Believe! – Coming soon to a license plate near you!

Sen. Luz Escamilla’s legislation creating a new specialty plate for Real Salt Lake has passed both houses and will be sent to the Governor for signature!

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SB64 gives Utah drivers the option to show their Real Salt Lake spirit while supporting the Real Salt Lake Foundation’s efforts to train soccer referees, encourage youth soccer, and help prevent gang activity.  For more information about Real Salt Lake’s community programs, please visit the RSL Foundation.

Thanks to SB64 co-sponsor Rep. Brad Wilson and Leo the Lion for helping unveil the new plate!

RSL Plate

President Obama Issues Healthy Communities Challenge to Utah

Salt LakeHealthy Communities challange City is one of 20 communities across the country issued the ‘Healthy Communities Challenge’. The community with the highest sign-up percentage of citizens on the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov will receive a visit from President Obama to tell the whole country about their success.

“Utah, see how easy it is to get health care coverage inexpensively on the health exchange,” states Utah Senator Gene Davis. “The President of the United States has challenged the nearly 200,000 uninsured Utahns to get coverage, see how affordable it is to protect you and your family. Log onto HealthCare.gov, do it today and spread the word!”

In Utah nearly 8 in 10 people can get healthcare coverage for $75 or less a month on the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov. Last year Utah consumers saved an average of $209 a month thanks to tax credits for Marketplace coverage.

 

According to a recent Salt Lake Tribune Op-Ed (link):

“Getting covered used to mean filling out endless pages of forms – and sometimes even a medical exam. But today, HealthCare.gov makes the process fast and simple – you can shop around, compare plans, and choose the one that works for you and your family. If you, a friend, or family member need health coverage, head over to HealthCare.gov and sign up.”

Here’s the good news about health coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov:

  • 6 million American people now have healthcare coverage
  • The number of insured citizens has increased significantly
  • Millions of families not only have the security of healthcare coverage, they now have security knowing that they won’t become bankrupt when they get sick
  • Insurance companies can NO LONGER deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions
  • Preventative care like checkups and mammograms are now covered for free

Open enrollment is already underway, and if you sign up by Dec. 15, you’ll have coverage on New Year’s Day. But no matter what, sign up by Jan. 31 to get coverage next year.

Check it out for yourself! Go to HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to get information and sign up. Or call 1-800-318-2596 for confidential assistance 24/7 — help is available in more than 200 languages.

#GetCoveredSLC

 

Additional Information:

5 Years Later: How the Affordable Care Act is Working for Utah

FACT SHEET: Healthy Communities Challenge for Salt Lake City

Members of Minority Caucus React to the Rejection of Medicaid Expansion

Earlier this week, the Utah Access Plus proposal was rejected in the House of Representatives. There will likely be no special session for Medicaid Expansion. Alternatives for covering the gap will be revisited during the 2016 Legislative Session.

Senator Davis, Minority Leader of the Senate Democrat Caucus, said, “The failure to get any Medicaid Expansion in Utah means we continue to step over tens of thousands of Utahns who need it most. It is incalculable how much this failure will cost Utah’s economy. Without expanding Medicaid, Utah is continuing to forgo millions of federal dollars. This is money lost to our economy. This shows on the part of the Legislature that there is no desire to make sure those on the lowest income scale have access to health care.”

Senator Davis continues, “It is a shame that the citizens of our state cannot count on the Legislature to adopt a sensible Medicaid Expansion plan that would provide access to health care for all Utahns. This affects everyone in our state and we cannot keep putting off a solution.”

Senator Escamilla shares her thoughts, “I am disappointed in the lack of action on this critical issue. Once again the most vulnerable residents of our state are suffering from nonsense politics.”

Immediately following the House’ rejection of the Medicaid Expansion proposal, Utah Access Plus, on Tuesday, Senator Dabakis said, “This is a red letter day for stupidity in Utah’s political history…The shameful actions of the Utah GOP House put ideology and politics ahead of common sense.”

The Ambassador of China visits Utah

Today we were honored to have the Ambassador of China, Cui Tiankai, his wife Madame Ni Peijun, and several members of their delegation visit the Utah Senate.

