Write this down so you don't forget it, Peeps!
Hear ye, Hear ye! The 45-Day Reign of Terror is over. You are now able to come out of your houses.
This year during the 2017 Legislative Session, the legislature passed 535 pieces of legislation, a new record, and increased the state budget by over 7%. So much for small government! As usual, just small enough to control our lives.
Once again, we saw our Democrats fighting for education, government transparency and protection for the public against violent criminals. Our Democratic Legislators pushed to end the opioid epidemic, protect the health and safety of Utah children, and ensure that every person has clean air to breathe.
Our Democratic legislators continued to fight for a fair wage, worker’s rights, and an end to discrimination.
On the other hand, the Republicans, holding the majority, were able to halt measures that would have increased the ability of the people of Utah to access and control their own government. They stopped legislation that would have ensured our children receive education based in fact, science, and not ideology. Bills protecting homeless youth, registering to vote on election day, and an independent redistricting commission were all stopped in their tracks.
The following are some of the bills we followed:
The state legislators put more money into helping the homeless. Great work!
A new bill will require that all rape kits be tested for DNA at the State’s Crim Lab. This was very much needed.
All vehicles along the Wasatch Front and other areas must now pass emission tests. Great effort to allow us to breathe again in the winter and have our kids play outside!
The state will bond for $1 billion in transportation construction program. This is great but the timing is bad. Why cause construction costs to go up even further when you’re also building a $650 million prison and new airport. They forgot the old adage: Save in the good times, spend in the bad times. That is how you maintain a strong economy even in bad times.
Legislators also approved funding a presidential primary every four years to avoid the long lines during Utah's 2016 presidential nominating caucuses. Thank you again!!
The The Zion Curtain (and Ceiling) will fall. Makes Utah look a little more normal, but of course there is always a trade-off. (See “The Bad” below).
Legislators killed the prohibition on discussing homosexuality in a positive manner during sex education/a>. A little common sense this year.
Legislators added $270 million in new monies for public schools, fully funding new student growth and increasing the per-pupil funding by 4 percent. Sounds like a lot but in reality, our GOP legislators once-again failed to make any meaningful effort to lift us out of the cellar in education funding. We are still at the bottom!
Teachers receive $5 million to pay for classroom supplies, and don’t have to pay for license renewal fees. A little bit of respect for our great teachers. Also, teachers who volunteer to work in the state’s poorly-funded and more challenged schools can earn $5,000 more a year. They deserve it.
A 10-foot open area from the bar or a 6-foot area with a short wall will be required instead of the Zion curtain. This bill hurts small businesses with smaller restaurants.
Utah will be the first state in the nation to lower its DUI alcohol level to 0.5 percent, down from a national standard of 0.8 percent. This is another effort by our legislature to drive away tourism and conventions. There are better ways to prevent drunk driving. Criminalizing drinking isn’t it.
The legislature is phasing out credits for rooftop solar projects. Forget about breathing clean air and letting our kids play outside!
The GOP passed a resolution to reduce the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and rescind the Bears Ears National Monument, causing Utah to lose the twice-yearly Outdoor Retailers Association convention, taking about $45 million out of our economy, thousands of jobs and the opportunity to host the Inter-bike Show and other outdoor industry shows. So much for being a state that supports economic development!
Utahns will no longer have to have safety inspections on their cars and trucks, with registration fees going up by $1 a year. This bill will make you pay more attention to who is driving next to you. There will be more people “praying while driving”!
New funding will go into efforts to deal with wolves in Utah even though there are no known wolves in Utah.
Legislators changed Utah’s anti-polygamy laws by modifying the definition of the practice and enhancing penalties.
That's a wrap! Thank you to our WONDERFUL Democrats on Utah's Capitol Hill!
Utah Democratic Party
Write this down so you don't forget it, Peeps!