Community lobbying is powerful!
This week we are focused on good bills to reduce poverty, build environmental stewardship and grow family economic prosperity. Did you know that whenever we call you to weigh in on a bill, it is likely because the bill sponsors has specifically requested community support to help their bill? That’s because legislators recognize how powerful it can be for legislators to hear from their constituents to understand how Utahns truly feel about these issues. Community support can be a key component of the strategy that leads to a bill passing through the legislative process. That means YOU can really make a difference on these bills. So please take a moment to weigh in on the issues that matter to you. Every action counts!
WEEK #4 HIGHLIGHTS
HB 139: Telepsychiatric Consultation Amendments finally passed the full House and in a Senate Committee after undergoing amendments that aligned with the insurance companies requirements to instate this program. Your actions helped keep this bill moving to expand access to mental health care across the state. It should be smooth sailing from here!
Good clean air bills HB 101 and HB 211 passed in committee unanimously and will move on to a vote by the full House. Thank you to the members of the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment committee for your commitment to Utah’s #2 highest priority: air quality! HB 211, which would convert the engines of some of our extremely dirty freight switcher trains, will have a steep climb from here because of its large fiscal note, but it has undoubtedly already put on notice the railway companies, who are operating these mega-polluters in our air shed. We consider that in and of itself a victory.
Good bills HCR 1 and HCR 7 experienced different fates in the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee last week. Ray Ward’s climate resolution HCR 1 sparked a good discussion and presentation of climate science (a win in and of itself!), but ultimately failed to get a vote. Rep. Becky Edwards’ HCR 7 focused instead on the plausibility and importance of making Utah a place of both good environmental stewardship and good economic stewardship at the same time. High school students from Logan gave eloquent testimony pleading with legislators to pass the bill in order to make a livable future for Utah. This good resolution passed 8 to 3! But it still faces a steep climb ahead. Next up it will get a vote by the full House likely by the end of this week. Have you contacted your state rep yet to ask them to vote YES on HCR7?
Bad bills HB 111 and HB 135 got held! Thanks to those of you who took urgent action to weigh on bad bill HB 111, which would have ended a critical funding mechanism for affordable housing, and bad bill HB 135, which would have stripped the right of municipalities to protect their drinking water. Both bills got held in committee. We’ll keep a careful eye out to make sure neither bill rises from the dead.
Action Utah published more #InTheirWords videos about good bills – We added to our series of 2-minute videos on Facebook last week to spread the word about some of the great bills we are supporting at Action Utah. Find out what these bills do and why they are worth supporting by clicking the links below.
- #InTheirWords VIDEO – HB 319: Early Care and Learning Coordination Amendments – establishes an important mechanism for coordinating early care among federal and state agencies to improve programs and share resources
- #InTheirWords VIDEO – HB 211: Freight Switcher Emissions Reduction MItigation – converting freight train engines to cleaner technology for significant air pollution savings
- #InTheirWords VIDEO – HB 283: Workplace Protection Amendments – expands the same protections from discrimination and harassment enjoyed by employees of large businesses to employees of small businesses
- #InTheirWords VIDEO – HB 41: Mental Health Crisis Line Amendments – creating basic standards for mental health crisis line services in Utah for suicide prevention
- #InTheirWords VIDEO – HB 278: Paid Family & Medical Leave Tax Credit – provides a tax credit to businesses that offer paid leave for family or medical reasons to support businesses and family economic prosperity
Bill of the Week: HB 57
We’ve been talking about good bill HB 57: Utah Intergenerational Poverty Work and Self-sufficiency Tax Credit, a bill that would create a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), for weeks now. But what is it we love so much about this bill? HB 57 is about reducing poverty in a lasting way by encouraging work, increasing financial stability and independence and creating better outcomes for families and children. That means a stronger economy for Utah through a proven program that lifts up some of our most vulnerable! This good bill has made it all the way through the House and Senate committee, but still faces a challenge in the Senate. Be sure to ask your senator to vote YES on HB 57!
