We’ve reached the halfway mark of the legislative session! I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and I look forward to sharing these updates with you each week.
Remember, you can always track bills and follow the legislative process at https://le.utah.gov/. Here’s a look at some of the recent highlights and updates.
The appropriations subcommittees have concluded their reviews and approvals of agency budgets in addition to prioritizing wish lists for new funding. The Executive Appropriations Committee (EAC) will now serve as the final step to ensure the right amount is designated for both ongoing and one-time state funds. You can view the 2023 budget recommendations for each subcommittee here.
Election Security Bills
The integrity of our elections is more than a hot button issue. It is critical that voters feel confident every time they cast a ballot. With this in mind, election security was an important topic this week.
The Utah House voted unanimously to approve H.B. 269, requiring the Office of the Legislative Auditor General to conduct a biennial audit of elections and processes throughout the state, including regular primary elections and regular general elections.
Honoring Fallen First Responders
We had a special opportunity to honor the families of retired Logan City Fire Captain Brian Holbrook and Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Craig Ward, two first responders who lost their lives in the past year.
We also passed H.B. 332, a bill designed to create a scholarship program for children whose parent is killed in the line of duty. The Fallen Officer Memorial Scholarship Program would provide $3,500 per year, for up to four years, for tuition, fees and books.
I presented H.B. 73 Municipal Office Modifications to the Senate Government Operations Committee. This bill modifies provisions related to filling a vacancy in a municipal office. I also presented H.B. 183 Firefighter Retirement Revisions on the House floor alongside one of my constituents, Raquel Rodriguez.
A few of the other bills I’m sponsoring during this legislative session pertain to school grading modifications, law enforcement training and recruitment, and opioid dispensing requirements. View all of them and learn more here.
Guests on the Hill
Welcoming constituents to the Capitol is always the highlight of my week. I was happy to meet with Mayor Bill Wright and students from Mt Nebo Middle School. Plus, my debate students visited for a personal tour and had a chance to meet Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson, Speaker Brad Wilson, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson. I also met with Payson City and the Civilian Marksmanship Program to work on the development of a future state-of-the-art gun range.
As Utah continues to grow, housing prices have risen to unprecedented levels. This is an issue we’re aware of and dedicated to fixing. With assistance from the Utah Housing Affordability Commission, we’ve identified policies that reduce regulatory barriers at the local level, identify tools that facilitate market-based solutions to our housing shortage, and support options to increase housing in rural Utah.
Learn more about these policies below:
H.B. 406 Land Use, Development, and Management Act Modifications
H.B. 364 Housing Affordability Amendments
S.B. 174 Local Land Use and Development Revisions
Safe, Reliable, and Affordable Energy
Utah is home to some of the most safe, reliable, and affordable energy in the country. Our all-of-the-above energy policy is essential to our prosperity and I am committed to pushing back on the federal regulatory overreach that threatens it.
The following bills will safeguard Utah’s energy policy and I look forward to voting on them:
H.B. 389 Renewable Energy Amendments
H.B. 425 Energy Security Amendments
H.B. 426 Statewide Energy Policy Amendments
In closing, I’d like to express my gratitude for your support and engagement throughout this process. It is truly an honor to serve the constituents of Utah House District 65.
If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Representative Doug Welton