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  • Writer's pictureRep. Candice Pierucci

Week 7 Legislative Update: Final Week of the Legislative Session!

Dear Constituents, Friends, and Neighbors,


I hope this email finds you and your family doing well! The legislature adjourned last Friday at midnight and closed out another successful legislative session. It was great to see so many of you at Caucus night and at my town hall this week. I wanted to follow-up with a final report on the last week of the legislative session.


First, I firmly believe that Utahns deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money in their own pockets, which is why I have continuously advocated for and voted to reduce taxes. This year, we passed a nearly $170 million tax cut, building upon the $1.3 billion in tax relief we have passed over the last four years. Over time, these sustained, incremental tax cuts have made a real difference for Utah families. You can learn more about this year’s tax reduction here.


Bills that I sponsored and passed this session:


This bill prohibits state agencies from purchasing technology from companies owned by the Chinese Communist Party, or headquartered in China, Russia, North Korea, or Iran. This legislation received national attention when Lenovo hired a lobbyist at the eleventh hour to try to carve themselves out of the bill. I appreciated President Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Ambassador Robert O’Brien, weighing in on the issue, encouraging the Senate to pass the bill, and highlighting Utah’s efforts to “lead the way” on major national security issues.


This bill works to address the transit needs of high growth communities, like Herriman and Riverton. HB 430 created the Public Transit Innovation Grant, using existing revenues going to UTA, for cities to propose and fund bus lines, shuttles, etc. to meet strategic transit needs in their community. In addition, it requires UTA to report back on tax revenues collected regionally for public transit, ridership data, and how their services are being utilized by residents.  


This bill creates the MASTER teacher grant program to try to empower fantastic teachers to stay in the classroom to keep teaching, while also giving them the opportunity to make more money and grow professionally. It also requires that LEAs provide at minimum, three weeks of maternity leave.


This bill prohibits companies that are majority-owned and/or headquartered in China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from purchasing or owning land in Utah. Over 40k acres of Utah’s land is owned by Chinese-based companies and unfortunately, Utah ranks fourth highest in the nation for agricultural lands held by Chinese-based companies.  This bill was critical in safeguarding our national security interests, military installations, and property in our state.


HB 529: Utah Fits All Scholarship Program

This bill clarified that children of military service members stationed in Utah are eligible to apply for the Utah Fits All Scholarship program. In addition, the bill made clean up changes necessary for the program to take off this year.


HB 82: Public Education Program Modifications

This bill addressed many of the changes requested by the Utah State Board of Education in code.


HB 358: Pregnant and Postpartum Inmate Amendments

This bill added a representative from the Utah Sheriffs’ Association to the Correctional Postnatal and Early Childhood Advisory Board. In addition, it prohibited the state prison from having a nursery for babies and instead directs the Department of Corrections to direct eligible incarcerated and pregnant women to diversion programs.



Some of the major policies we passed this session I wanted to highlight:


EDUCATION


  • We increased the WPU Value (state-per-pupil funding) by 5% and allocated an additional $211.7 Million for the increase in WPU funding.

  • HB 261: Ended DEI programs in K-12 and at the university level and replaced them with student success centers with resources available to all students.

  • HB 221: Currently, student teachers have to pay their tuition and take an unpaid teaching position for a year to complete their teaching degree, this bill created the Future Educators Grant Program to provide a stipend for student teachers.

  • HB 286, HB 438: Ensured institutions of higher education cultivate a free marketplace of ideas while preparing students to be workforce-ready and civic-minded.

  • HB 84: This bill addressed school safety and improves training, communication, infrastructure, and response rates to better protect students, teachers, and other staff in the event of an emergency.


PUBLIC SAFETY


  • HB 68 & HB 69: Targeted drug distributors and repeat criminal offenders to deter crime.

  • HB 252, HB 356, HB 200, HB 213: Strengthened accountability in the criminal justice system to promote public safety.

  • HB 271 & SB 109: Improved safety and security at state correctional facilities.


ENERGY & LAND STEWARDSHIP


  • HB 48, HB 124, 191, 241, 374: Protected Utah’s ability to produce reliable, dispatchable, and affordable energy.

  • HB 353 & 373: Streamlined the permitting process for mining to provide faster response times to operators and greater regulatory clarity.

  • HB 502: Ensured critical infrastructure materials operations will be able to meet future demand.

  • HB 262 & SB 57: Pushed back on federal overreach and put Utah at the forefront of land management decisions.


WATER


  • HB 280 & SB 211: Planned for long-term stability of Utah’s water infrastructure. Similar to how UDOT has a rolling transportation projects list, Utah will now have a rolling list of water infrastructure projects that need addressed, rather than just appropriating funds in times of emergency or dire need to our dams and reservoirs.


For a detailed summary of the $29.4 billion budget we passed, you can review the final budget summary here.


Utah Fits All Scholarship Program Application is Open!

The application for the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program opened on February 28th and so far, has already received over 6,000 applications. The application is still open, you can apply here!

 

Interim Process

Though our 45-day Legislative session may be over, our work is not. As a Legislature, we will spend the next 10 months’ meeting in our committees, learning about the pressing needs of the state, and preparing for next year’s session. Our first interim meetings of 2024 will take place this coming May. I serve as the House Chair of the Interim Education Committee, and serve on the Transportation, the Retirement and Independent Entities, and the Public Education Appropriations Committees. You are always welcome to follow along and participate at le.utah.gov.

 

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. I'm committed to continuing to advocate for common-sense, conservative principles and free-market solutions. Thank you for the opportunity to serve our district! Please feel free to email me with any concerns or questions you have at cpierucci@le.utah.gov. 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






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