Utah Hispanic/Latino Day

Senator Luz Roblesby Senator Luz Robles
Senate Minority Caucus Manager
District One

On Wednesday, February 19, Governor Huntsman signed a proclamation declaring it Utah Hispanic/Latino Day.  I was fortunate to be a part of this wonderful and commemorative day.

There were many distinguished guests at the Capitol that day.  Supportive lawmakers such as Senate President Waddoups, local activists, and the Utah Hispanic Latino Legislative Task Force all met to celebrate this commemoration of the largest ethnic minority group in the state of Utah.  Another announcement of equal importance was announced, that of the newly created Hispanic Caucus, which I, along with Senator Ross Romero, Representative Mark Wheatley, and Representative Rebbecca Chavez-Houck, will comprise.

Earlier, both the Senate and the House unanimously passed resolutions honoring the accomplishments of Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante and Father Francisco Atanasio Dominguez.  In the late 18th century, the two missionaries/explorers drew some of the first maps of Utah.  HJR 10 was sponsored by Senator Ross Romero and Representative Mark Wheatley.  The resolution was presented to Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Bishop John C. Wester, Members of the Catholic Diocese and Others

From Left:  Rep. Lorie Fowlke, Sen. Luz Robles, Rep. Mark Wheatley,
Sen. Ross Romero, Rep. David Litvack and Rep. Wayne Harper

Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck


Area Code Change This Sunday

Senator Ross Romeroby Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip

I wanted to make sure you know that the scheduled 10-digit dialing required to implement the new 385 area code overlay solution will take effect Sunday, March 1, 2009.

Popular Cell PhonesI would recommend taking some time this weekend to re-enter the area codes in your cell phones so that when you find the name of the person you are calling, you will have their area code already programmed in.  There is a bill in the House (HB 215) which would change the implementation of the area code from a historical use to a geographic area.  I would be interested in hearing your response to this bill in this blog post.  Click below to post your comments.

Below are facts about the area code change prepared by the Public Service Commission.  If you have additional questions, please contact the Public Service Commission at mlivingston@utah.gov or 801-530-6716.

 The new 385 Area Code overlaying the existing 801 Area Code

Background: On July 11, 2007, the Utah Public Service Commission issued an order approving the deployment of a new Area Code for use in the area presently served by the 801 Area Code. The new Area Code, 385, will provide additional telephone numbers that are necessary to support the growth in the number of Utah residents, telecommunication service providers, available telecommunications products, and additional lines. The new 385 Area Code will cover the same geographic area as the existing 801 Area Code. In general, the introduction of the 385 Area Code will primarily affect residents in the following counties: Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Weber, and Utah.

The following questions and answers will help clarify the impact of deploying the new 385 Area Code:

What change will happen on Sunday, March 1, 2009?
Callers within the 801 Area Code must dial the full 10 digit telephone number in order to complete local calls.  The 10 digit telephone number includes the 3 digit Area Code along with the 7 digit telephone number.  The PSC ordered the new 385 area code to be added to the geographic area currently served by the 801 Area Code. This change only affects the way callers dial local calls.  As a result, all current customers will retain their existing numbers and Area Code.

How will telephone dialing change?
The way callers dial a local call will change; callers will be required to dial 10 digits for all local calls. Specifically:
•    For a local call within the same or different Area Code, customers must dial 10 digits (Area Code + 7 digit telephone number).
•    For a toll call to all area codes, there is no change, customers must dial 1+10-digits          (1 + Area Code + 7-digit telephone number).
•    For Operator Services Credit Card, Collect, or a Third Party call to all area codes, there is no change; customers must dial 0+10-digits (0 + Area Code + 7-digit telephone number).

What happens if a caller by mistake dials a “1” before the 10 digits for a local call?  Will they be charged for a toll call since they dialed the “1”? 
No, callers should not incur toll charges for local calls.  Depending upon the service provider of the caller, they will either get an intercept message indicating they do not need to dial a “1” to complete the call, or if the call is allowed to complete, the caller should not be charged for a toll call.  Callers should contact their local service provider if they have any questions.

