Senator Wilson 2022 Newsletters

 


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Week three of the session is complete! So far, 535 bills have been numbered and 58 of those bills have passed in both the House and the Senate. With only four weeks left in the session, we have a lot of work to do, but we are making great progress. Below is an update on what I’ve personally been working on, some special recognition and notices we made on the Senate floor, and a summary of a handful of bills we considered this week. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the great people of Cache and Rich Counties and appreciate your feedback and support.

Wireless Communication Device in a Motor Vehicle
S.B. 102 Wireless Communication Device in a Motor Vehicle prohibits an individual from using a wireless communication device to view or take a photograph while operating a motor vehicle with certain exceptions such as using GPS, medical emergencies and reporting a safety hazard or criminal activity. If this bill passes, those who violate these provisions are at risk of a suspended driver’s license. I presented S.B. 102 in the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee, and it passed with a favorable recommendation. It will now be considered on the Senate floor. Listen to the committee presentation here.
Bear Lake Marina Presentation
Last Thursday morning I had the opportunity to present a request for funding for an expansion of the Bear Lake State Park Marina.  This is an important project for both my Rich County constituents as well as people throughout the state of Utah who enjoy recreating on Bear Lake every year! I was grateful for the group that was involved with this request.
From left to right: State Parks Director Jeff Rasmussen, Rich County Commissioner Bill Cox, Myself, Representative Birkeland, Garden City Mayor Mike Leonhardt, UDOT Commissioner Ronda Menlove, Garden City City Council Martell Menlove, Rich County Chamber of Commerce Mark Smoot.
Special recognition and public notices:

Omphalocele Awareness Day
On Monday, we recognized those born with an omphalocele birth defect and the medical professionals who assist children and their families following a diagnosis. An omphalocele occurs when one major organ is formed outside an individual’s body. Those with an omphalocele birth defect often spend months in the NICU and experience lifelong health challenges. We recognized individuals directly impacted by an omphalocele diagnosis for their strength and determination despite their difficult circumstances. Read the citation here.

Unclaimed Property
Tuesday, February 1, was National Unclaimed Property Day. One in five Utahns have lost money, and each year the state receives tens of millions of dollars of Utahns’ lost money and tangible property. At the end of 2021, we received $66.7 million in lost property online, waiting to be claimed. I encourage each of you to search our state’s unclaimed property database at mycash.utah.gov for any unclaimed property you, your family, friends, deceased relatives or organizations might have.

National Board Certified Teachers
This week, we were happy to recognize 30 wonderful teachers who have gone the extra mile to become National Board Certified Teachers. National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in education and goes beyond required state licensure. We commend these teachers for their efforts and wish them continued success in their professional endeavors.

Fallen Officers
Thursday afternoon, we expressed our heartfelt gratitude for the brave first responders who gave their lives protecting Utahns across the state by joining their families and friends in a moment of silence on the Senate floor. We are blessed to live in a state with such incredible individuals willing to give their all on our behalf. Read the citation here.

I was able to present my bill, S.B. 115 Firearm Preemption Amendments on the Senate Floor, which passed on third reading.
Highlights of other legislation considered this week:

Ballot Amendments 
Election ballots, especially longer ballots, are expensive to print. Currently, the legal language of each referendum or ballot initiative is printed on election ballots in its entirety, which considerably increases printing costs. Not only are longer election ballots costly to print, but it has been found that the longer a ballot is, the more difficult it is for the average voter to understand.

S.B. 38 Ballot Amendments would allow initiatives and referenda to be summarized in plain language on the ballot while also referring the voter to a separate insert or website containing the entire initiative or referendum text. We estimate this change will save the state almost $500,000 per election. S.B. 38 passed in the Senate and House and will now be considered by the governor. Listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.

Voting History Amendments 
In 2020, 30% of voters were not listed on voter roles because they chose to keep their information private. This discrepancy caused some individuals to worry about election transparency and integrity.  S.B. 32 Voting History Amendments will remove the discrepancy by requiring an election officer to, when reporting voting history for an election, include certain information relating to a voter whose voter registration is classified as private, without disclosing the identity of the voter. S.B. 32 passed in the Senate and the House and will now be considered by the governor. Listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.

School Board Expansion Requirements
Utah is the fastest growing state in the nation. This growth has made it difficult for school districts to predict where population growth will occur. In high growth areas, equal school board representation can be a problem. For example, in Jordan School District, one of the seven school board members represents half of the households in the district as a result of uneven population growth.

S.B. 78 School Board Expansion Requirements would allow local school boards to expand when population growth warrants it. S.B. 78 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Listen to the Senate floor presentation here.

Electronic Vehicle Registration Amendments
S.B. 99 Electronic Vehicle Registration Amendments would permit a driver to display a photograph of a registration card on a mobile device instead of showing a paper form. This change would follow similar laws already in place for showing proof of insurance on a mobile device. The Senate passed S.B. 99, and the House will now consider the bill. Listen to the floor presentation here.

