Dear Friends & Constituents,
The work continues with interim meetings, and believe it or not, we’re already preparing for the 2024 General Session.
As you may have seen, Utah was recently named the No. 1 best state overall for 2023 by U.S. News and World Report. This really underscores the important work we’re doing to make Utah an incredible place to be, and I’m so proud to call this place home.
Here’s a recap of the last few weeks. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
The first special session of the 65th Legislature focused on important matters, including flood mitigation, emergency response funding, firearm restrictions, and firefighter death benefits. These legislative actions are crucial in helping us care for communities and address challenges.
The following items passed unanimously in both the House and Senate:
H.J.R 101 Emergency Powers for Flood Mitigation & Infrastructure Rehabilitation
Because certain funds can only be accessed during a state of emergency, we needed to extend the Governor’s declaration to allow for additional emergency funding for flood mitigation and infrastructure rehabilitation. The state of emergency will now expire on August 15, 2023.
H.B. 1001 Emergency Response Funding
Transferred $40 million from the state emergency fund into state emergency management to ensure state agencies have the resources to address ongoing flooding. This will help address flooding avalanche control, slide mitigation, other emergency flood impacts, and snow removal cost overruns.
H.B. 1002 Restricted Persons Amendments
Allows an individual who is not a citizen to possess a firearm under state law if, in accordance with federal law, the individual possesses a valid hunting license or permit (or was admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes).
H.B. 1003 Firefighter Death Benefit Amendments
In an effort to show gratitude for our first responders, we needed to make an important correction to legislation designed to care for the family of a firefighter who has passed away. This increases the death benefits available to the surviving spouse of a firefighter enrolled in Tier 1 Firefighters' Retirement System - Division B, aligning this retirement system with the increase established in 2018.
During the 45-day legislative session, some items that don’t pass committee meetings are put on a master study list. Committee chairs then decide what to study during the rest of the year based on this list and input from members. Interim committees examine the issues, listen to expert and public opinions, and decide whether the legislation should be prioritized for future sessions. These meetings are open to the public on the third Wednesday of each month. You can join virtually or in person. Find more information about upcoming meetings and proposed study items here.
Thank you to everyone who attended the town hall I hosted last month with Rep. Whyte and Sen. McKell. It's always good to meet with all of you. We had great discussions on issues ranging from housing affordability to water, as well as education and corrections. I know I speak for all of us when I say we truly appreciate your feedback and ideas.
I had more opportunities to help with sandbagging in Santaquin and Payson over the last few weeks. I'm always impressed by the strength of our communities and their willingness to rally to help each another. Service and volunteerism are bedrock traits of strong communities and families. I’m always proud to be a part of these events!
Memorial Day Weekend provided us with time to honor and remember the heroes who gave their lives for this great country. We enjoyed the Santaquin Memorial Day breakfast and Payson Memorial Day service.
A Personal Note
My heart aches over the loss of my good friend, Raphael Millet. Raphael was active in his community. He was in the political scene serving as Republican Legislative Chair for our district and was also as an active member of the Kiwanis Club, providing service to his community for many years. Raphael was incredibly intelligent and kind, and I had the honor of teaching his four oldest kids.
If you’d like to support Susan during this trying time, donations can be provided directly to her through her Venmo, Susan-Millet-2. Contributions will go to assisting with the financial burden associated with the loss of Raphael.
Thank you in advance for your love and support.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Representative Doug Welton