What will not change as a result of the new area code?
•    Customers with existing 801 Area Code telephone numbers will have no change to their Area Code or telephone number.
•    Local calling areas will remain the same; the price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change.  In other words, if it is presently a local call, it will still be a local call without any toll charges.
•    Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 911 and 411. If available, customers can still dial 211, 311, 511, 611, 711 and 811 with just three digits.

Continue reading

Sen. Mayne Announces Work Zone Safety Campaign

by Macey Matthews
Session Staff

Westminster Graduate in Communications

Senator Karen MayneToday, Senator Karen Mayne held a press conference to discuss anticipated increases in road construction throughout Utah.  She announced the launch of the Work Zone Safety campaign to improve safety among motorists and road construction crews.  The campaign is a cooperative effort of the Workers Compensation Fund of Utah, Local #3 Operating Engineers, Granite Construction, and the Utah Department of Transportation.

Utah work zone statistics reveal that in 2007, 870 people were injured in work zone accidents, and there were 9 fatalities.  Since 2003, Utah has seen an increase in work zone fatalities, while other states such as Illinois, Arizona, and California have seen a decrease (these states have work zone safety campaigns).  Senator Mayne and these public and private organizations are working together to change the trend.

At today’s press conference, Senator Mayne assisted the Workers Compensation Fund in giving the media a preview of what will be seen throughout Utah on billboards, radio, and television.  Other speakers included Ray D. Pickup, WCF president and CEO, Dale Cox from Local #3 Operating Engineers, and Rich Thorne from the Association of General Contractors.

Senator Mayne expressed appreciation to the State Legislature for its support of transportation in the state of Utah and for its continued effort to make our highways safe.

Press Conference-Senator Mayne

Sign for Work Zone Safety

AND…..just a little added bonus among the supporters behind Senator Mayne!

Added Bonus

Thanks for Measuring Up

by Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip

This year President Waddoups has given rulers to each Senator displaying the words “Utah State Senate” to hand out to those who have gone beyond the ordinary and have “measured up.”

Senate Ruler

On February 13, 2009, I asked three individuals to come to the floor of the Senate and be recognized for their actions.

On January 29, 2009, Julio Venegas found $1,200 on the floor of a Chevron Station where he was working.  Instead of keeping the money as encouraged by a customer, Julio turned it into the authorities.  The press was contacted and after showing the individual who dropped the money on the news, the authorities were able to locate the proper owner who eventually retrieved the money.  (Click here for the full story.)

In December 2008, dozens of travelers who were taking a bus through Utah to California were stranded in Salt Lake City because of winter weather.  Floyd Mann and his friend Ron Gilder heard about these travelers and decided to help.  Mann and Gilder loaded up Mann’s car with water, soups, chips, snack bars and paper supplies which they dropped off at the bus station.  When Mann and Gilder found that many of these people had been stuck there for days, Mann offered them lodging at his home.  Eleven travelers accepted his offer, and over the Christmas holiday Floyd, his wife, and Ron, were the hosts to these travelers for almost a full week.  (Click here for the full story.)

These individuals are examples of those in our community who have truly “measured up.”  I was pleased and honored to be able to invite them to the Senate and personally thank them for their leadership and generosity.

Ruler Recipients
Julio Venegas, Floyd Mann and Ron Gilder

Receiving Rulers

Senator Romero with Ruler Recipients
Julio Venegas, Ron Gilder, Senator Ross Romero and Floyd Mann


“Bodyguards” for Dmitrich

Yesterday Senator Brent Goodfellow introduced “Mike Dmitrich’s bodyguards” during floor time.  Visiting the Senate yesterday, and seated next to their friend former Senator Mike Dmitrich, were Reno Mahe, retired Philadelphia Eagles running back, and Gabe Reid, retired Chicago Bears tight end.  Both men played football for the BYU Cougars.  Reno played football at Brighton High School in Salt Lake City; Reid played football at Leone High School in American Samoa.  Here are some fun photos.