Bereavement Leave Amendments
The Senate passed S.B. 63 Bereavement Leave Amendments, which extends Utah’s current three-day paid bereavement leave to mothers and fathers who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth. State, county and municipal governments will now be required to provide paid bereavement leave to these employees just as they have previously done for employees who have lost immediate family members in any other circumstances. S.B. 63 is the first bereavement amendment of its kind in the U.S. and recognizes that parents need time away from work to mourn and recover from their loss. S.B. 63 passed in the Senate and will now be considered by the House. Listen to the Senate floor presentation here. Learn more about the bill here.

Military Vehicle License Plate Amendments
Some people purchase surplus military vehicles to maintain the vehicle’s original condition and preserve its unique nature and history. Under current state law, these vehicles cannot be driven without an attached license plate. However, some of these vehicles do not have a place for an exterior license plate. S.B. 77 Military Vehicle License Plate Amendments allows an exemption from the requirement to display a license plate on a military vehicle and allows drivers to keep the license plates inside the car. This bill is patterned after laws in other states, and helps keep these vehicles in pristine condition. S.B. 77 passed in the Senate and will now be considered by the House. Listen to the Senate floor presentation here.

Cosmetic Manufacturing Certificate Program
Many jurisdictions outside the United States require a good manufacturing practices (GMP) certificate for certain imported cosmetic goods. Countries use this certificate to give assurance about manufacturing standards. However, there is no effective process in Utah for companies to obtain GMP certificates. This issue specifically affects our essential oils industry. S.B. 83 Cosmetic Manufacturing Certificate Program creates a program where the Utah Department of Agriculture would oversee the process of issuing a GMP certificate, helping Utah cosmetic companies participate in international markets. S.B. 83 passed in the Senate and will now be considered by the House. Listen to the Senate floor presentation here.

Election Schedule Amendments
This year the candidate filing period falls in the middle of caucus. Attendees may not know who is running for each office when they meet, which could cause confusion. S.B. 170 Election Schedule Amendments, fulfills requests from leaders of the Utah Republican Party, the Utah Democratic Party and county clerks to move the candidate filing period to before the caucus dates. This change will prevent possible confusion in the democratic process. Additionally, after reviewing other states’ election filing deadlines and working with both major party officers, starting in 2024, this bill will move the filing and intent to gather signatures period to the week before the general legislative session. S.B. 170 will be heard by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Read more here.

Public School Curriculum Requirements 
S.B. 114 Public School Curriculum Requirements establishes an open process for parents to review and recommend instructional materials for board approval. This bill requires:

  1. Parental involvement when school boards consider changes to district-wide curriculum resources that are pre-approved by the board.
  1. A public hearing before a board adopts and approves district-wide materials and resources.
  1. School districts to inform teachers and parents of the district’s own standards for supplemental materials that teachers can select.

This bill does not place restrictions on the materials teachers may use or place any additional requirements on teachers. It does, however, grant parents the right to see and give their opinion on the materials considered by their local school boards or charter schools. S.B. 114 passed in the Senate Education Committee and will now be considered on the Senate floor. Listen to the committee presentation here.

Stay Connected
Thank you for your support and engagement. I look forward to hearing from you. Stay in touch regarding any questions, comments, or input.
Sincerely,
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Our mailing address is:
320 North State Street • Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last week was the beginning of Utah’s 45-day legislative session. During the first day of the 2022 General Session, we were honored to have Elder Gerrit W. Gong, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offer the opening invocation. Following the prayer, the Utah Highway Patrol Officer’s Color Guard presented the colors, and Jennie Taylor — widow of the former Mayor of Ogden, Maj. Brent Taylor — led the Pledge of Allegiance. We also heard an impressive rendition of the national anthem by Kaylee Bucio, a 5th grader from Riverside Elementary School.

During these ceremonies, I was filled with gratitude for our great state and county. Utah has a strong reputation of excellence, and I am proud to represent this great state. I am also extremely grateful for each of you. Over the next two months, my colleagues and I will gather to create new laws and establish budgets for essential programs and services. I look forward to representing you and our community throughout the remainder of this 45-day session.

President Adam’s Opening Remarks 

During the first Senate floor session, President Adams spoke on Utah’s resilience and progress in 2021. He recognized the struggles Utahns faced during the pandemic and thanked Utah Highway Patrol officers, healthcare workers and teachers for their continued sacrifice and service. Utah faced 2021 with durability and strength while maintaining a strong economy, a low unemployment rate and unbreakable community ties. President Adams also gifted a special coin to each senator with an engraving of Benjamin Franklin as a reminder of his influential leadership. I join President Adams in celebrating our great progress and potential as a state and thank each of you for your contribution to our success.

