2015 Legislative Session – Week 6

This legislative session has been one of the busiest, both on and off “the hill.” One thing that I have done differently this year was holding two separate town hall meetings. The first meeting was held in Kearns at the Eddie P. Mayne Senior Center. This location is near and dear to my heart and has been consistently a great venue for my town hall meetings. We had over 50 people attend the Saturday morning meeting. Several special guests attended, including Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, who came to speak about Senate Bill 199, which deals with the state of townships in Salt Lake County and their role in the future. I am carrying this bill to make sure that the residents in these townships have a voice in how they are governed and the way they move forward. Representative Hutchings also came and spoke about House Bill 348, which is his bill regarding criminal justice reform. This is a great bill in helping modernize our justice system to save money long-term and provide better rehabilitation services for those who are incarcerated.

The following week I held my second town hall meeting at the West Valley City Hall. It was also well attended. We were visited by West Valley Mayor Ron Bigelow and several members of the city council. Also attending were representatives from the West Valley City Police and Fire Departments. It was a great meeting as we were able to thoroughly discuss many issues related to the city and how we can make our communities better. One issue that kept coming up was law enforcement. We were able to discuss several of the changes, such as the use of body cameras on our officers.

Rep. Eric Hutchings speaking on criminal justice reform

Rep. Eric Hutchings speaking on criminal justice reform

I appreciate all of those that were able to come to these two meetings to share their concerns and to have their voices heard. It’s through this involvement that we can work together to make our communities and state better. I also appreciate all of the elected officials and representatives of the different agencies that came to speak and answer questions.

On the Hill

This session I have been busy carrying several large pieces of legislation that deal with several topics. With one week left I have passed five bills with nearly ten more in the process. Some of the bills that I have passed include:

  • SB 121 – Procurement Code Revisions
    • In the state procurement code for job biddings, worksite safety programs can now be part of the process for bid evaluation.
  • SB 135 – Workers Compensation Coverage for Firefighters
    • Extends Workers Compensation coverage for certain cancers that are associated with firefighting.
  • SCR 8 – Resolution Regarding Transportation for Persons with Disabilities
    • Encourages UTA to seek and use information regarding how to improve their transportation services for those with disabilities.

Some bills that I am currently working on include:

  • SB 199 – Local Government Revisions
    • Provides the opportunity for townships in Salt Lake County to self determine whether they want to incorporate, become a more autonomous township, or be annexed by a neighboring city.
  • SB 272 – Payment of Wages Amendments
    • Outlines the methods how an employer must give an employee his paycheck after termination.
  • SJR 15 – Joint Resolution Encouraging Utah Workers Be Employed in the Prison Relocation Efforts
    • Encourages the state to choose companies that are either based in Utah or employ a majority of its workers in Utah.

There have also been many important bills this session, many of which have been in the news. One important bill is SB 164, which is essentially the Governor’s “Healthy Utah Plan.” The majority of senators and I passed this bill out of the Senate, but it has been met with resistance in the House. SB 296 is another important bill, which was passed out of committee today. This bill is the statewide anti-discrimination/religious freedoms bill. We are also hearing several other large bills dealing with transportation funding and how we can improve our infrastructure. We have one more week left, so stay tuned, because these are all important pieces of legislation.

It has been a very busy session and I have appreciated your support and comments. Through my survey, your emails, and many other forms of communication I have been able to be informed in representing you. Thank you.

Karen

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