Senator Gene Davis?: “Having the Ambassador of China and his wife in Utah is always an honor and a pleasure. I am looking forward to growing future relationships with China, and in particular, the Zhejiang Province.”

Senator Karen Mayne: “It was great meeting with the Ambassador and getting the chance to talk about cooperation and commerce between states and the goodwill shown between people.”

Senator Jim Dabakis: “Back in Utah meeting with Chinese Ambassador Cui Tainkai at Capitol. Special place in my heart for China as my husband Stephen and I lived in Beijing for two dazzling years in 2005-6

Senator Luz Escamilla also joined in this exciting conversation with the Ambassador of China: “At a great meeting with the Chinese Ambassador and his delegation, honored to participate of these conversations.”

 

China meeting group photo

Statement on Hildale Flooding

The Senate Democrats Release the Following Statement on the Flooding in Washington County:

We are saddened over the devastation and tragedy caused by flash flooding in Washington County, Utah. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we extend our deepest condolences during this difficult time. We appreciate the efforts of volunteers and first responders as they work to provide support and resources for the areas affected. At this current time, a new flash flood warning has been issued as another storm is expected in the area.

Senator Mayne Kicks Off Utah Safety Week 2015

Against a construction site background for today’s press conference, Senator Karen Mayne kicked off Utah Safety Week, a week of celebration and support to continue Utah’s emphasis on job safety for our workers.   “Our companies, our Legislature, and our Governor came together to promote workplace safety to make it possible for our workers to go to work in the morning and go home whole,” remarked Senator Mayne today at the press conference.  Events are planned for the entire week, culminating with Utah Safety Council’s 2nd Annual Night Out with the Salt Lake Bees.

Workers Compensation Fund sponsored an essay contest and awarded scholarships to the following winning students.

Jordan Miles
Caleb Curtis
Aleisha Keller

DSC_0015 DSC_0024 DSC_00442015 Work Safety Week Flyer

8 Days are Left in the 2015 Utah Legislative Session

This week will be the “defining week of the session for the Senate,” states Ric Cantrell, Senate Chief of Staff.

As a legislative group, we are looking at healthcare, clean air, gas taxes, and shock of all shocks; a medicinal cannabis bill introduced by conservative Senator Mark Madsen (R) Lehi.

To date, we, as the Utah Senate Democrats, have put out more press releases than all of last session, over 250 Facebook Posts and as many tweets, and added nearly 200 fans to our Facebook page, ‘Utah Senate Democrats’.

We have introduced, tabled and passed bills on healthcare, clean air, worker safety, biological father protections, LGBT anti-discrimination, home owner rights and making rooster fighting a felony in Utah.

As we move into the final days, we ask you to follow our Facebook page and Twitter so as to better communicate with us and let us know what is important you.  Finally? Please remember we are humbled to serve and dedicated to hard work.2015-Senators v2

Utah Senate Democrats Anticipate 2015 State of State Address from Governor Herbert

On Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City tonight Utah Senate Democrats are anticipating Governor Gary Herbert’s State of the State Address in hopes that Governor Herbert will address key issues important to the citizens of Utah, not only during the 2015 legislative session, but the long-term future as well.

The Democrat Senators have identified 4 areas of critical importance for the 2015 legislative session:

Education:

“Education is the greatest public infrastructure the state can provide, Utah needs to reinvest in our education system.” – Gene Davis

“I look forward to good legislation this session that will include additional funding to enhance teaching and auxiliary staff that work together to support the whole student. The students of Utah need us to pay attention to this.” – Senator Karen Mayne

Affordable and accessible health care:

Senator Gene Davis

“I want full Medicaid expansion and have sponsored a bill in support of that. Full Medicaid expansion allows for better access to quality healthcare. Full expansion will provide more coverage to more people who need it. I believe this bill has merit and should be state law. It is a better way to provide healthcare access to the citizens of Utah.”