 

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

In 1991, Gov. Norm Bangerter established the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission. In 2019, the Utah Legislature codified the commission into state statute. Every year, the commission coordinates with governments, private organizations and schools to encourage ceremonies and activities which commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This week, people across the state celebrated Dr. King’s legacy with rallies, vigils, lectures and gatherings. I am committed to continuing the conversation on diversity, equity, and human rights throughout the year.

 

State of the State 

Each year, the governor gives a State of the State address to update the Legislature, Judicial Branch, Executive Branch and Utahns on the state’s successes and challenges. During his remarks, Gov. Cox encouraged Utahns not to give up on the idea of America and to come together and unite despite national polarization. Utah has been highly successful and serves as an example of a strong economy to the nation. Listen to the State of the State address here.

 

State of the Judiciary 

The mission of the Judiciary is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law. During the annual State of the Judiciary address, Utah Chief Justice Matthew Durrant stated that this mission focuses on innovation in the courts during COVID-19 that will continue after the pandemic. Listen to the State of the Judiciary address here.

Test-To-Stay 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained committed to saving lives, livelihoods and kids’ education. Due to the Omicron variant and its accompanying new challenges, a pivot is necessary in our state’s COVID-19 response. The test-to-stay program was originally utilized to decrease the spread among students. However, because of the fast-spreading nature of Omicron, testing is not working as intended, and it is time to adjust.

H.B.183 In Person Learning Amendments makes changes to in-person learning provisions in Utah public schools, specifically regarding test-to-stay. The bill codifies the suspension of test-to-stay, helping alleviate strains on our students, educators, schools and testing capacity. H.B. 183 passed the Senate and is continuing through the legislative process.

 

Animal Shelter Revisions 

The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee discussed S.B. 69 Animal Shelter Revisions, a bill that would make it illegal for animal shelters to use gas chambers to euthanize animals. Additionally, this bill implements a euthanasia training program for animal control officers. The intent of this bill is to make the euthanization process more humane without creating a financial burden for animal shelters or putting workers at risk. Listen to the discussion of the bill here.

 

S.J.R. 3 – Government Mandates 

The government’s role is not to tell Utahns or businesses how to manage their lives. Almost one-third of our state was affected by Salt Lake and Summit counties’ mask mandate, which placed individuals, schools and businesses in difficult situations to enforce mask adherence. Two years ago, we had very little information about the virus, we now know a lot more, and individuals have the data to make informed health decisions. Though I am a proponent of local government control, the mask mandates had an impact that went beyond the city and counties that issued them. Local control ultimately rests with individuals and families.

After hearing from numerous constituents and businesses affected by the government mandate, we took action by passing S.J.R. 3 Joint Resolution to Terminate Public Health Orders Pertaining to Face Coverings, giving the decision-making power back to individuals. The joint resolution ending the mask mandates passed the Senate and House and took effect immediately.

 

Protective Order and Stalking Injunction Expungement

When someone has a protective order or stalking injunction filed against them and it is dropped, under current Utah law, there is no way for an individual to expunge the charge. The incident remains on their permanent record, which can make it difficult for individuals who need to present a background check, such as in cases of employment.

S.B. 85 Protective Order and Stalking Injunction Expungement gives individuals an opportunity to have an order or injunction expunged. As part of that process, both parties would be notified and given the opportunity to argue for or against the expungement. S.B. 85 passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and will now be considered by the entire Senate. Listen to the committee presentation here.

I was honored to read in the names of the Mendon Youth Council members on the Senate Floor.They were an excellent group, and I loved meeting with them at the Capitol! If you are interested in visiting during the session, please reach out to my intern Decker Robison at drobison@le.utah.gov.
Stay Connected
Thank you for your support and engagement. I look forward to hearing from you. Stay in touch regarding any questions, comments, or input.
Sincerely,
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Our mailing address is:320 North State Street • Salt Lake City, Utah 84114Want to change how you receive these emails?You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

 

About
Utah State Legislature
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

January is not only the start of a new year, but it marks the beginning of Utah’s 45-day legislative session. During the next few months, legislators will gather to create new laws and establish budgets for essential programs and services.

Each year, we consider hundreds of proposals for legislative action, so we must prioritize our efforts based on input from our constituents. As I review bills, I want to know your priorities and expectations for the Legislature as your opinion matters to me. I am here to represent you and our community. I am providing a link to a survey that will help me identify the issues that matter most to you. Please take my survey at the link below. It should take about ten minutes to fill out. 

Survey

I will be sending a weekly newsletter update during the session. I have also been assigned a legislative intern, Decker Robison. He will keep me organized and ensure you’re being heard. You can reach Decker at drobison@le.utah.gov.

It is an honor to represent you once again.

Stay Connected
Thank you for your support and engagement. I look forward to hearing from you. Stay in touch regarding any questions, comments, or input.
Sincerely,
Facebook
Website
Our mailing address is:320 North State Street • Salt Lake City, Utah 84114