners and businesses to calculate how much energy they are using.   At, Park City residents can calculate their carbon and water footprints and learn what they can do to reduce their impact on the environment.  There is a carbon calculator, a water calculator, and a waste calculator.  I encourage you to review this website and familiarize yourself with its calculators and the accompanying suggestions for reducing our impact on our environment.  Each person and home doing its share can make a big difference.
Another site to help us clear the air is  The site addresses subjects such as engine idling, smarter driving, etc.  It is a helpful reminder for us about what we can do to make a difference, which is especially relevant when we look out our windows at our polluted air. 

Please take a few minutes to visit these sites and consider what you can do to reduce energy consumption and help clear our air so we will live healthier, longer lives.

Project New West’s August Summit

Senator Pat Jonesby Senator Patricia Jones
Senate Minority Leader

Americans have always known that actions speak louder than words, and that lesson couldn’t be more true than right here in Utah.  Just look at our history.  When the pioneers began settling Utah in the 19th century, their survival depended on being able to work together, focus on a common goal, and get the essential things done.  While the challenges modern Utahns face are very different from those our forefathers faced, we still confront problems by looking for positive results instead of pleasant rhetoric.

That approach continues to pay dividends.  Recently, Utah was awarded over $14 million by the Department of Energy to begin work on new energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, with another $21 million on the way.  Utah received this grant money because of the ingenuity and practicality of our plan, developed with input from around the state, to tackle renewable energy issues.  The money will increase Utah’s budget for renewable energy products over 100-fold, helping us maintain the pristine beauty of our environment, cut our energy costs, and create jobs here in Utah.  Just a few weeks ago, Utah installed its largest photovoltaic solar panel farm in the state at Hill Air Force Base.

But we’re not resting on our laurels.  Governor Huntsman deserves praise for his cooperation with Interior Secretary Salazar in mapping out areas of the state where new wind and solar projects can begin.  Their efforts are laying the foundation for more jobs, more energy, and a cleaner environment.  These types of commonsense projects, taken up without regard to partisan affiliation, are exactly what our state, our region, and our nation need right now.

The efforts by Governor Huntsman and Secretary Salazar are just a start, however.  We’ll need more mainstream, commonsense solutions if we want to address energy and the myriad of other challenges we currently face.  That’s why in August, leaders from around the Rocky Mountain West will be gathering for an important conference in Denver.  The 2009 Western Conference, hosted by Project New West, will bring together regional leaders to discuss issues ranging from immigration to energy, from the environment to new jobs, from education to infrastructure.

Everyone knows we’re in the middle of tough times.  Our economy is struggling, our health care system is failing, and our environment is under threat.  If we want to solve these problems, we’ve got to do what we as Utahns and Westerners have always done: band together and take on the big challenges, without waiting around for someone to do it for us.  We can’t afford to sit around and wait for Washington to tell us what to do.  That’s why this conference is so important.  It’s an opportunity to find real answers, outside of the Washington spin-zone.

I’ll be there, and I’ll be bringing along Utah’s proud tradition of giving practical, no-nonsense answers to tough questions.  I’ll be focused on doing what works, no matter who comes up with an idea.  And I’ll be looking for strategies we can actually put into action, not just talk about.  I hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me as we work to strengthen our state and our region and maybe even to bring our Western solutions to the whole country.

Clean Utah

by Senator Ross Romero
District 7

Senator Ross RomeroThe Utah Department of Environmental Quality hosts an impressive program called Clean Utah, a voluntary program for conservation-conscious businesses willing to take steps beyond those required by rule or statute to prevent or reduce pollution and environmental waste. Clean Utah recognizes and rewards companies that go beyond compliance.

Earlier this month, I attended the Clean Utah luncheon and awards presentation where several Utah companies were recognized for going above-and-beyond what was required, and at the same time, these companies significantly improved their bottom line.

In 2006, Clean Utah Partners (companies at the Tier Two Level) recycled 4,387 tons of materials, saved 648,000 gallons of water, saved 6,448,957 cubic feet of natural gas, used 29,130 gallons of natural gas instead of gasoline, and kept numerous pollutants out of the air. These companies experienced increases in revenue through recycling and reductions in landfill disposal fees. Employees were enthused about the program and contributed their own ideas to further protect our environment.

Information about Clean Utah and its three-tiered membership program can be found on its website:

Another organization affiliated with Clean Utah is the Utah Pollution Prevention Association, which also recognizes companies that implement practices to reduce pollution. Information about its P2 awards can be found on its website:

I would encourage you to examine these two websites to see if your company can do similar things to make Utah clean.

Congratulations to the award winners, and thanks for all you are doing.