Dmitrich, Mahe & Reid
Mike Dmitrich, Reno Mahe and Gabe Reid

Reid, Dmitrich and Mahe
Reid, Dmitrich and Mahe

 Dmitrich, Reid and Mahe
Dmitrich, Reid and Mahe


To Set the Record Straight…

by Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip

Alert from the Utah Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Currently there are individuals employed by private companies who have no affiliation with either the state or federal VA network who are claiming to help veterans and their dependents apply for VA benefits.  At times, these individuals are providing inaccurate information, causing the applications to be delayed or rejected.  Many of these companies are charging veterans for their assistance.

 The Department of Veterans’ Affairs reiterates that no veteran is ever required to pay for benefits they have earned.

Representatives from the Veterans Outreach Program make regular visits throughout the state to help veterans with their applications and to answer questions about benefits–free of charge.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Terry Schow, Executive Director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, at (801) 326-2372.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has a website that provides detailed information about services and benefits available to veterans.  Click on the following links for information on State Benefits, Federal Benefits, Medical Benefits, and Employment Services and Rights.

It’s Great to be a Utah Man

Senator Ross Romeroby Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip

Today the Utah State Senate recognized the University of Utah Football team for its 13-0 season and Sugar Bowl victory.  In celebrating the University’s success, the Senate passed two Resolutions.  The first Resolution seeks to have a playoff system to determine college football’s National Champion.  This will avoid the injustice which the University of Utah football team finds itself in being the only undefeated Division 1-A team in the country and yet not playing for the National Championship.  The second Resolution, sponsored by Senator Jones, honored the Utah football team for its success.

I  was also very pleased to see the great support the Utah community showed the Utah football team when it was recognized in Salt Lake City on January 16, 2009.  It was wonderful to see how the state came together to cheer on the Utes (even from those who usually root for the BYU Cougars).  The community came out in force and showed its support for OUR National Champions.

I am proud to serve as the Senator whose district includes the University of Utah.  I am not only proud of the University of Utah for its athletic successes but for educating and preparing great men and women graduates who go on to lead and succeed, both on and off the field.

Go Utes!






















Young Democrats on Capitol Hill

by Macey Matthews
Communications Graduate
Westminster College

Session Employee

Young people had a big impact on the November election, and now they are preparing to do the same with this year’s legislative session.  On Wednesday, members of the Young Democrats of Utah came to the Capitol to meet with Democratic lawmakers.  They came with six bills that they plan on targeting, three they support and three they oppose.  Ethics, abortion, voting reforms, gay rights, and gangs are the issues the group will be focusing on. Group leaders will be encouraging members to write letters to committee chairs, lawmakers, and local publications. They also plan on conducting meetings with senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle.

Senator Ross Romero spoke to the group and thanked them for their involvement and leadership.  He also encouraged them to get their friends involved.

You can become part of the legislative process, too.  To find your local legislators and their contact information, just enter your address in the box on this website.  Then pick up the phone or a pen and lobby away!

Eddie P. Mayne Senior Center

Eddie P. Mayne Senior CenterSalt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and members of the Salt Lake County Council have a new name for the Kearns Senior Center.  Its new name is the Eddie P. Mayne Senior Center, in honor of the late Senator Ed Mayne.  Mayor Corroon said, “We rarely dedicate buildings after people, but Ed certainly deserved this honor.”   Senator Mayne, his wife, and his father were instrumental in establishing the center.

His wife, Senator Karen Mayne, said her husband “always felt he had a charge to take care of the people here and make sure their needs were met.”

Read all about it in the Taylorsville/Kearns Journal.

Off and running….

 The 2009 General Legislative Session began today at the State Capitol on a snowy day in our capital  city.  It was an enjoyable, ceremonial day.

President Uchtdorf
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offered the morning prayer.
(President and Sister Uchtdorf pictured with Senate Minority Leadership)


Taking the Oath of Office
Newly elected senators took the oath of office.

Minority Leader Jones
New members of the Senate Minority Leadership team
assumed their new responsibilities.

2009 Interns
Session staff and full-time staffers were introduced.
Interns from universities throughout the state were introduced.