Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are over half way through the 2021 Legislative Session. There are fewer subcommittee meetings now but voting on the House floor is ramping up. Over 90 bills have passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor. Hundreds more will be passed in the coming weeks. Here is a sample of things that are happening:
It was a special privilege to have Sarah Frei and her parents join us on the Senate floor this week as we voted to pass HB 20 Driving Under the Influence Sentencing Amendments, nicknamed “Sarah’s Bill.” Last summer, Sarah and three of her friends were hit head-on by a drunk driver, paralyzing Sarah from the waist down and resulting in the loss of her legs. The drunk driver had a blood-alcohol level four times higher than the legal limit but was released on bail while still under the influence. HB 20 would deny bail to drunk drivers who injured or killed someone until they have gone before a magistrate (civil officer or judge).
Governor Cox and Lieutenant Governor Henderson announced their goal to have all adult Utahns receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May. In tackling this goal, there is a large need for willing and able volunteers. Click here to see if you qualify and sign up to volunteer!
I held a Town Hall with Senator McKell and Representative Burton via Zoom. It was well attended and there were some great questions. If you missed it and would like to watch the recording click here. We were able to discuss several pertinent issues concerning Utah county.
House Policy Priorities
This week the House Health and Human Services Committee passed HB 288 Education and Mental Health Coordinating Council. This bill creates a new council of educators, mental and behavioral health experts as well as advocates to advise the Governor and the Legislature. The council will provide action-oriented guidance to state leaders on how to meet the behavioral and mental health needs of children and families in our state.
Several bills are making their way through the legislative process that will provide tax relief for many Utahns. Last week, HB 86 Social Security Amendments passed the House unanimously and if passed by the Senate, will benefit many living on a fixed income. Additionally, HB 161 Military Retirement Tax Amendments passed the House this week, which removes the tax on military retirement, benefiting those who served our country. Finally, a bill is in the works to help restore the child dependent exemption.
HB 82 Single Family Housing Amendments passed out of the House Business and Labor Committee this week. This bill helps increase housing availability and relieve pressure on prices by decreasing housing regulations.
Podcast - Economic Development Incentives
Utah's economic growth has been incredible these last few decades, that growth and economic strength are far from reaching their peak. Representative Hawkes joins us on the show this week to talk about more ways Utah is staging itself to be the country's economic leader. Listen here!
Chris Stewart Visits Caucus
Each session, we look forward to visiting with our congressional delegation. This week, Congressman Chris Stewart visited the House Majority Caucus. We discussed his role in D.C. and how we can best support one another in fulfilling our duties to represent the people of Utah.
Displaying the Flag
The U.S. Flag Code is the governing document that provides official guidance on all things to do with the American Flag, including the manner of display and instructions on how the flag is not to be used. The code does not contain any penalties for being out of compliance, but there are a couple of basics that are good to know and follow.
- The flag must always be displayed to its own right. (In your office If it is behind your desk, it should be to your right, if it is in front of your desk, the flag should be to your left.)
- When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union (blue field of stars) should be in the upper right corner (to the observer’s left).
- The flag should always be falling free, don’t fasten or tie it back.
- When displaying flags with crossed staves, the flag should be to its own right (observer’s left) and crossed in front of the other flag’s staff.
As a note - if you have a flag that needs to be retired, please contact your local veteran’s organizations (like the American Legion) as they often have official flag retirement ceremonies.
Representative Doug Welton
House District 67
Bills Passed This Week
H.B. 26 24-7 Sobriety Program Expansion
H.B. 55 Marriage Commission Amendments
H.B. 58 Riot Amendments
H.B. 59 Intimate Image Distribution Prohibition Revisions
H.B. 64 Factual Innocence Payments Amendments
H.B. 65 Wildland Fire Amendments
H.B. 83 Migratory Bird Production Area Amendments
H.B. 84 Use of Force Reporting Requirements
H.B. 87 Electronic Information and Data Privacy Amendments
H.B. 95 Prison Rape Elimination Act Compliance
H.B. 103 Retaliation and Obstruction of Justice Amendments
H.B. 107 Subdivision Plat Amendments
H.B. 109 Wildlife Amendments
H.B. 136 Initiative and Referenda Modifications
H.B. 137 Large Vehicle Registration Amendments
H.B. 147 Revenge Porn Amendments
H.B. 155 Civil Commitment Amendments
H.B. 158 Juvenile Interrogation Amendments
H.B. 159 Higher Education Speech
H.B. 161 Military Retirement Tax Amendments
H.B. 162 Peace Officer Training Amendments
H.B. 170 Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice Requirements
H.B. 172 Facility of Payment to Minor Amendments
H.B. 175 Risk Management Settlement Authority Amendments
H.B. 178 Pharmacy Practice Modifications
H.B. 185 Laboratory Equipment Amendments
H.B. 186 Criminal Nonsupport Amendments
H.B. 188 State Stone Designation
H.B. 190 Interstate Compact on Curing Diseases
H.B. 191 Adoption Amendments
H.B. 193 Intimate Image Distribution Prohibition
H.B. 211 Initiatives and Referenda Amendments
H.B. 226 Long-term Care Patient and Consumer Rights Protection
H.B. 228 Jail Photo Distribution Prohibition
H.B. 238 Marriage Amendments
H.B. 239 Online Impersonation Prohibition
H.B. 241 Utah Seeds Amendments
H.B. 244 First Class County Highway Road Funds Amendments
H.B. 252 State Pay Plan Amendments
H.B. 278 Name Change Process for Dixie State University
H.C.R. 8 Concurrent Resolution on Education
H.C.R. 12 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Cooperative Action Regarding National Monuments
S.B. 13 Law Enforcement Internal Investigation Requirements
S.B. 32 Employee Status Amendments
S.B. 38 K-9 Policy Requirements
S.B. 41 Mental Health Access Amendments
S.B. 57 Executive Residence Commission Amendments
S.B. 60 Accident Reports Amendments
S.B. 64 Domestic Violence Amendments
S.B. 69 Accident Report Amendments
S.B. 72 Open and Public Meetings Amendments
S.B. 87 Professional Licensing Amendments
S.B. 101 Motor Vehicle Amendments
S.C.R. 1 Concurrent Resolution on Holocaust Education
S.J.R. 5 Joint Rules Resolution -- Legislation Amendments
S.J.R. 6 Joint Rules Resolution - Concurrent and Joint Resolution Modifications
S.J.R. 7 Joint Resolution Approving EnergySolutions Constructing and Operating a Landfill for Nonhazardous Solid Waste