The 2015 General Session of the Utah State Legislature began on Monday, January 26. Only 4 days left! The Session ends Thursday night. Thank you so much for all of your support. It is truly an honor to represent the great residents of District 33. Just a few highlights from Week 6:
Events at the Capitol
- Rallies at the Capitol
One of the great things about the Session is all of the buzz at the Capitol. It is wonderful to see so many groups so passionate about issues that are important to them. Regardless of what side you are on, it is great to see a forum where concerned citizens can express their views.
- Visit from the Utah Museum Association
We have so many great museums in the State. On Monday, several of them visited to the Capitol. Thanks for coming and reminding us how important these museums are within the State.
- Visit from Mayor Ron Bigelow
Thanks to Mayor Bigelow for visiting the Capitol this week. It was great to run into him. I make it a point to work together with West Valley City leaders to help make our West Valley a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
Of course, you can always watch the new reports. But the best way to track any legislation is at the Legislature’s website at http://le.utah.gov. Here are a few of the more interesting bills that were discussed this last week:
- The debate continues over state school board elections, with three bills addressing on the issue advancing and two failing over the past two days. [DNews] [KUER]
- Prison reform is on the way, according to a new bill overwhelmingly passed by the House that would increase funding for treatment programs and lower some criminal penalties. [Trib] [DNews]
- Lawmakers approved a new bill that would create a pilot program to allow educators to teach year round instead of being unemployed in the summer. [Trib]
- The anti-discrimination and religious liberties bill, SB296, which was endorsed by the LGBT community and the LDS Church, made its first step toward becoming law yesterday as it was unanimously endorsed by a Senate committee after an emotional debate. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [ABC4]
- The Utah House voted against the Governor’s Healthy Utah plan and voted for a scaled-down alternative to cover those within the medicaid coverage gap. [Trib]
- Minors caught with drugs may have more helpful options than just getting their driver’s licenses revoked, according to a new bill passed in a Senate committee. [DNews]
- The House passed a bill regarding “cow sharing,” which would allow farmers to share their cows’ raw milk. [Trib]
- A Senate committee gave preliminary approval to an initiative yesterday that would give school counselors training to better prepare their students for college and careers. [DNews]
- A new House bill would significantly drop the court filing fee for parents trying to seek guardianship of their adult children with disabilities. [DNews]
- Provo band Neon Trees made a visit to the legislature. [Trib] Here’s a video: [Trib]
Rep. Hall’s Legislation
I have several bills this session, here are a few:
- HB81 – Local School Board Meetings Requirements – PASSED! – I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 48-25 in the House and 27-0 in the Senate.
This bill requires local school boards to have their school board meetings within their geographical districts.
I became aware over this last summer that a school board had an official meeting at Snowbird Ski Resort, miles away from their constituents. I believe school board meetings should be within the geographical boundaries of the district so constituents can easily participate. Two news reports – Here and here.
- HB20 – Jury Duty Amendments – PASSED! – I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 70-0 in the House and 28-0 in the Senate.
This is a follow-up from a bill that I passed in 2013. The goal of this bill is to make make sure that courts spread out jury service to as many people as possible. This will help prevent the situation where some get called for jury service every six months, while others go decades without getting called for jury duty. Passed 70-0 in the House and passed 28-0 in the Senate. Waiting for the Governor to sign.
- HB154 – Jury Duty Exemption Amendments – PASSED! – I am a co-sponsor of this bill. Passed 74-0 in the House and 24-1 in the Senate.
HB154 exempts a nursing mother from jury duty. There are some judges that already dismiss nursing mothers from jury duty. But there are others that do not. This bill would make it mandatory. Here’s a great story regarding the bill.
- HB120 – Modifications to Election Law – PASSED! – I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 66-4 in the House and 24-0 in the Senate.
As it stands now, each political candidate is required to file a financial disclosure statement on August 31. The next report is not due until a week before election day. The problem is that many voters receive their vote-by-mail ballot in early October. This bill changes the filing date from August 31 to September 30. That way, when vote-by-mail voters are voting, they have the most recent information from candidates, at the time when they are actually voting. This is a good bill which increases transparency by political candidates.
- HB93 – School District Amendments – I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed the House 56-8 and is awaiting action in the Senate.
HB93 protects communities from unfair school district splits. It basically prohibits cities from cherry-picking its best tax base and creating its own school district, leaving their less affluent neighbors high and dry. This bill will protect all families, students and taxpayers within District 33.
Here is a good news report regarding this bill: “In short, Hall is trying to take away the profit motive for splitting up a district and trying to avoid the creation of rich districts at the expense of poorer areas. . . . The plan will no doubt generate controversy, insomuch as any discussion of school district splits generate such discussions. But Hall should receive credit for approaching the issue from a different perspective that cuts to the core of education and education funding in the state.”
Here’s another news report on the bill:
- HB248 – Campaign Finance Reporting Revisions – PASSED! – I am the chief sponsor of this bill. Passed 53-15 in the House and 25-0 in the Senate.
This bill proposes a change to the fine structure when political candidates fail to report their campaign donations on time. The current structure excessively punishes late reporting for small contributions, compared to late reporting of large donations. This bill will fine late reporting for both small and large contributions at the same rate (15%).
Town Hall Meetings!
Thanks for all those who attending my Town Hall meetings throughout the session. Above is a photo of some of those who came to a town hall this last Saturday. I greatly appreciate all of your thoughts and opinions.
Please return your survey!
I have mailed a survey to constituents within District 33. The answers you provide to these survey questions are invaluable. Please, please, please fill it out and return! I am very interested in your perspectives. Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated.
If you didn’t receive a copy of the survey, or have lost yours, you can take the survey online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/
Thank you so much.
Visits to the Capitol
One of our State’s treasures is the State Capitol building. And visiting during the legislative session is the best time of year to visit. Lots of action happening every day. I would love to give your family / school group / church group / etc. a behind-the-scenes tour of the State Capitol. Give me a call/email and we’ll make it happen. Here’s a photo from constituents as they visited the Capitol this week:
Ways to Contact Representative Hall
I make a concerted effort to reach out to all of my constituents. For that reason, I use as many different forms of communication as possible. Most of you have received mail from me. I also have frequent town hall meetings (more on that below). You can follow me online at www.votecraighall.com. For even more frequent updates, you can follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/votecraighall and/or on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/hcraighall. You are also welcome to call my cell phone anytime. (801) 573-1774. I will be in many meetings throughout the legislative session, so if I don’t answer right away, feel free to leave me a message and I’ll try to call back as soon as possible. I will also be sending out regular updates via email. Probably the quickest way to get ahold of me is by email. My legislative email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your support. Contact me anytime.
Read all previous email newsletters here: http://bit.ly/YJCYy1
Representative Craig Hall
Legislative email: email@example.com
Personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell phone: (801) 573-1774