Kudos for Paula…

Senator Paula JulanderFormer Democrat Senator Paula Julander has been chosen as the honorary chairwoman for the 2007 Race for the Cure event scheduled for May 12. Sponsored by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the event features a 5K run/5K walk and a one-mile fun run/walk, followed by a tribute to breast cancer survivors and awards for the 5K run.

Paula served two terms in the Utah House of Representatives and two terms in the Utah Senate. She championed women’s health care issues by sponsoring legislation every session to benefit women and families. Paula served as the president/executive director of the Utah Nurses Association. She is a board member of Intermountain Health Care Hospitals.

Paula has been a nurse for over 40 years. She was born and raised in North Carolina (her Southern drawl still lingers), where she earned her Nursing Diploma in 1960 at the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing. In 1984 she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Utah. In 1990, Paula received her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Brigham Young University, where she was valedictorian of the graduating class.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. Today, the Foundation is an international organization with a network of more than 75,000 active volunteers working through local Affiliates and events like the Komen Race for the Cure® to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease.

Congratulations Paula!

Public Business in Public

by Senator Patricia Jones
Senate Minority Caucus Manager

You can plan on fireworks whenever school closures and boundary changes are
under consideration. For that reason, it is important to make sure patrons are aware when school boards consider these important and volatile issues.

Because several of our communities have experienced potential and real
changes in school population shifts and housing students the past few years,
I sponsored legislation this last session that mandates:

1) Ten days’ notice when school boards consider the annual budget, school
closures, and school boundary changes (the previous policy only required 24
hours);

2) That the school board hold a public hearing for the annual budget, school
closures, and school boundary changes. (Even though hearings were often
held, they were not heretofore required to do so for school
closures/boundary changes).

This new law is intended to build trust between school patrons, taxpayers,
and our great education communities. Apparently, my legislative colleagues
agreed. Thanks to my Democratic and Republican colleagues for your
unanimous support on this bill. I also wanted to thank Bruce Parker, an
involved citizen and professional planner, for his wise input on this
legislation.

A Victory for Our Kids’ Health

by Senator Patricia Jones
Senate Minority Caucus Manager

Senator Pat JonesUtah’s kids scored a big victory this past legislative session with the passage of SB52, Health Regulations for Public Indoor Tanning Beds (P. Jones).

The new law requires IN PERSON parental consent once a year for minors in order to use commercial tanning beds. At that time, the parents will be required to read warnings about the harmful effects of UV rays from tanning beds and to sign for the maximum number of tanning sessions their child can receive that year.

The new law also provides uniformity throughout the state, resulting in more fairness for businesses. Currently, some counties have lenient standards while others are more restrictive.

SB52 gives parents more control and knowledge about how often and where their kids tan. After reading the warnings, some parents may choose not to allow their minors to tan; others will at least be better informed of the dangers.

Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is rising rapidly. Utah is among the top 5 states per capita in deaths due to melanoma. In 1940, the risk of melanoma was 1 in 1,500. By 2010, the risk is expected to be 1 in 50.

Ultraviolet rays generated from tanning beds are 2 to 3 times more intense than laying out in the sun. UV rays in tanning beds penetrate the skin deeper, affecting the skin’s collagen, elastic fibers, and blood vessels, causing premature aging of the skin.

How did your senator and representative vote? Click here for the yeas and nays.

Sorry, Henry, the time ran out….

by Senator Gene Davis
Senate Minority Whip

GeneSenate Bill 190, Animal Cruelty Offenses (dubbed Henry’s Bill in honor of Henry, the dog placed in a hot oven by its owner’s estranged spouse), passed in the Senate and the House by decisive margins. However, in the House, the bill was amended and passed at a late hour on the last day of the Legislative session, too late for the bill to be returned to the Senate so senators could concur with the bill as amended.

Again next year, I plan to sponsor Henry’s Bill, and I’ll work very hard for its passage. Public outcry continues. Have you been reading the newspaper? Numerous letters from readers have been published expressing disappointment about Henry’s Bill. Email is still voluminous.

Next year, Henry, let’s do it.

A Permanent Home for Sports

DmitrichSenator Mike Dmitrich’s Senate Bill 167 (2nd substitute) passed the Legislature and is awaiting the signature of the governor. The legislation creates the Utah Sports Authority (USA), a seven-member board appointed to oversee promotion, development, and marketing of sports events and sports tourism in Utah. Three members of the board will be appointed by the governor, two by the Senate president (no legislators), and two by the Speaker of the House (no legislators). The Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Commission, presently under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce, will move under the USA umbrella.

