Committed to Promoting the Principles of Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government,
Participatory Republic, Free Market Economy, Family and Separation of Powers
Legislative Updates - 2 February 2015
This is GrassRoots’ first legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature. We hope to be sending a weekly update on legislative happenings during the session, and will be concentrating on bills that we find to be friendly to the principles of limited government on one hand, or, on the other hand, friendly to big, intrusive government. As you may know, the principles of GrassRoots are summarized as Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government, Free Market Economy, Participatory Republic, Family, and Separation of Powers.
We would encourage and challenge you, if you see one or more bills that interest you, contact your representative and/or senator about it/them. We think they usually hear enough from paid lobbyists (some would say more than enough), but they may not hear enough from you.
At this time (one week into the session), there are about 360 numbered bills for this session on the Utah Legislature website, maybe about half of the bills that will be numbered by the end of the session which, under the Utah Constitution, will go for 45 days. Here are some bills that we consider to be noteworthy.
HB18, “Children's Hearing Aid Program Amendments,” sponsored by Representative Edwards and Senator Osmond, would:
The intended beneficiaries are children under the age of 6 who do not already qualify for the full cost of hearing aids under Utah’s Medicaid program or Utah’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, but who do “meet financial need qualification criteria” under rules set by the Department of Health.
HB18 passed the House 59-12 on January 26th, and passed Senate Health and Human Services Committee 5-1 on January 30th, and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.
HB18 proposes to make permanent another welfare program to be administered by the State, with money from taxpayers. Many would agree that hearing aids for children are a good idea. But it would be much better to reduce the size of the welfare state (and, over time, eliminate it), and reduce taxes, thus leaving private individuals, families, and associations, and local communities with greater resources to deal with the variety of challenges that exist. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB18.
HB54, “Public Education Increased Funding Program,” sponsored by Representative Draxler, would:
The Fiscal Note for HB54 indicates that tax revenue would be increased by $176 million in FY2016 and by $726 million in FY2017.
HB54 is currently scheduled to be considered by the House Education Committee at its Monday, February 2nd meeting (2pm, Room 30, House Building).
HB54 would impose a serious, statewide tax increase, and would increase the power of the state exercised over our schools. GrassRoots would prefer policies designed to enhance parental and local control over education, and not to take ever more resources away from the private sector. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB54.
HB79, “Safety Belt Law Amendments,” sponsored by Representative Perry, would repeal the provision that provides that a state or local law enforcement officer may only enforce the safety belt restraint requirement as a secondary action in certain circumstances. This means that, under HB79, one could be “pulled over” for a seat belt violation. (Currently, those over 19 may only be cited for failure to wear a seat belt when being “pulled over” for something else.)
HB79 awaits consideration by the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.
Many believe it is a good idea to wear a seat belt in a moving car, but this does not make seat belt enforcement a good reason for a police officer to pull someone over. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB79.
HB105, “Antidiscrimination Modifications,” sponsored by Representative Miller, would expand the scope of antidiscrimination statute by including pregnancy, childbirth, pregnancy-related conditions, breastfeeding, or medical conditions related to breastfeeding in certain provisions related to:
Thus HB105 would add to the list of factors (already including race, color, sex, age in certain circumstances, religion, national origin, and disability) that businesses may not use to discriminate in their hiring and other practices.
HB105 currently awaits consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.
HB105 would add unwarranted regulations to our marketplace and unwarranted invasions of the property rights of business owners. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB105.
SJR6, “Joint Resolution Urging Congress to Support Equity and Sales Tax Fairness,” sponsored by Senator Harper, would:
SJR6 awaits consideration by the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.
It seems to us that there is nothing stopping states from imposing a sales tax on vendors within their states . . . even when the sales are to residents outside of their own state. But the high-sales-tax states are confronted with this uncomfortable truth: consumers are often attracted to lower prices and, therefore, may be attracted to make purchases from vendors in low-sales-tax states. We believe that Congress should not go out of its way to help states get around this uncomfortable truth. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SJR6.
Given the possibility of significant amendments to bills, as well as other factors, the GrassRoots positions given in this letter are preliminary, not final positions. If you have any questions about these bills, GrassRoots’ position on these bills, or related matters, please contact either of us or any other member of the Board of Utah GrassRoots.
Chairman, Utah GrassRoots
PS Do you want to contact a legislator? Go to le.utah.gov and click on “Legislators”.
Do you want to read and follow legislation yourself? Go to le.utah.gov and click on “2015 General Session Page” then click on “2015 Bills”.
Do you have other questions about how to effectively participate in the political process? Please contact us, and we will try to help as appropriate.
Do you have friends that would appreciate this legislative update? Please feel free to forward it to them.
Would you like to help us with review of legislation in a small or large way? Consider taking a special look at bills sponsored by your own representative or senator. Please contact us with your findings and/or with any questions we might be able to help you with.
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