Last week, Senator Ross Romero was honored at the ACLU’s 50th Anniversary Bill of Rights Celebration. He received the Torch of Freedom Award for Progressive Leadership. Senator Romero received this recognition for his relentless efforts in the Utah State Legislature to bring attention to many critical community issues, in particular immigration and racial profiling. Click here and scroll down to read more about the event and Senator Romero’s award.
Last month, Senator Ross Romero received a Peace and Justice Award from the Utah Coalition of La Raza at its 15th annual Cesar Chavez Banquet. Senator Romero received this prestigious award for his work as a legislator and lawyer in the community. Senator Romero is a member of the Utah Minority Bar Association. Read the post on the Utah Minority Bar Association blog. Congratulations to Senator Romero.
City Weekly’s 2008 Best of Utah issue hit the news stands April 3. City Weekly readers voted on 100 “best of” categories. Senator Scott McCoy is the Readers’ Choice for Best State Legislator. CONGRATULATIONS Senator McCoy. If you have a copy of the April 3 City Weekly issue, you can read about Senator McCoy on page 60. You can also read about Senator McCoy by clicking here and then scrolling down until you see his picture.
Senator Ross Romero is third runner-up for Best State Legislator. CONGRATULATIONS Senator Romero.
Senator Ross Romero
Senator Gene Davis
Senator Fred Fife
Last Saturday, March 29, Senators Romero, Fife, and Davis enrolled in Fire Ops 101, a genuine firefighter’s training experience for elected officials sponsored by the Salt Lake City Fire Department and the International Association of Firefighters. Fire Ops 101 was an example of the training that firefighters go through to prepare themselves for their strenuous and demanding profession.
Each senator donned a firefighting uniform, complete with gear, helmet, and boots and participated in hands on emergency situations. They climbed ladders carrying hoses and put out real fires in buildings, extinguished real car fires, extricated trapped victims in cars, and entered smoke-filled rooms wearing breathing equipment.
Senator Romero using cutting tools.
“It’s truly admirable to understand what firefighters have to do and the pressures they’re under and the effort they take to make sure we’re safe,” said Senator Ross Romero.
Senator Fred Fife said, “The stress from constant readiness on the job to meet the dangers of every call is a burden every firefighter must bear. That was demonstrated in the exercises. We learned that the work of firefighters requires teamwork and comradery. They displayed that for us. I learned much from Fire Ops 101, and it was a great experience for me.”
We express our sincere appreciation to our city’s firefighters for their commitment and bravery in performing the duties of their jobs.
by Senator Ross Romero
Senator Ross Romero sponsored Senate Bill 60 to eliminate the obligation of the Utah Labor Commission, through the Anti-discrimination and Labor Division, to gather information regarding the fee charged to employees by employment agencies. The bill unanimously passed in the Utah State Senate and is now working its way through the House of Representatives.
Currently, the Utah Labor Commission is obligated to maintain an oversight role over the fees individuals pay to employment agencies. The bill’s purpose is to repeal this responsibility of the Labor Commission since in recent years the practice of charging employees fees by temporary agencies has been eliminated. The law still requires city and county oversight and regulation over employment agencies. In addition, the employment agencies are still obligated to post a bond as part of their licensure.
The purpose of SB 60 is to address a resource issue confronting the Utah Labor Commission. The current process demands the use of unnecessary man hours for an outdated process. Passage of this bill will help alleviate some work to an already busy Labor Commission while also ridding the Commission of unnecessary regulatory responsibility.
SB 60 will now be heard in House of Representatives with Representative Chavez-Houck as the House sponsor.
by Senator Ross Romero
Utah’s economy is currently one of the most robust in the United States. Utah has been blessed with many new jobs and opportunities. Utah has a 3.2% unemployment rate, which is one of the lowest in the nation. Any willing and able-bodied person who wants to have a job should have a job in this environment.