The Utah Sports Authority will attract and oversee all types of sporting events, including cycling, wrestling, volleyball, fencing, cross country skiing, golf, tennis, gymnastics, and that’s just the beginning of the list.

SPORTS:  They’re great for participants, spectators, and Utah’s economy.

V~OUCH~ERS–Ouch!!

Utah now has one of the broadest school voucher programs in the country, allowing up to $3,000 of General Fund monies to be transferred to private schools for students who elect to leave their public schools and attend private schools.

The legislation passed in the House of Representatives by only ONE vote (38-37). The Senate vote was 19-10. For the record, EVERY Senate Democrat voted against the bill. To reiterate, the Senate Democratic Caucus opposes school vouchers. We believe their existence will undermine the public school system, particularly in our state where per-pupil spending is the lowest in the nation. We have grave concerns about the forthcoming impact of this new law. “I am not sure our state can afford three education systems,” said Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich, referring to public schools, charter schools, and now private schools.

Public opinion polls in the state indicate opposition to vouchers. The will of the people is reflected in our NO votes.

GeneClick here for Senator Davis’ poignant speech 2/9/07 on the Senate floor during the HB148 debate.

Click here for the Senate Vote.

The Fearless Five

On the final day of the 2007 Legislative Session, we want to sincerely thank our five interns who have spent the past six weeks serving the Senate Democrats in the Utah State Senate. Without their valuable contribution, it would be difficult to fulfill our lawmaking responsibilities.

Sara Thomas from Brigham Young University is Senator Jones’ intern.
Curtis Haring from the University of Utah is Senator Dmitrich and Senator Mayne’s intern.
Brent Whitehead from the University of Utah is Senator Davis’ intern.
Porter Morgan from the University of Utah is Senator Goodfellow and Senator Fife’s intern.
Casey Jackson from Utah State University is Senator McCoy and Senator Romero’s intern.

We wish them the best in their future endeavors and hope their interest in politics continues.

The Senate Democrats

The Fearless Five

The Legal Elite and 40 under Forty

Ross RomeroNewly elected Senator Ross Romero, one of us, is among the 2007 Utah Legal Elite according to the January issue of Utah Business magazine. Utah Business surveyed 5,000 state Bar members and asked them to vote for peers they consider to be tops in their specialties. Senator Ross Romero and his wife Cecelia, also a practicing attorney, were voted tops in Business Litigation. Senator Romero was also voted as one of Utah’s Up and Coming lawyers.

Continuing on……Senator Romero is one of Utah’s “40 under Forty” movers and shakers in the February 2007 issue of Utah Business, chosen from a list of hundreds of youthful, energetic leaders of today and tomorrow.

CONGRATULATIONS Senator Ross Romero and Cecelia Romero!

Henry’s Bill

by Senator Gene Davis
Senate Minority Whip

Each session I receive hundreds of email from constituents requesting my support on issues of concern to them. If these email are any indication of the importance of a bill, then SB 190 must be passed.

For the past two years, there have been strong efforts to pass an animal cruelty bill, but those efforts met with little success. Each year the bill has failed, the intensity and pressure to pass the bill has increased. In 2006 that pressure increased after the misdemeanor conviction of Mark Vincent. Henry, a dog abused by Vincent, has become the poster animal of the campaign supporting the animal cruelty bill. In 2007 support for an animal cruelty bill is stronger than ever. As research linking animal cruelty and domestic violence becomes more conclusive, the need for this bill grows.

This year the bill was started in the Senate to address the concerns that hindered the bill in years past. I have been working with individuals in the agricultural sector and others to resolve concerns and refine the bill. With the help of many dedicated people, and despite some setbacks, I feel confident Utah will join 41 states that have already taken steps to make animal cruelty a felony offense.

SB190 passed in the Senate last Friday with the support of the majority of rural legislators voting “aye.” It will now be considered in the House of Representatives.

Welcome to our Site and Blog

Welcome to the Web site and blog of the Utah Senate Democrats, where you can become acquainted with the views and perceptions of Democrats in Utah.

We bring to the table a diverse conglomerate of backgrounds offering expertise in natural resources and mining, higher education administration, public relations, labor and industrial organization management, law, political polling and research, and engineering. We represent a diverse aggregate of citizens in both rural and urban Senate districts, and we believe our diversity complements their diversity.

We take our lawmaking responsibilities seriously and are committed to quality representation for our constituents. Please visit our site often for Utah’s sound, sensible outlook.

Mike Dmitrich
Senate Minority Leader