Dear Friends and Constituents,
Week five of our seven-week session provided some key developments and highlights. Here’s an overview of the bills and policies that were in focus.
The Utah Legislature has worked diligently to support families and businesses by reducing taxes by nearly $300 million over the last two years. To continue this important work, the Legislature is proposing an additional $400 million in tax cuts during this session.
H.B. 54 includes the following tax revisions:
- Reduces the income tax rate from 4.85% to 4.65%
- Increases the EITC from 15% to 20% of the federal credit
- Expands social security tax credit eligibility to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year
- Provides a tax benefit for pregnant women by allowing a double dependent exemption for children in the year of their birth
For more details, you can read the Tax Revisions bill here.
Addressing ESG in Utah
Environmental, social, and governance standards, commonly referred to as ESG, is a framework used by organizations where factors such as climate policies and workforce diversity are considered when investing.
Rightfully so, Utah has taken a strong stance against such practices. We are examining several pieces of legislation that will protect against investments being made based on subjective ESG standards, including the following:
- S.B. 96 Fiduciary Duty Modifications
- S.B. 97 Public Contract Requirements
- H.B. 281 Social Credit Score Amendments
- H.B. 449 Financial Services Requirements
Hosting the Winter Olympics
Utah was honored to host the Winter Olympics back in 2002 and we are committed to preparing for our next opportunity.
In addition to the Senate welcoming the U.S. Olympic Committee on the Senate floor to reaffirm our commitment, we unanimously passed bid-related legislation that demonstrates we are ready and willing to host the world again.
H.C.R. 8 enables the Utah Legislature and the governor to enter into a host site agreement with the International Olympic and Paralympic Committee. It also gives the Legislature oversight to review the contract before the governor signs the Olympic Host Agreement. In addition, H.B. 430 creates a committee of three senators and three representatives who would review the Olympic Host Agreement.
Teachers have gone above and beyond throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, overcoming challenges and adapting to new teaching methods and technologies to better serve their students.
H.J.R. 3 recognizes Utah's educators for their extraordinary efforts to teach students during this challenging time. They have remained dedicated to their students, demonstrating their commitment to educating the next generation of Utahns. They truly deserve our recognition and appreciation whenever possible.
Electing County Sheriffs
Utah has 29 elected sheriffs across the state, and they are the only law enforcement officers who must go through the election process.
H.J.R. 10 would put a question on the 2024 November ballot asking Utah voters if they would like to amend the constitution to protect the right to elect their local county sheriffs. It does not change the role or responsibilities of sheriffs. Instead, it ensures that sheriffs will remain democratically elected.
Read the resolution here.
I’m pleased to report that my bill regarding school grading modifications passed in the House. H.B. 308 would remove the requirement on the State Board of Education to use a letter grade to assign a school an overall rating.
HJR001 also passed, recognizing March 3, 2023 as National Speech and Debate Education Day. This gives us a special opportunity to highlight the skills and abilities students develop in speech and debate education and recognizes the contributions of their educators.
View all of the bills I’ve sponsored and learn more about each of them here.
Guests on the Hill
I had many wonderful visitors at the Capitol throughout the week, including the Salt Lake City Youth Council and a youth advocacy group from District 65. I also met with a youth-led advocacy and prevention group called OUTRAGE. Their important mission is to empower young people to fight back against tobacco, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drug misuse.
The Latinos in Action group from my school took a tour of the Capitol and had a chance to meet with Congressman Burgess Owens. Plus, my daughter paid a visit with her elementary school and gave me a very special opportunity to speak to her class.
Freedom Festival Speech Contest
I’d like to encourage my young constituents to participate in America's Freedom Festival Speech Contest. I am incredibly passionate about this program as I believe reading, studying, and engaging in discussion about the Constitution is imperative. This year’s theme is the First Amendment of the Constitution, giving students in grades 9-12 a chance to speak up for freedom. Register and upload your video by March 25, 2023.
As always, you can find even more details about the 2023 General Session by visiting https://le.utah.gov.
Thank you for your continued support as we continue to shape these important policies. If I can address any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Representative Doug Welton
Utah House District 65