SB 83 – Medicaid Expansion Proposal – Amend UT Health Code to expand Medicaid eligibility

Environment / Air Quality:

Senator Gene Davis

SB 87 – Environmental Protection Amendments – Repeals current laws so Utah is allowed to establish stronger rules than the federal Clean Air Standard.

Senator Luz Escamilla

(not numbered) – Air Quality Rules and Penalties

Increases air regulations and increases penalties for unlawful incineration.

Senator Jim Dabakis

SB 105 – Public Lands Act Amendments – Requires attorney general to file petition by 6/30/15 demanding determination of ownership of public lands

Senator Jani Iwamoto

SB 49 – Bear Lake Sovereign Lands Amendments – amends provisions for launching and retrieving a vessel on Bear Lake and transporting individuals or equipment near Bear Lake

Economic development with a strong commitment to families and a living wage:

Senator Karen Mayne

“We need to focus on GOOD JOBS, COMPETITIVE WAGES and a SKILLED WORKFORCE. It is our mandate to protect, enhance, serve and sustain the citizens of Utah.”

SB 44 – Construction Trades Licensing Amendments – Amends UT Construction Trades Licensing Act to prohibit unincorp entity that is subject to the act from assessing a management fee; addresses penalty for assessing management fee in violation of bill

SB 50 – Railroad Revisions – Enacts provisions prohibiting railroad from operating freight train unless it has crew of at least 2 people; specifies certification requirements

Senator Luz Escamilla

SB 10 – Compact for Interstate Sharing of Putative Father Registry Information – Creates the Compact registry for sharing putative (biological) father information

Senator Jim Dabakis

SB99 – Public Accommodation Fairness Act – Prohibits discrimination in a place of public accommodation on basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression

2015-Senators

 

Senate Democrats Elect Caucus Leadership for 2015

Utah Senate Democrats met on November 11, 2014 to organize their caucus and elect leadership for 2015. Senator Davis, along with Senators Mayne, Robles and Dabakis, welcomed Senator-elect Jani Iwamoto. “She comes to the Senate with great public policy experience and a strong commitment and dedication to serving her constituents,” remarked Senator Davis.

The new leadership team is as follows:

  • Senator Gene Davis, Senate Minority Leader
  • Senator Karen Mayne, Senate Minority Whip
  • Senator Luz Robles, Assistant Senate Minority Whip
  • Senator Jim Dabakis, Senate Minority Caucus Manager

Senator Davis remarked, “I appreciate the support of the caucus Democrats in re-electing me as leader. I look forward to working with Senate President Niederhauser and the leadership on the other side of the aisle. Utah legislators as a whole will be faced with many tough issues this coming legislative session, and our caucus looks forward to collaborating with our counterparts on resolving these issues for the betterment of the state of Utah.”

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2015 Utah Senate Democrat Legislative Leadership

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Senators Dabakis, Davis, Mayne, Iwamoto and Escamilla

 

Leadership Selfie

Having some fun with a leadership selfie!

 

Departing Words with Senator Pat Jones

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Her first Utah Legislative Session: 2000 as a house representative; 2007 as a senator

Her last: 2014

Number of elections she won: 5

Education: Olympus High School | B.S., Journalism, University of Utah

Career: Business owner, professional focus group moderator

Family: Husband, Dan E. Jones; 2 daughters & 2 stepdaughters; 2 sons & 1 stepson; 10 grandkids

What advice do you have for people who want to run for office?

 Just do it! Get involved and run for office! When you are a legislator, you really find out who you are. It is not a spectator sport, it helps you understand your values and what is important to you.

You will learn how the legislative system works and make incredible friends. The legislative staff is incredible. You learn how dedicated the people are who work at the Utah Capitol. It is a beautiful atmosphere.

Just being in this building requires you to stand up for what you believe in, but it is also important to be someone who can work across the aisle (with the opposite party) on issues that really make a difference in people’s lives.

Bills she’s most proud of:

  • Education funding efforts
  • Strengthened financial literacy
  • Protecting seniors from abuse and fraud
  • Established the commission on aging
  • Health & disease prevention; limit minors from tanning salons

What are your plans after your term ends?

I might run for something else. I’m weighing my options. This is a year of transition.