Some in this State want to address the immigration issues facing our nation through state action or legislation. While we agree something must be done to address the immigration issues affecting our nation, we believe this is an issue best addressed at the federal level. Many laws enacted by other neighboring states have had an adverse economic effect on their states’ economies. This has not changed the state of immigration in the United States but has negatively impacted the states which have adopted this patchwork approach.
Utah was founded by early pioneers looking for a better opportunity for themselves and their families. Nothing is more American or natural than sacrificing for one’s children and family and working hard for it. We cannot overlook those who are out of compliance with our laws as we address this important issue; however, we must also recognize the human impact of our decisions.
I am pleased by our community’s religious leaders recently reminding us that our decisions affect people. Our decisions will have a direct effect on some and an indirect effect on all. I am encouraged our Presidential candidates are talking about immigration and possible solutions. Taking the time necessary to study the proposals through an interim study may be the best action. This will give us time to hear from our new administration and President.
by Senator Ross Romero
The 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: http://www.deq.utah.gov/cleanutah/
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: http://www.deq.utah.gov/Pollution_Prevention/p2_association.htm
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.
by Senator Ross Romero
Senate District 7
I am writing to address the problems of obesity and to offer some solutions. Nearly 2/3 of the American population is overweight or obese, and physical inactivity is responsible for an estimated 200,000 deaths per year. I contend some of the solutions to obesity lie with community planners in designing communities which are walkable, have trail opportunities, bike lanes, parks, schools and retail space. There are other solutions which require parents and other community participants. Parents and lawmakers can insist on having healthy snack alternatives in vending machines in our schools, encourage walking to and from school and talking with our youth about why it is important to eat healthy. Just as we condition our children to buckle their seatbelts when they first get into the car, we should be encouraging our children to think about eating more healthy and spending some time during the day exercising.
I was reminded about the importance of developing an active living community when I recently participated in the Salt Lake County tour which included visiting the Daybreak community. The Daybreak community is a good example of integrating healthy living and exercise into the development of a community. I would encourage you to consider looking at opportunities to add your voice to creating more active living places to work and live as the Daybreak community has done.
Finally, I encourage you to review the website www.activeliving.org. This website was brought to my attention as a state legislator, and I thought it was worth passing on to encourage further discussion about how to make our communities more active and healthy.
“In 2006, Ross Romero became the first elected Hispanic state senator in Utah since the late Pete Suazo was elected in 1996….He is one of the first minority lawyers to become a shareholder at a major Utah firm.”
Congratulations to Sen. Romero. Click here to see the profile.
by Senator Ross Romero
Senate District 7
I am writing on the heels of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart. While I firmly believe that the life and health of the mother should be considered in the analysis of the very difficult decision of an abortion, I believe we are missing an opportunity to have a broader, more important discussion which is the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.
I recently became reacquainted with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (www.teenpregnancy.org) whose mission is to assist young women in avoiding getting pregnant. This, of course, requires a discussion not only in teaching abstinence as a preferred form of unwanted pregnancies but also having a responsible discussion centered around using protection when teens become sexually active. My understanding is most teens begin to engage in sexual activity at age 14. Therefore, it is incumbent on parents to have discussions with their kids about abstinence and also protection issues before this age. Unwanted pregnancies have a tremendous impact on an individual’s opportunities in life and socioeconomic status.
It is important to note that teen pregnancy is 100% preventable. When one in three teens becomes pregnant by the age of 20 and teen childbearing costs tax payers at least $9.1 billion annually, this is an issue that affects us all and our communities. I believe we need to be more diligent in encouraging sex education discussions by parents with their teens and the responsible use of protection to continue to decrease unwanted pregnancies.
Finally, I want to encourage parents to take away from this discussion having their teens, and especially young women participate in athletics in junior high and high school. As I understand it, most pregnancies occur between the hours of 3:30 and 6:00 p.m. when our youth are left without adult supervision. If our youth and particularly our young women are engaged in organized athletic activities, they build self-esteem, have the friendship of peers, set goals and delay being sexually active.