Rep Craig Hall and needed campaign finance reforms

Representative Craig Hall had a couple of great bills this year. One of them was HB246, officially titled “Government Ethics Revision,” which dealt with reporting deadlines and lobbyists. Whether through deliberate intentions, neglect or ignorance, some candidates were not filing reports on time – and there were no consequences. Representative Hall, an advocate for ethics, openness and transparency, ran a bill to close that loophole.

HB414 – Has the Legislature Overcompensated on Subpoenas?

And the John Swallow fallout continues. We all (well, perhaps not all) sympathized with the legislature’s frustration over John Swallow’s and payday lenders’ refusal to comply with subpoenas issued by the House Special Investigative Committee.  The enforceability of the subpoenas was litigated repeatedly and unnecessarily, resulting in significant additional costs to the people of Utah in order to discover information that should have been quickly and completely disclosed. In a legislative response to that frustration (wouldn’t be it be nice to legislatively respond to your personal frustrations?), Utah’s legislators enacted…

Top Ten Tips for Emailing Legislators

Eight days are left in the 2014 legislative session and legislators are getting swamped. Here are a few tips to help your voice be heard as you contact your legislators. 1. Make your subject line as descriptive as possible. “Vote NO” is not actually descriptive. “Please vote yes on HB105, the plant extract bill” is better. 🙂 2. In addition to the bill number, include either the title or a description of the bill. With hundreds of bills to track, it’s hard to identify them by just a number. 3.…

SB216 Cheats Unincorporated Salt Lake County

I could tell you that cheaters never prosper, but if you know anything about how legislation is passed, you know that’s a steaming pile of manure. With only fifteen days left in the Utah legislative session, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is making a last minute push to pass legislation, introduced only last week (SB216, introduced by Democratic Senator Karen Mayne), that will lock unincorporated Salt Lake County from any further incorporations. Because the legislation is retroactive to January 1, 2014, locking out incorporations taken before the legislation passes, it…

Dear Parents, You’re Welcome. Sincerely, The Legislature

Dear Parents, We want you to be able to make informed decisions on the school your child attends.  But we know you are not very bright.  We know you cannot comprehend multiple factors; that you need it really, really simple.  So we have something for you.  It’s the high fashion of school reform, the ultimate silver bullet, and requires absolutely no financial commitment from the Legislature!  You’ll love it because we love it!

John Swallow and massive data recovery

The House investigative committee met again to discuss potential legislation resulting from the Swallow investigation. They discussed several different bills (including one that beefs up the section of code that deals with organized crime!!) but one of the most important bits of information came at the end of the meeting. Chairman Jim Dunnigan spoke to committee members and notified them that there was a significant amount of additional data that had just been recovered. If you remember, out of all the devices that John Swallow had been using, only one…

15 Parents, 40 Hours, and 10,000 Test Questions – Was It Good Enough? Will It Ever Be? [Utah Moms Care]

This session Rep. Kennedy has a bill, HB 81, which will allow any parent to review standardized test questions prior to the exams being administered under specific circumstances.  There is a lot of concern about this compromising the validity of the test, which would cost the state millions of dollars.  But Kennedy maintains that parental review can happen, and that it is needed to ease concerns about the tests containing any agenda.  In 2012 Rep. Hughes carried HB15, which created a 15 parent member committee which was appointed by the Senate President, Speaker of the…

HB277 Music Therapy Licensing

And the award for the most meaningless licensing bill of 2014 goes to . . . HB277, which would create a non-mandatory, unnecessary, and duplicative state “certification” for music therapy.  In this case non-mandatory and unnecessary means that you don’t need the state certification to practice music therapy.  Duplicative means that all the state does is confer the “State Certified” title on a music therapist if the therapist is already certified by a third party, such as the Certification Board for Music Therapists. I believe the intentions behind this bill are…