As we are wrapping up another week of the General Legislative Session, I would like to share some highlights. This week the appropriations committees finished hearing presentations for funding requests. We will now deliberate and make final recommendations to the executive committee next week. A particularly meaningful bill for me was House Bill 23 (HB23), First Responder Mental Health Amendments, which provides $5 million in funding to mental health services for first responders. Our first responders bounce from traffic accidents to domestic violence calls, home fires, and more, then to help someone unlock a car to retrieve their keys they (This may or may not have happened to me on occasion). This takes a tremendous toll on our first responders. They carry the stress of everyone’s worst day from incident to incident. It is a lot to bear. This is a small portion of the debt of gratitude we owe these heroes.
Water Projects and ARPA Funds
With an ever-increasing demand on a diminishing water supply, action to conserve, optimize, & preserve our water is more critical than ever. For the past year, a working group of water experts and policymakers has been meeting to determine how best to use the state’s federal ARPA funds to address our water needs.
This week, the group presented how they recommend the funds be used, including:
- Secondary water metering
- Drinking water infrastructure
- Ag water optimization
- Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake preservation
Black History Month
February is Black History month when we take time to learn and reflect on the history of Black Americans and their remarkable contributions to our country and our communities. I think it’s a great reminder for all Utahns to take time to appreciate the cultural differences between those who call Utah home and those who come from across the world to visit our great state.
Each year, we are grateful for the opportunity to honor the families of Utah’s fallen officers who died while serving their state and community. We express the utmost gratitude to the five fallen officers and their families for their service and sacrifices.
The Federal Government spent over $5 trillion in stimulus money in 2020 and 2021! The excess of revenue in our state budget this year is a direct result of federal spending. Additionally, these funds increase inflation and tax revenue.
Clean Air Caucus
The Utah Legislature’s bipartisan Clean Air Caucus held a press conference this week to discuss upcoming legislation and appropriation requests. Utah faces unique challenges with air quality including health concerns associated with air pollution and the impact it has on our economic development. Click here to learn more.
Arts and Culture
This week, the Utah Cultural Alliance held a press conference with the Legislature to recognize the economic impact of the arts in our state. In 2020, Utah’s cultural industry generated $17.8 billion in total sales and supported an estimated 108,560 jobs. The Legislature is committed to investing in the arts and culture where Utahns can gather statewide to make memories and experience the magic of the industry.
Polling Data for 2022 Legislative Session
Earlier this year, Speaker Brad Wilson contracted with Dan Jones and Associates to gather data on current issues and potential legislation. A statistically significant group of Utahns from across the state with varying ages, genders, political leanings and backgrounds were polled. This information provides us a clearer insight into the public sentiment on some big issues and will allow us to better represent our constituents and the people of Utah. Click here to view the results.
Check out this week’s podcast about HB 23, First Responder Mental Health Services Amendments, with Representative Wilcox as we discuss the ever-increasing need to provide first responders with mental health resources. Listen today on Spotify or Apple Podcasts!
Please continue reaching out, I appreciate hearing from you. Utah’s residents are what make the state so special.
Representative Doug Welton
Utah House District 67
Bills Passed This Week
(As of Friday Morning)