Action Utah’s Weekly Lobby Day – Tues, February 20th, 1:00p in the Seagull Room in the Senate (East) Building on Capitol Campus. Attend a brief training on advocacy during the state legislative session, then join us at 2:00p to lobby legislators in person on issues that matter to you. This week we will be focussing on bills around environmental stewardship, poverty reduction and family economic prosperity, No experience necessary! RSVP here.
Action Utah on KRCL’s RadioActive Tuesday, February 20. Tune in to 90.9 FM from 6:00-7:00p. Action Utah Executive Director Andrea Himoff will discuss bills we are watching at Action Utah this week #OnTheHill during the State Legislative Session.
Action Utah’s Second to Last Lobby Day – Tuesday, Feb 27th at 1:00p, Seagull Room in the Senate (East) Building on Capitol Campus. Don’t miss your opportunity to get a glimpse into the State Legislative Session and learn how to lobby for the issues you care about. Join us at 2:00p for a chance to lobby legislators directly. No experience necessary! RSVP here.
State Legislative Session
Here are the great bills you can impact this week at the State Legislature. Each action only takes a minute or two! Bills move very quickly during the State Legislative Session, so be sure to take action right away. And stay tuned on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages for more Urgent and Daily actions coming up throughout the week!
1. Ask your state rep to vote YES on environmental stewardship (HCR 7) – 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. Click here to ask your state rep to vote YES on HCR 7!
2. Pass a program to create lasting poverty reduction in Utah! HB 57: Utah Intergenerational Poverty Work and Self-sufficiency Tax Credit supports progress toward financial stability and independence for working families, strengthens Utah’s economy by reducing poverty in a responsible and lasting way and creates better outcomes for families and children. Click here to ask your senator to vote YES on HB 57.
3. Expand workplace protections from discrimination and harassment! HB 283: Workplace Protection Amendments would create more equitable and fair workplaces by extending anti-discrimination and anti-harassment labor laws to small workplaces. Click here to ask committee members to pass HB 283 this week!
4. URGENT: Stop reductions in early voting days by asking state reps to vote NO on HB 141! Bad bill HB 141 would allow certain counties to reduce the number of early voting days from 14 down to 2. This creates a significant obstacle for certain voting populations, including rural voters and the elderly. Click here to ask your state rep to vote NO on HB 141 during a floor vote TODAY!
5. Say NO to sweeping changes to Utah’s Medicaid Program. SB 172: Medicaid Waiver Amendments would make sweeping changes to Utah’s Medicaid program, leading to loss of life-saving services for thousands of Utahns while failing to create better efficiency or cost savings for the state. Click here to ask your state senator to vote NO on SB 172.
6. Help make it easier for asylees and refugees to get a first drivers license. HB 189 is a kind bill that removes some of the obstacles for approved asylees and refugees getting their first license in Utah. Ask your state senator to help this good bill become law.
Although the State Legislative Session is still well underway, the 2018 election process is about to begin. March 20th marks the day of the precinct caucuses for both the Republican and Democratic party. That’s when delegates will be elected to vote on candidates for our primaries, as well as party leadership and platform. YOU can run as a delegate for your party or vote for delegates at your local caucus meeting, but only if you are registered to vote.
- Register to vote TODAY! If you want to vote or run as a delegate at a Republican caucus, you MUST be registered as a Republican. If you want to vote or run as a delegate at a Democratic caucus, you must be registered to vote, but do not have to affiliate for any particular party. Utah GOP: (801) 533-9777. Utah Democratic Party: (801) 328-1212.
- Mark your calendar for caucus meetings on the evening of March 20th. Call your party to find out exact time and location (based on your home address) of your local caucus meeting to make sure you go the right place!
- Check out our RESOURCE: What is a delegate and why do they matter? to find out what a delegate does and how YOU can run as a delegate in your area.
Thank you for your support!
Last week we asked 23 people to give $23 to support our work this month at the State Legislative Session. We were blown away by all your responses! A big THANK YOU to all of you who have supported our mission! Action Utah is a nonprofit organization, and we rely on financial contributions from our supporters to boost civic engagement in Utah through education, training and advocacy opportunities. Your gift will allow us to continue our work toward elevating the voices of Utahns in policymaking. Please consider making a gift today!
Yours in action,
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah