Successes on the Hill! Let’s keep it up!

Successes on Capitol Hill last week!

Action Utah members, you have been busy taking actions to impact bills in health, social, environmental and government/voter rights policy!  Sometimes it may seem difficult to gauge how much of an impact you are making. You may see bills you care about fail and others you oppose getting passed. We can’t win them all. But we are happy to tell you that Action Utah has had great success in the State Capitol so far! Check out our State Legislative Session weekly update below to find out more!

In the meantime, our executive team has been hard at work spreading the word about Action Utah. On Sunday morning we had the pleasure of appearing on Inside Utah Politics with Glen Mills to talk about some of our legislative priorities and how AU is working to build bridges and engage ordinary Utahns in impacting state and national policy. If you missed the interview, you can view it on our Facebook page here.

State Legislative Session – Week 4 Recap

Wow, Action Utah — you are doing great! Check out our progress on bills we are supporting! We are now over half way through the state legislative session, and with only 13 legislative days left it is more imperative than ever to keep taking action to impact state policy!

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
HB 29: Energy Efficient Vehicle Tax Credit Amendments passed its House hearing on Tuesday by a unanimous vote, had a second reading in the House Wednesday and awaits a full House vote in the next couple of days to extend tax credits for EVs.
HCR 5: Concurrent Resolution on Clean-Fuel School Buses passed its Senate committee hearing on Friday morning unanimously with a favorable recommendation and will move on for a 2nd and 3rd reading in the Senate.
Stay tuned for calls to action on the water conservancy district funding bill SB 151: Property Tax Relief Modicications (Sen. Dabakis / Sen. Stephenson) and other important ways we are working to block the upcoming boxcar on Bear River Development that would spell disaster for air quality in the Salt Lake air shed.

SOCIAL POLICY
HB 178: Good Landlords Amendments (Rep. King) passed in the House on Tuesday with an amendment. Check out this terrific article by AU member, Marianne Mansfield, in The Independent outlining why this bill is so important.
HB 251: Campus Advocate Confidentiality Amendments (Rep. Romero / Sen. Weiler) is an important rape reporting bill that passed committee on Tuesday, had a second reading Wednesday, and is poised for a House vote in the next day or two.
HB 200: Mandatory Sexual Assault Kit Testing (Rep Romero / Sen. Weiler) passed in the House on Friday afternoon and will move on to the Senate.
Stay tuned for more actions on these bills, plus SB 210: Equal Work Equal Pay (Sen. Anderegg), baby changing stations in bathrooms and civil liberties legislation!

HEALTH POLICY
HB 66: Opiate Overdose Response Act Amendments will help save more lives after passing Senate committee on Monday morning and the 2nd and 3rd readings in the Senate, both by unanimous vote!
SB 108: Emergency Administraton of Epinephrine Amendments passed 2nd and 3rd readings in the Senate by a unanimous vote and will move on to a public hearing with the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Stay tuned for actions on motorcycle safety through life-saving helmet laws for young people, plus cannabinoid research and two great bills on post partum care!

GOVERNMENT/VOTER RIGHTS POLICY
HB 159: Amendments to Voter Registration passed committee hearing Monday morning to help make voter registration easier.
HB 93: Judicial Nominating Process Amendments unfortunately passed in the House with an amendment Wednesday. We will continue to oppose this BAD BILL, which eliminates diversity as a consideration for judicial appointments, in the Senate.
HB 11: State Boards and Commissions, which eliminates the bipartisanship requirement for appointments to 29 state boards and commissions, unfortunately passed in the Senate, but not without a good fight. In the Senate hearing, Sen Iwamoto said, “I have never received so many emails and phone calls”. She knew this BAD BILL mattered to constituents. An amendment we helped get passed the in the House was sadly eliminated on the Senate floor on Friday. The bill will now go back to the House for concurrence.
Stay tuned for more actions on these bills, plus HB 19: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Amendments (Rep. Greene / Sen. Stephenson) to stop the disproportionate impact on refugee and immigrant communities through seizure of property by prohibiting seizure of property unless criminal charges are actually filed.

Check out these great events from our Calendar coming up this week.

