Senator Karen Morgan talks about The Best Schools Initiative…

… and class size reduction.

Senator Karen Morgan met with KSL’s Doug Wright today at his “Capitol Town Hall Meeting”  to discuss upcoming bills dealing with public education.

On the following clip, Representative Patrice Arent leads off with Doug, followed by Senator Morgan.

Senator Morgan is about 21 minutes into the clip.

Alzheimer’s State Plan Task Force

Senator Karen Morgan is featured on The Tribune’s front page today.  Senator Morgan passed SB 48, Alzheimer’s State Plan Task Force, which creates a 20-member task force to examine how Utah will manage soaring costs related to the epidemic rise in Alzheimer’s disease. 

“I have called it a health care crisis,” said Senator Morgan.  “For me, the #1 thing to do is to educate the public and then figure out what to do to delay the onset of the disease.  We are going to see a trememdous increase in the prevalence of this disease.”

Thanks to Senator Morgan for addressing the health care needs of our state.

Governor signs Senator Morgan’s Resolution on Alzheimers’ Awareness

This past legislative session, Senator Karen Morgan sponsored SCR 1, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Concurrent Resolution.  In a ceremony earlier this week, Governor Gary Herbert signed the resolution in the company of Senator Morgan, officers of the Alzheimer’s Association, and numerous caregivers.

SCR 1 Signature

Governor Herbert signs SCR1

SCR1Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal brain disease that destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life.  Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal.  Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in America of persons aged 65 and older.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, the deterioration of intellectual faculties such as memory, concentration, and judgment, comprising 70% of all cases. (Click on thumbnails to enlarge.)

Utahns live longer than the rest of the nation, and the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is increasing age.  Over 40,000 people in Utah are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

SCR 1This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor urges Utahns to increase their awareness of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease.  Below are the four areas of emphasis reiterated by the Legislature and Governor Herbert:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein, recognizes the citizens of Utah who are battling the disabling effects of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and their caregivers as courageous Utahns engaged in a major health care battle of the 21st century.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor encourage their families, neighbors, employers, congregations, and the community at large to readily communicate their support, lend a helping hand, and promote open discussion about Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor urge Utah’s care provider industry to continue working hand-in-hand with families to support and care for those coping with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor recommend that all Utahns personally adopt a brain-healthy lifestyle to reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia by staying mentally fit, socially engaged, physically active, and adopting a brain-healthy diet.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor urge Utah’s brain health research and medical communities to continue their efforts through studies and clinical research to treat, prevent, and ultimately cure Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Girl Scout Award for Senator Jones

Today was Girl Scout Cookie Day on the Hill.  Senator Gene Davis introduced the Girl Scouts visiting the Senate Chamber.  The group presented each senator with a box of Girl Scout Cookies.  If senators had a cookie preference, the girls quickly accommodated their requests.

Senator Pat JonesSenator Davis also announced that Senator Pat Jones will be honored by the Girl Scouts next month.  In recognition of Senator Jones’ outstanding service and leadership, she will be honored with the 2010 Girl Scouts of Utah Distinguished Alumnae Award.  The award will be presented to Senator Jones at the Girl Scouts’ International Women’s Day Celebration March 4, 2010, at the Jewish Community Center.

Senator Jones has made incredible contributions to her community through her professional and volunteer endeavors and exhibits the Girl Scout Promise and Law in her daily life.  She is honest and fair, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and makes the world a better place.

Senator Karen Morgan and Senator Karen Mayne are former Girl Scouts, too.  Senator Karen Morgan is a previous recipient of the Girl Scouts of Utah Distinguished Alumnae Award.

Several of our visiting Girl Scouts were from Cottonwood Heights (Senator Morgan’s senate district) and one was from Kearns (Senator Karen Mayne’s senate district).

Congratulations, Senator Jones.

Senators Morgan and Mayne with Girl Scouts
Senators Mayne and Morgan with Girl Scouts

Senator Davis with Girl Scouts
Senator Davis with Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts in Chamber


Many Achievements for Cottonwood Heights City

Senator Karen Morganby Senator Karen Morgan
Senate District 8

This morning, the Utah State Senate presented Cottonwood Heights City, which is in my Senate District, with a citation recognizing its many #1 achievements.

In August of last year, the Cottonwood Heights City Emergency Preparedness Team was awarded FEMA’s top award for “Collaborative Preparedness Planning” at the 2009 National Conference on Community Preparedness held in Washington, D.C.  It was selected for its exemplary model of developing and implementing a citywide emergency preparedness plan.  When completed, the system will be prepared to communicate with residents of every street and home in the City.

Cottonwood Heights has also received many other awards in just five years of being established as an official city.

They’ve received Best of State Awards by the Best of State Committee in 2006, 2008, and 2009.  In 2006 they received the Best of State in Community Development.  In 2008 they received the Best in State for the best-elected official, Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore Jr. And in 2009 they received Best in State for the best-appointed Official, Treasurer Gary Harmer.

In 2007 Money Magazine rated them in the Top 100 cities of America.

In 2007, 2008, and 2009 Cottonwood Heights received the Distinguished Budget Award by the Government Finance Officers Association.

And the Cottonwood Heights Police Department received special recognition for their exceptional work against drunk driving. Before the Cottonwood Heights Police Department was established, only around 20 DUI arrests were made per year. Last year, the police made 256 DUI arrests.

Cottonwood Heights City Citation
Senator Karen Morgan awards Senate Citation to
Cottonwood Heights City Officials


 Dignitaries from Cottonwood Heights City
(left to right)
Robby Russo, Chief of Police
Gordon Thomas, Councilman on Emergency Preparedness
Senator Karen Morgan
Kelvyn Cullimore, Mayor
Lianne Stillman, City Manager

Reading Achievement Requirements

Senator Karen MorganSenator Karen Morgan is sponsoring Senate Bill 150, “Reading Requirements for Student Advancement.”  She presented her bill this morning in the Senate Education Committee where it passed unanimously.  Startling statistics emphasize the need for a minimum standard for reading achievement in the early elementary grades.  Twenty percent of students cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade.  More than 15% of students drop out of school between the 9th and 12th grades.

Morgan’s bill requires students in first, second and third grades to read at or above grade level prior to advancing to the next grade, with certain exceptions.  She stated, “Children learn to read in first, second and third grades.  After third grade, they read to learn.  A child must have basic reading skills in order to be successful as they move into the upper grades, and this bill will help to ensure that each child receives the help necessary to develop this vital skill.”

SB 150 requires schools to provide information to parents at the beginning of the school regarding this standard for grade advancement, to notify a student and the student’s parent or guardian before the middle of the school year if there is any possibility the student may not qualify for promotion, and to provide focused remediation to provide the help the student needs to achieve grade level.

SB 150 includes exceptions for students with disabilities and also allows a principal to provide an exemption and advance a student if the principal deems it to be in the best interest of the student.  A child has until August 15th to meet the standard and qualify for advancement to the next grade.