2023 Legislative Wrap Up: My Legislation
Newsletter sent on March 6, 2023
Dear Constituents, I hope this email finds you and your family doing well. Over the last seven weeks, my colleagues and I have passed meaningful legislation that will greatly benefit every member of our district. I am deeply honored for the privilege I have to represent each of you. Thank you to those of you who attended my townhalls on Saturday! It was a pleasure to chat with so many of you about issues important to our district and state. I wanted to give you a full report on what we accomplished during the 2023 General Session. Investment, Stewardship and Affordability At the start of this legislative session, as a Majority Caucus, we set out to pass significant legislation that would safeguard our natural resources, keep Utah affordable, and invest in our future. I am proud to say we accomplished all three of these goals. We passed 575 bills, so many of which will make a meaningful difference for Utahns. While we addressed water, energy, land management, government overreach, housing, school safety, transportation, and so many other important issues, I wanted to highlight the important work we did to tackle the issue of affordability and education in our state:
AFFORDABILITY & TAX CUTS
Reduced the income tax rate from 4.85% to 4.65%
Expanded the social security tax credit eligibility to households earning up to $75,000/ year.
Implemented a double dependent exemption for families: You can now claim your child as a dependent when you are pregnant, rather than waiting until after their birth.
Increased the State Earned Income Tax Credit from 15% to 20%.
Removed the state portion of the sales tax on food, contingent on the passage of the constitutional amendment to remove the income tax earmark.
Implemented a Childcare Tax Credit for families with children ages 1-3.
Created a new first-time home buyer assistance program (SB 240).
INVESTMENTS & EDUCATION
Increased teacher compensation by $6,000, teachers will start seeing the new pay increase this fall.
Tied teacher salary raises to the WPU value growth and inflation increases
Provides additional paid professional hours for teachers
Created the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program to allow parents to apply for a scholarship for alternative learning options for their students (micro school, homeschool, private school tuition, etc.)
Expanded access to optional full-day kindergarten across the state.
Increased state funding for education by $915 million.
HB43- Domestic Violence Modifications: PASSED This bill creates the Domestic Violence Data Task Force and pulls all the stakeholders together for a formalized effort to coordinate local and state efforts to address domestic violence in Utah. HB 161 Foreign Language Education Funding Amendments: PASSED This bill prohibits education entities from taking funding from restricted foreign entities (like China) and fully funds the state's Dual Language Immersion and Bridge Program. HB 163 Protecting Student Religious and Moral Beliefs Regarding Athletic Uniform Requirements: PASSED This bill protects students' religious freedom by empowering them to wear religious clothing and headware while participating in athletics. HB 163 also allows students to modify a uniform for personal standards of modesty. You can read the Deseret News' most recent coverage of the bill here. HB 186 Stand Land Purchase Restrictions: PASSED & SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR This bill prohibits restricted foreign entities, like China and their proxy military companies, from making any land purchases in Utah. HB 215 Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Opportunities: PASSED & SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR This bill does two important things:
Gives $6,000 directly to teachers in a compensation increase
Empowers parents with more options for their child’s educational experience by creating the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program. This program is prioritized for students based on need, but available to all Utah students.
HB 378: Fireworks Amendments: PASSED & SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR This bill allows Utahns to light off fireworks on New Years Day from 11am-11pm, to ring in the new year. Current law only allows fireworks to be lit off on New Year's Eve. HB 429 Pregnant and Postpartum Inmate Amendments: PASSED & SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR This bill prohibits all correctional facilities in Utah (the prison and jails) from shackling pregnant incarcerated women in their final trimester of pregnancy. HB 429 also created the Correctional Postnatal and Early Childhood Advisory Board to review additional programs to address the needs of incarcerated pregnant women. H.B. 511 Crime Victim Identification Amendments: PASSED & SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR HB 511 protects the privacy and safety of victims who are minors, and their families. This bill directs law enforcement entities not to release the names of victims who are minors without consent of their parent or guardian to the media. While this is a best practice for many of our law enforcement entities, this should be standard across the state. For a full list of legislation I've worked on, you can visit here.
DEFENDER OF LIBERTY & LEGISLATOR OF THE MONTH I was honored to be recognized by the American Legislative Exchange Council as their Legislator of the Month for February. You can read their announcement of the award here. I also appreciated being named by Libertas Institute as a Defender of Liberty for the 2023 legislative session. I'm committed to continuing to advocate for conservative principles and free-market solutions.
Though this year’s legislative session has come to an end, I will continue to serve you all year long and look forward to sending you regular updates. Thank you for the opportunity to serve our district! Please feel free to email me with any concerns or questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your home address so I know you live in my district! Sincerely, Candice B. Pierucci State Representative for House District 49
For a full review of what we passed this session to address water, energy, land management, affordability, education, school safety, and transportation, you can download the End of Session Full Report.