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KEEPING HOUSE January 19, 2011

January 19, 2011

I am excited to begin another General Legislative Session. The Utah Legislature convenes for 2011 on Monday, January 24 and continues in session through March 10.

I appreciate the generosity of our local newspapers and information web sites in allowing me to publish these columns. I will write a column each week during the legislative session to keep my constituents informed of important news.

Inserted in today’s newspaper you will find a survey that Senator Kevin Van Tassell and I have created to help us gauge public opinion on several topics facing the legislature this year. If you desire, please complete the survey and mail it in, or send me an e-mail with your answers. I will share the results of the surveys in a future column.

Also, next week I am hosting two Legislative Open Houses to meet with constituents in person. They will be held Friday, January 28 at 7 p.m. at the Senior Citizens’ Center in Heber City and Saturday, January 29 at 2 p.m. at the Crossroads Senior Center in Roosevelt. Please attend and share your views with me.

In this column, I would like to briefly describe the 19 different bills that I have introduced for this session. I do not believe they will all pass this year, but I will try to give my constituents who support these bills a fair opportunity to persuade the legislature to adopt them.

Enterprise Zones:  This bill strengthens the state tax credits available to businesses in rural Utah for investing in equipment and employees.

School Supplies:  This proposed constitutional amendment would make it legal for teachers to invite students to bring their own supplies for use in the classroom.

4-H License Plate:  This bill would establish a state license plate to commemorate the centennial of 4-H clubs in Utah.

Acute Treatment Center:  Would preserve beds at the Utah State Hospital for rural mental health patients.

Bicycle Helmets:  Would require children to wear helmets when riding bicycles on public roads or trails.

Dental Assistant Amendments:  Provides greater flexibility for dentists in utilizing dental assistants.

Electronic Deliberations:  Allows members of public bodies to share e-mail and text messages, but not during open meetings.

Guardianship:  Comprehensive revision of Utah’s guardianship statutes to protect the elderly and disabled.

Fallen Officer Resolution:  Honors officers killed in the line of duty this year, including Josh Yazzie of Duchesne County.

Tax Changes:  Constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise or lower tax rates.

Justice Court Amendments:  Would regulate the closing of justice courts and the elimination of justice court positions.

City Council Vacancies:  Would alter the process of filling a mayoral vacancy.

Car Headlights:  Would require headlights to be turned on when windshield wipers are in use.

Statutory Construction:  Would limit authority of courts to interpret statutes broadly.

Parental Waivers:  Would allow parents to sign liability waivers on behalf of their children.

School Impact Fees:  Would allow school districts to charge impact fees on new home construction to pay for building schools.

Livestock Transport:  Would make Utah’s truck weight limits consistent with neighboring states for hauling of livestock.

Search and Rescue Benefits:  Would provide worker’s compensation coverage for Search and Rescue volunteers.

Voter Registration:  Would allow county clerks to remove a name from voter rolls if there has been no contact and no voting for ten years.

More information on these bills is available at  Please feel free to contact me anytime at or 435-657-0185.


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