  • Tuesday, Feb 21, 6:00p – Salt Lake City Community Clean Air Meeting, Westminster College, Salt Lake City. Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment & HEAL Utah discuss air quality and what YOU can do to improve the air in your area.
  • Tuesday, Feb 21, 8:00p – SURJ’s “Political Education: Racism 101”, workshop over the phone. First in a 4-part series introducing the basics on what is racism and what can be done about it.
  • Thursday, Feb 23, 10:00a-12:30p – URC’s Storm Capitol Hill Round 5, State Capitol Building, Salt Lake City. Participate in community lobbying around SB 151 and against a boxcar bill on Bear River Development to impact UT water and air pollution.
  • Thursday, Feb 23, 5:45p – Public Hearing for the Kids on SRJ9 Resolution on Climate Change, State Capitol, Salt Lake City. After the Senate committee refused to hear a climate bill written by Logan students, Sen. Dabakis is holding a public hearing for them anyway.
  • Thursday, Feb 23, 7:00-8:00p – UACT’s “Intersectionality 101”, Salt Lake Public Library Sprague Branch, Salt Lake City. Educational evening to explore what is intersectionality and what does it mean in today’s world.

Weekly Actions

National Issues

1. Ask our Utah delegation to demand an investigation into White House ties with Russia. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Oversight Committee all have the power to order an independent investigation into Russia’s ties with Trump, Flynn and others in Trump’s team.

  • Contact your U.S. Representative and urge them to push Jason Chaffetz and the House Oversight Committee into investigating Flynn and White House ties to Russia and to support Rep. Nadler’s February 9th Resolution of Inquiry to request information from the Justice Department on Trump’s potential conflicts of interest, ethical violations, and ties to Russia. Find your U.S. Representative’s contact info here.
  • Call, email or visit Senators Hatch and Lee (when they are back home this week) and tell them it is time to set aside politics and party in favor of protecting our country and that you expect them to join bi-partisan support for a full, independent investigation into ties between Russia, Trump and his cronies. Tell them they must commit to fully investigating Flynn’s ties to the Russian government, and the White House’s response. You can use this guide for help with what to say.

Call Senator Orrin Hatch – D.C. (202) 224-5251, UT (435) 586-8435
Call Senator Mike Lee – D.C. (202) 224-5444, UT (801) 392-9633

State Issues

1. Take action during the state legislative session – With just 13 legislative days left in the session, there is still time to impact policy at the state level. But you need to act now! Follow us on our website, Facebook or Twitter for daily and urgent actions on bills that matter to everyday Utahns and their families. Here are a few actions you can take today!

  • HB 11: State Boards and Commissions – This BAD BILL keeps coming up because it still faces a couple more votes. On Tuesday morning the House will vote on it again for concurrence after the Senate voted to re-insert all the eliminated boards back into the bill. Contact your state representative to oppose the bill and contact Governor Herbert to veto it. More info here.
  • Governor Herbert has yet to sign (or veto) HCR 12 (to greatly reduce Escalante). Last week the Outdoor Retailer convention announced its official exit from Utah after talks with Herbert over Bears Ears and Escalante went down hill. If you haven’t already, contact Governor Herbert about his lack of stewardship of our public lands and of the $8 billion tourism and outdoor industry in Utah. You can also try writing a letter to the editor to your local paper to make your voice heard. Call the Governor at 801-538-1000 or leave a comment here.
  • HB 19: Civil Asset Forfeiture – We are supporting this normally far right bill because it protects immigrants and refugees, the most common victims of unjustified property seizure by the state, by eliminating the ability for the government to seize property without actually filing criminal charges. Contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask them to support this bill. We particularly need constituents of Chairman Sen. Weiler (who is in favor of this bill but may not know HB19 is a better bill than the competing SB87) and of the Democratic committee members, Sen. Escamilla and Sen. Davis (who both opposed this bill last year for partisan reasons), to ask for their support of this bill. Remember to say if you are a constituent!

Senate Judiciary Committee email addresses: 

tweiler@le.utah.gov
lescamilla@le.utah.gov
gdavis@le.utah.gov
lhillyard@le.utah.gov
wniederhauser@le.utah.gov
rokerlund@le.utah.gov
dthatcher@le.utah.gov

2. Demand voting records from the state legislature – The state legislative website (le.utah.gov) is an excellent resource that brings all kinds of details about your legislators, bills, hearings and even live feed of floor sessions right to your couch. However, there is no way to search your legislator’s voting record for this legislative session or beyond. How does your legislator vote on education, clean air, affordable housing, opiate addiction, public lands, women’s issues, etc? You would currently have to search through the voting records of each individual bill to find out. Let’s change that!

  • Write a comment on the state legislative website (scroll down to the bottom right corner and fill in the box where it asks, “How can we improve this page?”).
  • Get your friends to write comments too!

13 more days to make your voice heard!

You’ve come this far, Utah! Keep up the good work you are doing impacting the state legislative session by staying with us until th end! We hope to see these great bills and more make it all the way to the finish line to help Utahns and their families. But we need your help. Remember, every action counts!

Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah


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