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LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

As Legislative Chair of URSEA I try to follow mostly education related bills during the Utah Legislature’s session, and contact legislators with my assessment. I send the e-mails to a list of other people who want my comments, and I ask them to contact their legislators about the bills/issues, whether they agree with my assessment or not, letting their legislators know how they feel about the bills. I get most of my information at the legislature’s web site, le.utah.gov, which is pretty user friendly. One can get all of the information on a bill by simply putting the bill number at the top of the screen: name of bill, wording of bill, status of the bill. I also get some information from the UEA web site "Under the Dome", http://www.myuea.org/issues_action/uea_under_the_dome.aspx.

Below are the messages I have sent during the 2018 Session:  

       -Fred Ash, Legislative Chair of the URSEA

May 10, 2018

Dear Senator Hatch and Representative Love, 

 I read in the paper today that Senator Hatch is co-sponsoring the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018, which involves a lot of the San Rafael Swell.

 My family and friends have camped in the San Rafael Reef public lands area for about 30 years, mostly in a wash a few miles north +of Goblin Valley, a Temple Mt. Wash. It is a popular spot for campers who like to camp in open areas.

 I haven’t read the bill, and don’t know anything about it other than what was in the paper. My concern is the statement in the paper that said “The bill proposes moving 436,643 acres of wilderness study areas in Emery County into permanent wilderness areas and expanding them to 577,986 acres.”

 This is my concern. When I was introduced to that area, we camped with a large group in a little bowl up the wash. There was and is a graded road up that wash, probably initially leading to a uranium mine at the top of the wash. Our camp site was on the east side of the road, in the bowl.

 Several years later, when we arrived at our camp spot on the east side, where we and others had camped for many years, we found that it had been designated “wilderness study.” We also noticed that another area , a little wash just south of our bowl, where there was a less traveled road, had also been closed to motor vehicles and camping because it was now a “wilderness study” area. We wondered how that could happen when both areas had been used by campers for many years.

 Fortunately, the west side of our little bowl hadn’t been closed off, so we were able to often camp there, which has been more difficult in recent years, as the campers have increased.

 I wished then and do now, that there could be another kind of designation of public lands that would prevent them from being privatized and taken away from public use, as can presently be done with public lands; but would at the same time keep them public, not able to be made into a camp-for-fee area, not able to be made into wilderness designation, preventing motor vehicles or camping, not able to be made into a national or state park. Besides taking away camping opportunities for young families, wilderness designation takes away many scenic opportunities for disabled or older people.

 So I hope that the bill doesn’t automatically make wilderness of all of the designated wilderness study areas, instead returning some of those study areas (especially our old camp spot) back to be regular public lands with normal guidelines for use, such as when ATV’s can be used, etc.

 Thanks for your service. Please take my concern seriously.

   Sincerely,

   Fred Ash, Legislative Chair of the Utah Retired School Employees Association



NEEDED: VICE PRESIDENT

Ladies and Gents,

The URSEA (Utah Retired School Employees Association) costs $1 a month to be a member. Members qualify for many benefits. One of the neat things the association does is give four or more $1000 scholarships each year to teachers for getting further education, two in elementary and two in secondary. The people who were doing the selection are no longer able to do the job, due to health issues, so we need someone to step up and help.

One of the people who cannot do the job any more was the Vice President, so we now need a Vice President, who helps with the scholarship selection.. I have been asked to do that, but I am presently the Legislative Chair, and unless someone is willing to come in and be the Legislative Chair, which entails following important (mostly education related) bills during the legislative session and sharing information with interested members, and doing an article for the quarterly bulletin, I prefer to stay as the Legislative Chair.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please let me know and I will make sure that person is informed as to responsibilities, etc.

Sincerely,
Fred Ash

February 7, 2018

Dear Legislators,
I hope the year has started okay for you. Here is my first comment of the year, for what its worth.
H.B. 135 EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION AMENDMENTS
Chief Sponsor: Michael E. Noel
Basically, at present, state law gives a city the right to construct waterworks to provide drinking water for a city, and to exercise “Extraterritorial jurisdiction” to maintain the purity of the water source within 15 miles of the city and within 300 feet from the water source. This bill essentially takes that right away from the cities, and places the Extraterritorial jurisdiction in the hands of The Department of Environmental Quality and the local health department, and specifically removes the 15 mile, and 300 feet limits. My guess is that many years ago, it became evident that specific rules needed to be put in place to protect cities’ watersheds as the population grew, so the law was enacted. And my guess is that some of the land within that 15 miles is now owned, with private dwellings, and those land owners don’t like having to abide by the rules established to protect the purity of the watershed, even though when they purchased the land, or tried to develop it, they were instructed as to what the rules are. So the sponsor of this bill would override the right and power of the city with the power of the state so that the landowners could better have their wants met.
The bill does give The Department of Environmental Quality and the local health department authority to establish standards and administer controls to maintain water quality in watersheds to protect human health, etc, but I question how much influence the local health departments will have in the decisions, and whether the state DEQ will empathize with the individual cities. Another micro-management of a local rights/responsibilities by our State Legislature.
I hope the bill doesn’t pass as is.

