Four days to go!
We’re in the final stretch of the state legislative session, with only four legislative days to go. This week will be a mad rush on the hill to get as much legislation heard as possible before the session ends on Thursday, March 9th at midnight. Our action teams continue to work on important bills in health, social, environmental and government policy, and will keep at it to the very end!
Once again, we had a lot of movement with bills we have been impacting through your actions. Check out our Week 6 Recap below, plus plenty of good state and national actions to take this week.
State Legislative Session – Week 6 Recap
Two good bills, SB 135 Maternal and Child Health and SB 108 Emergency Administration of Epinephrine Amendments, have now completed the trip through the state legislature, getting passed by the Senate and House and await a final signature from the Governor to sign them into law! Our health team continues to work on SB 159 Helmet Requirement Amendments as it moves from committee to a House floor vote.
Our environmental action team continues to work on HB 134 Emissions Testing Amendments and SB 154 Solar Access Amendments to help reduce air pollution in Utah. HB 134 won a favorable recommendation in Senate committee by unanimous vote, and SB 154 passed a full Senate vote and House committee vote to earn a vote in the full House this week. Unfortunately HB 29 failed in the House last Monday, losing by just one vote. This clean air bill would have extended an expired tax cut to help Utah transition to more electric vehicles. Stay tuned for more action needed in the fight to prioritize clean air in Utah (see below).
HB 178 Good Landlords has finally passed through the full legislature and will move on to the Governor to sign! Thank you to the members who testified on behalf of HB 278 Expenses of Minor Children to help it pass its house committee hearing and House vote last week. SCR 6 Concurrent Resolution on Guarding the Civil Liberties and Freedoms for All American People passed its senate third reading by unanimous vote and moves on to the House. HB 303 State Building Amendments, which would have brought diaper changing stations to public buildings in Utah, passed its committee but unfortunately did not pass in time to get a vote by the full legislature this year.
HB 200 Mandatory Sexual Assault Kit Testing and HB 251 Campus Advocate Confidentiality Amendments both passed Senate committee hearings and will move on for a vote by the full Senate. Bad bill HB 237 Firearms and Domestic Violence Modifications fortunately died in controversy after passing in the House. Our social policy team continues to work on getting funding for HB 36 Affordable Housing from appropriations this week. Unfortunately SB 210 Equal Pay Amendments was held in committee on Friday, but bill sponsor Sen. Anderegg has committed to study this issue over the interim in order to create a stronger bill for 2018.
GOVERNMENT AND VOTING POLICY
Bad bill HB 93 Judiciary Nominating Process Amendments fortunately failed in committee on Monday, meaning that diversity will continue to be allowed as a consideration for judicial nominations. HB 349 Ranked Choice Voting passed in the House on Friday and moves on to the Senate.
Good events coming up in our Calendar.
- Thursday, March 9 – Last day of the State Legislative Session!
- Friday, March 10 – YWCA Young Women’s Leadership Summit, The Falls Event Center, 580 S 600 E, Salt Lake City. Featuring keynote by Tiffany Dufu, Chief Leadership Officer of Levo League.
- Saturday, March 11 – ACLU People Power: Resistance Training, Salt Lake City Public Library Auditorium, 210 E 400 S, Salt Lake City. Livestream viewing of the ACLU’s launch of People Power Resistance Training and discussion about next steps for organizing.
- Monday, March 13 – Public Hearing on the Garfield County Resolution on Escalante National Monument, Panguitch. Come express your support of the national monument and oppose the resolution to reduce it by 74%.
1. PROTECT THE EPA: OPPOSE HR 637 “Stopping the EPA Overreach” and proposed budget cuts. HR 637 (the “Stopping EPA Overreach Act”) by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), a known climate denier, seeks to strike the very words “greenhouse gases” from the Clean Air Act. It would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating “carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or sulfer hexafluoride” emissions—in other words, factories would have free license to pollute the air with these substances. HR 637 would be a devastating strike against the Kigali Accord and other international efforts to fight climate change. At the same time, Trump has proposed a budget cut of 25% for EPA programs that would cripple the agency’s ability to create and enforce regulations that protect human health and the environment.
- Contact your congressperson to voice your opposition to HR 637 and to Trump’s EPA budget cuts. Find your US House Representative here.
- Sign this petition to Congress to defend the EPA by opposing H.R. 861 and budget cuts to the EPA, trending now on our Petitions, Petitions! page.
2. PROTECT PUBLIC SCHOOLS: OPPOSE HR 610. This bad bill would distribute federal funds for school vouchers and decrease nutritional standards for school lunch. Public education experts believe this bill will disrupt education in schools, eliminate crucial Title 1 funding and diminish teacher quality. Furthermore, HR 610 would allow schools to NOT comply with nutritional standards.
- Contact your congressperson to express your opposition to HR610 and to ask them to stop block grants, voucher programs and the removal of nutritional standards for school food. Find your US House Representative here.
- Write a letter to your US rep using this online tool from the Network for Public Education.
- Sign this petition to Congress and Trump to oppose HR 610. For more great petitions, check out our Petitions, Petitions! page.
3. DEFEND THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has returned roughly $11.8 billion to 29 million consumers since its inception in 2011. Most recently, the CFPB fined Wells Fargo $100 million for its illegal practice of opening unauthorized accounts. Instead of “draining the swamp”, Trump has now promised to gut this agency. The Republicans doubled down on this and recently introduced two companion bills that would eliminate the bureau altogether (S.370 and H.R. 1031). If passed, these bills would repeal Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the CFPB. Our own Senator Mike Lee is a sponsor of S.370.
- Call your Members of Congress to express support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ask Senator Hatch to vote against Senate Bill S.370 (you can also call Senator Lee and tell him you oppose his bill) and your ask Congressperson to vote against House Bill H.R. 1031. Remind them the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has supported the public against fraudulent business practices and are needed now more than ever.
- In District 4? House bill H.R. 1031 has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee on which Representative Mia Love is currently a member. Be sure she knows this agency matters to Utahns!
Senator Orrin Hatch – D.C. (202) 224-5251, UT (435) 586-8435
Senator Mike Lee – D.C. (202) 224-5444, UT (801) 392-9633
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT01) – D.C. (202) 225-0453, UT (801) 625-0107
Rep. Chris Stewart (UT02) – D.C. (202) 225-9730, UT (801) 364-5550
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT03) – D.C. (202) 225-7751, UT (801) 851-2500
Rep. Mia Love (UT04) – D.C. (202) 225-3011, UT (801) 996-8729
Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Find out here.
1. PROTECT GRAND STAIRCASE ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT. Escalante National Monument has been great for business in Garfield County, despite the false rhetoric being spun to justify the desire of our state and national politicians to dramatically reduce the size of the monument in order to strip the land for coal and fossil fuels. Garfield County residents need your URGENT help to prevent this 74% proposed reduction of the monument. The Utah State Legislature passed HCR 12 to ask Trump and newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, to greatly reduce the size of the national monument. Garfield County officials are now rushing to pass a similar Resolution.
- Write and mail a letter to Secretary Zinke, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20240. Please upload your letter to this Google Drive when you are finished (and see examples of other letters)
- Call or email Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to ask him to protect the current boundaries of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. (202) 208-7351, email@example.com
- Show up to the public hearing on the Garfield County Resolution in Panguitch on March 13th, 10:00a.
2. PRIORITIZE CLEAN AIR. A state appropriations request for much needed air quality monitoring equipment upgrades and research is facing an uphill battle and may not pass. Even worse, the state legislature is poised to cut funding for the Utah Division of Air Quality, which will result in loss of personnel. This is an unacceptable affront on efforts to monitor and work toward cleaner air along the Wasatch Front.
- Contact the members of the Executive Appropriations Committee and ask them to prioritize clean air by restoring cuts to the base budget of the Department of Air Quality and fully funding air quality monitoring equipment upgrades and research in the 2017 budget.
*Sen Jerry W. Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen Kevin Van Tassell email@example.com
Sen Stuart Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen Gene Davis email@example.com
Sen Luz Escamilla firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen Jani Iwamoto email@example.com
Sen Peter C. Knudson firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen Karen Mayne email@example.com
Sen Wayne Niederhauser firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen Ralph Okerlund email@example.com
Rep Bradley Last (Hurricane) 435-817-0064 firstname.lastname@example.org
*Rep Dean Sanpei 801-979-5711 email@example.com
Rep Joel Briscoe 801-946-9791 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep Francis Gibson 801-538-1029 email@example.com
Rep Sandra Hollins 801-538-1029 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep Greg Hughes 801-432-0362 email@example.com
Rep Brian King 801-560-0769 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep John Knotwell 801-449-1834 email@example.com
Rep Angela Romero 801-722-4972 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep Brad Wilson 801-425-1028 email@example.com
* Denotes the Heads of Appropriations for the Senate and House.
Thanks for sharing!
Action Utah members have amazed us with their engagement this legislative session and on national policy matters as well! The greater the number of Utahns taking action, the greater the impact we can make to support good policy and oppose bad policy at the state and federal level. Do you know someone who would be interested in getting more engaged and helping to make an impact? Please share this email and any of our actions far and wide to get more Utahns taking action. You can find our weekly, daily and urgent actions on our website, Facebook page and Twitter.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah