Something for everyone.
Action Utah will be watching dozens of bills during the State Legislative Session. Sometimes people ask us we choose which ones to support and which to oppose. As with everything we do, we rely on data to show us what a majority of Utahns care about and where a majority of Utahns stand on the issues. We do not believe in picking highly partisan causes, but rather issues where bridge building is possible. And we believe in bringing advocacy opportunities to our members that are meaningful and have the possibility of bearing fruit.
In Utah, a majority of voters agree on most issues. Sometimes the stance of the majority can be surprising. We do not expect that everyone will all agree on everything. At Action Utah, we bring you a variety of issues so you can choose to take action on those that you care about most.
If we bring you an action you disagree with — that’s okay! Just because a person doesn’t agree with the majority of Utahns doesn’t make them wrong or bad. Simply skip the action, advocate for your own beliefs, or move on to the next issue. Because of our majority stances, we know you are likely to agree with us most of the time, so feel free to choose an action that suits you better.
Our first legislative victory!
Last week we called our members to action opposing a proposed bill before the Legislative Session even began. Sen. Allen Christensen expressed openness to hearing public opinion on his bill, SB 48: Medicaid Waiting Period Amendments, which would have reinstated a 5-year waiting period for legal immigrant children before than can receive health care via CHIP or Medicaid, but which did not provide any measurable economic or other benefit to the state. You spoke up, and within hours the good senator announced that he would not be running the bill.
The abandoning of SB 48 is a victory of community advocacy and for Utah families. It is also an opportunity for community members to commend Sen. Christensen for being open to community feedback and being willing to change his mind. Thanks to all of you who took action asking for Sen. Christensen to reconsider, and also thanking him afterwards!
Inequitable Futures: A Debate and Panel Exploring Equalization of School Funding – Wed January 17th, 6:00-8:00p at the Impact Hub in SLC. Hear about the pros and cons of equalized school funding from panelists State Senator Howard Stephenson, State Representative Logan Wilde, and Utah County Democratic Party Vice Chair, Justin Anderson.
2018 Legislative Bootcamp for Millennials – Wed, January 17th, 6:30-8:00p at the State Capitol Building. Join legislators, lobbyists and other experts in for this free training and networking event in the Hall of Governors, ground floor of the State Capitol Building and learn how to advocate for the issues you are passionate about at the State Legislative Session.
Respect Rally Park City – Sat, January 20th, 10:00-12:00p, north side of City Park in Park City. Honor the one-year anniversary of the National Women’s March and the local success of #MarchOnMain in Park City. More information and register here.
2018 Women’s March, Northern Utah – Sat, January 20th, 12:00-1:30p, Ogden Municipal Gardens. Celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March, the largest single day protest in the history of our country, and the ideals of love and tolerance for which it stands.
2018 State Legislative Session BEGINS – Monday, January 22.
Action Utah on KRCL’s RadioActive Mon, January 22. Tune in to 90.9 FM from 6:00-7:00p.Action Utah leaders will discuss the legislative session, upcoming bills we are tracking and why community advocacy matters.
AU’s Annual Legislative Preview – Wed, January 24th, 7:00-8:30p, Marmalade Branch Library in Salt Lake. An evening with legislators learning about some of the great bills coming up during the State Legislative Session starting January 22 that need community support. Action Utah will also cover community lobbying tips and skills to help you make an impact on policy decisions at the state level. Featuring: Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Rep. Becky Edwards, Rep. Brian King, Rep. Steve Handy, and Rep. Tim Quinn.
Weekly Lobby Days – Every Tuesday from January 30 through March 6th, 12:30p. Meet in the Seagull Room of the Senate (East) Building, Capitol Hill. Gather with other Action Utah members and leaders to learn about the State Legislature, the Legislative Session and advocacy at the Capitol. No experience necessary!
The 2018 State Legislative Session runs for 45 days from January 22 through March 8. It is during this short window that our part-time state legislators must propose, debate and decide on over 1400 bills to create state laws and balance our budget. Community advocacy is essential in helping our legislators understand where their constituents stand on the issues and even providing crucial data and personal stories that impact decision-making. Let us help you get ready to make a difference on the issues that matter to you most!
1. Get ready for the State Legislative Session: Less than a week before the start of the State Legislative Session. Are you ready to impact policy decisions? Take these simple steps to get prepared.
- Find out who represents you. Each Utahn has one state senator and one state representative. We will be asking community members to email and text their representatives about legislation in process leading up to and during the State Legislative Session, so it is important to have their contact information at the ready. Get a head start by looking up your reps and their contact information here and adding them to the contacts on your phone now for easy access later.
- Learn how to use the State Legislative Website (le.utah.gov) – Watch this Cyberlobbying 101 video to learn how to use the state legislative website (le.utah.gov) as a resource and community advocacy tool. Video courtesy of ACLU, along with the presentation slides.
- Fill out your State Legislative Session Activism Plan – get ready by finding out who represents you and how to contact them, what issues you care about most
- Join one of our 4 Action Teams to get action alerts throughout the Session on the issues that matter to you most. Our Policy Coordinators have been tracking bills that need community support. Don’t miss your chance to impact the bills you care about!
- Find out more about bills coming up and how to advocate for them at our annual Legislative Preview, coming up on January 24th in Salt Lake and on Facebook Live.
2. Start taking action on great bills coming up that need community support during the State Legislative Session. Join us at our Legislative Preview on January 24th to hear about bills directly from the legislators. But you can also start to get to know some of our bills and even begin taking actions to impact them this week. Here is a rundown of some great bills and what you can do to help them:
FAMILY ECONOMIC PROSPERITY – A series of 2018 bills address the needs of Utah families from different angles, including paid family leave, childcare and much more.
- WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW? Learn more about specific bills in this bill package by watching the video of our Women’s Advocacy Seminar, which we co-hosted with the Women’s Leadership Institute last week. Mark your calendar to join legislators on Thurs, Jan 25th at noon in the Presentation Room of the State Capitol Building for a press conference on family economic prosperity bills. Want your legislator to learn about these great bills too? Write them an email and ask them to attend!
FOOD TAX ELIMINATION – HB 148: Tax revisions is not about economics, it’s about a moral obligation to care for the state’s neediest and most vulnerable. That’s why one of our most conservative legislators, Rep. Tim Quinn (R-Heber) is running a bill that would eliminate state food tax by making the revenue neutral swap of increasing our state sales tax by just .24%. Studies show that any amount of food tax increases food insecurity. In a state with over 300,000 individuals and families living in poverty, this bill would improve outcomes for our poorest Utahns without burdening the rest of us.
- WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW? This bill needs support from more conservatives like Rep. Quinn. Constituents of conservative legislators, email your state representative or senator to support HB 148: Tax Revisions to be good stewards to our state’s poorest individuals and families by eliminating the regressive state food tax. You can use these talking points to help. Let us know if you hear anything back! Care about poverty a lot? Consider writing a letter to the editor or op-ed about this bill. You can use our tips on How to Write an Effective Letter To the Editor to help you along.
AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION – Rep. Steve Handy (R-Layton) was approached by the 29 County Clerks of Utah, who asked him to run a bill to update our badly outdated voter registration system using simple technology to increase government efficiency in the clerk’s offices. Thus, HB 67: Voter Registration Amendments was born, creating a small change in the registration procedure at the DMV that would allow eligible voters to opt out of voter registration, rather than to opt in. This simple change saves truck loads of paperwork and thousands of man hours in County offices manually inputting data that will now be automatically input at the DMV. We hope this bill will pass to make sure our government operates in the most efficient way to make the best use of each taxpayer dollar.
- WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: We want to hear what your County Clerk has to say about HB 67 and the efficiencies it would create in your local county office. Only one call is needed per county to collect the real stories of efficiencies created across the state. Sign up to call your county clerk by contacting us today!
PRIMARY CARE NETWORK AMENDMENTS – Rep. Steve Eliason (R-Sandy) will be running a bill to expand the services offered to Utahns who receive healthcare through the PCN. That means Utahns with health issues would be able to get those issues addressed through the same coverage that diagnoses them.
- WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: Are you willing to share your story about how increased coverage could positively impact your life or the life of a friend or family member? We are collecting stories and recruiting individuals willing to testify in support of this great bill during the session. Please contact our Policy Director, Carrie Butler, to find out more.
GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE – This is an unprecedented year in Utah when not one but TWO Republican legislators are running resolutions around climate change, aligning with a recent study that showed 71% of Utahns believing climate change is real and 64% believing human activity exacerbates it. It is high time conversations around global warming and climate change are normalized among our elected officials. That’s why students, experts and community members have created an event next week just for legislators to open up a conversation and explore questions.
- WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: Want your legislator to join the conversation? Sign up to contact your legislator about next week’s climate panel by contacting us.
Your actions are powerful!
Action Utah is here to be a resource for everyone — no matter your party. Our mission is simply boosting civic engagement across the state. Why? Because we see every day how community members can have a voice in policymaking and help shape policies that better reflect the beliefs of the majority. Remember, sometimes it doesn’t take many people to influence a policy decision — a single, poignant constituent can change a legislator’s mind. So when you are trying to decide whether to devote 60 seconds to taking an action, remember that ordinary community members can be powerful, and that every action counts!
Yours in action,
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah