A great first week!
The 2018 State Legislative Session got off to a great start with many good bills moving along through the legislative process, new good bills introduced, and successful events and happenings #OnTheHill. Action Utah members have been busy taking action and making an impact. Watch for updates on our 2018 Bill Tracker!
WEEK #1 HIGHLIGHTS
Two great suicide prevention bills, HB 41: Mental Health Crisis Line Amendments (creating a single phone number and basic standards for crisis services across the state) and HB 42: Medicaid Waiver for Mental Health Crisis Services (seeks Medicaid funding for crisis prevention teams and services), passed through the House and will move on to the Senate.
Two great bills that create family economic prosperity moved along as well: HB 12: Family Planning Services Amendments passed a standing committee vote 12-1 and will get a full House floor vote this morning and HB 57: Utah Intergenerational Poverty Work and Self-Sufficiency Tax Credit passed through the House Revenue and Taxation Standing Committee with a unanimous vote.
Two great new bills were introduced to boost environmental stewardship in our state: HCR 7: Concurrent Resolution on Environmental and Economic Stewardship (encourages the responsible stewardship of natural resources and reduction of emissions through incentives and support of the growth in technologies and services that will enlarge the economy) and HCR 9: Concurrent Resolution Supporting Rural Development of Wind, Solar and Geothermal Energy, which was sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent (D-Millcreek) with 23 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle! Action Utah is honored to have had a hand in the drafting of both these resolutions.
Action Utah was part of two terrific events #OnTheHill:
- The Family Economic Prosperity Priorities press conference showcased good bills by over a dozen legislators from both sides of the aisle to a packed room. The event was covered by the Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, KUTV, and KUER.
- Climate Panel with 20 legislators and students and experts from across the state discussing climate solutions. Guest speakers included Dr. Laura Nelson of the Governor’s Energy Office, Prof. Robert Davies of USU and Rep. Mia Love (whose video appearance can be seen here). The event was so popular it was standing room only! Check out the great handout on climate change from the event here. The event was covered by ABC’s Good4Utah.
Bill of the Week: HB 148: Tax Provisions
Despite the dull name, this bill is anything but! Rep. Tim Quinn (R-Heber) is determined to eliminate the state sales tax on food in order to provide some relief for Utahns who are most in need. That includes low-income families and fixed-income people like the elderly who already face an increased burden from the state due to rising property taxes.
Why would one of the most conservative legislators in the state sponsor a bill like this? Rep. Quinn believes it is a moral imperative. The food tax is a regressive tax, and studies show that any amount of food tax increases food insecurity. With 311,000 Utahns living below the poverty line, this bill would help many cover basic needs without posing a burden on others. In fact, the bill is revenue neutral, balancing the elimination of the 1.75% state food tax with an increase in the general sales tax of .24%.
Read on for ways YOU can help get this and other good bills passed!
Action Utah on KRCL’s RadioActive Tues, January 30. Tune in to 90.9 FM from 6:00-7:00p. Action Utah Executive Director, Andrea Himoff, will discuss what’s happening on Capitol Hill during the State Legislative Session and how YOU can get involved.
Weekly Lobby Day #1 – Tues, January 30th, 12:30p 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!
TED Format Political Action Training – Sat. February 3, 1:00-3:00p, Impact Hub in SLC. Learn from leadership communications expert John Bates how to influence an elected official by taking only 3-5 minutes of their time. More info and register here.
1. Catch up on what happened last week.
- In case you missed it in person or online, catch Action Utah’s Legislative Preview to learn about community advocacy during the State Legislative Session and great bills from legislators.
- Watch the Family Economic Prosperity Priorities press conference to learn about 17 bills that strengthen families.
- Watch legislators, students and experts come together during last week’s Climate Panel, which included a video by Rep. Mia Love, to normalize conversations about climate change and climate solutions.
2. Take action to impact a bill:
- Ask your state senator to support HB 148: Tax Revisions to eliminate the food tax in a revenue neutral way that eases the burden on the poorest among us. It only takes 60 seconds to send an email. Click here to take action on HB 148.
- Help HB 12: Family Planning Services Amendments pass a full House vote THIS MORNING to provide contraceptive services that save the state money, reduce abortions and improve the lives of women and families! Click here to take action THIS MORNING before 11:00a. Reading this too late? That’s okay! You can still advocate to the appropriations committee to ask for this good bill to get prioritized funding by clicking here.
- Advocate for better voting policy in Utah with HB 67: Voter Registration Amendments — a bill that creates government efficiency and saves taxpayer dollars by allowing voters to opt out of automatic voter registration at the DMV rather than opting in. YOU can help this vote pass through committee. Click here to take action on HB 67.
- Ask Senators to vote YES on HB 41: Mental Health Crisis Line Amendments, which would create a single crisis phone number across the state as well as basic standards for staffing and operations for statewide and local crisis services so that all Utahns can receive timely, responsive and dependable mental crisis care no matter where they live in Utah. This bill saves lives! Click here to take action on HB 41.
3. Give $20.18 for 2018! In order to bring you education, training and advocacy opportunities throughout the 2018 State Legislative Session we need support from members like you. If you’ve benefited from the work we’ve done this year, please consider making a donation. Your gift of $20.18 a month will help us make a real difference in the legislative session this year as we tackle clean air, healthcare, poverty, childcare, and issues important to you. Click here to support Action Utah.
4. Get action alerts! Don’t miss an opportunity to impact the issues you care about most during the State Legislative Session! Click here to sign up for one of our four Action Teams to receive alerts today!
You’re off to a great start, Utah!
Last week, Action Utah members attended events in person and online and sent hundreds of emails to legislators advocating for good policy. Let’s do it again this week, Utah!
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah