General Session 2022: Week 1 Update
I hope this newsletter finds you and your family healthy and doing well. This week marked the first week of the 2022 General Legislative Session. Throughout the session I’ll be sending you weekly updates on legislation I’m working on, policy discussions, and important information throughout the session. With this being the first week, I wanted to report back to you on the things I’ve been working on:
Legislation to End the Mask Mandate in Salt Lake & Summit Counties & Salt Lake City
As the house sponsor of S.J.R.3, I ran the resolution to end the mask mandates in Salt Lake County, Summit County and Salt Lake City. This decision was not made lightly, as my colleagues
and I considered conflicting principles of local government control, individual freedoms, and personal responsibility, weighing them out and considering the implications of this decision. Ultimately, cities and counties are political subdivisions of the state, and these mandates had an impact that went beyond those of the city and counties who had issued them. Overturning these government mandates returned the decision-making power back to individuals. At this point in the pandemic, mandates like these have caused more polarization, increased public distrust, and accelerated the ever-increasing burnout people are feeling from pandemic restrictions.
Voting to remove this mandate, does not remove an individual’s ability to wear a mask. If you would like to, you should wear one.
One of the comments made during the floor debate was that we needed these mandates in place to help people be kinder. This is not the case. Government cannot mandate kindness or compassion. If we think as legislators, we’re going to mandate people caring, we’re kidding ourselves. Families, education, churches, non-governmental entities, values, teach us to love one another, not government mandates. I hope that we each do our best to give kindness and compassion, and exercise personal responsibility.
You can hear the full floor debate here.
Appropriations & The Social Services Subcommittee
Although it doesn't always get attention, one of the most important things that we do during the session is the state budget. During the first few weeks of the session, we spend a lot of time in appropriations committee meetings. In these meetings, we review agency budget priorities, funding requests, programs we can improve, and ways we can cut spending. I serve on the Social Services Appropriations Committee, and we oversee a budget of $7.9 billion (this includes federal funds). We have met every day this week, and will be meeting again next week. You can listen along here.
You can learn more about the budget, revenue sources, program performance measures, budget priorities, etc. at https://cobi.utah.gov/2022/1/overview.
Legislation I’m Working On
Below are some of the bills I’m working on, I’ll be highlighting different bills in my weekly newsletters as they move through the process.
HB0090 - Transparency in Lobbying and Disclosures Amendments: Right now, in state code, there is a loophole that allows individuals to lobby on behalf of a foreign government without having to register with the state as a lobbyist; this bill closes that loophole. Additionally, it requires statewide elected officials and legislators to disclose gifts, and or travel expenses that are paid for by a foreign government. This will be in the House Government Operations Committee this week for review.
HB0210 - Primary Care Spending Amendments
Closing Utah’s Confucius Institutes
Birth Certificate Amendments
Domestic Violence Modifications
Veteran Property Tax Amendments
Policy Pillars for the 2022 General Session
The Utah House Majority Caucus identified five policy areas to serve as pillars to frame the 2022 Legislative Session. I am excited to debate these important issues over the next 45 days as we practice a forward-thinking, principled, and collaborative approach to public policy.
Maintaining the Utah Way
Take my Survey
I want to hear from you! Please take my 2022 Legislative Survey. It should only take 5-10 minutes and will be well worth your time. You can take the survey here.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you. Please feel free to reach out by emailing email@example.com.