February 10, 2018

Dear legislators,
I have studied HB136 by Rep. Noel, and HB255 by Rep. Colman. I admit I don’t fully understand all of the small print.
HB 136 doesn’t seem to actually totally remove local control of municipal property, mostly forcing potential sales/transfers of state property to Federal lands to be first reviewed by Rep Noel’s Legislative Management Committee for review of the agreement or proposal. And that the Legislative Management Committee may recommend that the governmental entity execute the agreement or proposal, recommend that the governmental entity reject the agreement or proposal; or recommend to the governor that the governor call a special session of the Legislature to review and approve or reject the agreement or proposal. It doesn’t totally take away the rights/responsibilities of the local entity. But it definitely omits any kind of required action should the local entity be considering a shift from federal control to state control. I have openly stated that I do not trust the motives of some legislators when they fight so hard to get federal lands put into the hands of the state. I have been back east where there are no public lands, and I didn’t like what it felt like, and I know why when new states were approved, public lands were part of the agreements. So I suspect the motives of this bill.
HB255 was a bit longer and harder to understand. But if what I have been told, that this bill prohibits the use of watershed or open space dollars outside of a city’s municipal boundaries, I don’t like this bill. I think that there are times when municipalities need to be able to get together to accomplish things that they can’t do individually, like the way they did to protect Bonanza Flat a couple years ago. I don’t want all of our canyons developed, locked out of the use of the public. Also, this is another instance of a bill that would take away the rights/responsibilities of local entities. So I don’t think we need this bill as written.
 

February 15, 1018

Re: H.B. 299 STATE INCOME AND SALES TAX REDUCTION --Chief Sponsor: Mike Schultz

Dear Legislators, 
This bill would take effect on March 1, 2019, if, between the date of this bill's passage and March 1, 2019 the state's individual income tax rate increases by .45% or more, and the state's sales and use tax rate increases by .45% or more.
Rep Schultz’s Home Builders responsibilities must have been pretty slow for him to take the time it must have taken to draft this bill. Clearly the bill is intended to use the additional revenue – if the initiative passes – to add funding for transportation and water infrastructure, both of which do indeed need more funding, instead of using the additional revenue to increase funding for public schools, which if the initiative passes is the will of the people of the state.
I hope he is just playing with us, and is actually just being sarcastic. If he is not being sarcastic, instead of again robbing the public education fund, as was done when higher ed was allowed to share the Public Education Fund, and when the single rate tax was approved.; instead of doing that again, he should be spending his time finding ways to fund the increased needs of transportation and water infrastructure.
I hope no one takes this bill seriously, and it is thrown under the rug forever.
Sincerely,
Fred Ash, URSEA Legislative Chair

February 22, 2018

Dear Legislators,

The end of the session is coming soon, and I know how much more things heat up now, so I hope you are able to handle the added stress. In addition to my URSEA duties, I am a member of the WSLC, and in the last couple of weeks we have had presentations pro and con on several interesting issues. This is my opinion after having those discussions and studying the bills/initiative.
Fred Ash, Legislative Chair of the URSEA
H.B. 196 BREASTFEEDING PROTECTION ACT, Chief Sponsor: Justin L. Fawson, Senate Sponsor: Deidre M. Henderson.
 This bill basically prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy in places of public accommodation, and permits a woman to breast feed in any place of public accommodation.
I think this bill is far overdue. Please support this bill.
THE “OUR SCHOOLS NOW” INITIATIVE would basically restore about $700 million to the Education Fund, not quite as much as has been removed each year for the last 20+ years, since higher ed was allowed to share funds from the Education Fund in 1996, and since the single rate tax was approved in 2008, and other tax changes.
25% of the increase could be used to raise teacher salaries, and the rest to reduce class size, improve counseling conditions, support staff, early childhood education, any other purpose reasonably designed to improve student performance that is approved by the local school board. I listened to both sides of the issue at a WSLC meeting. As usual those opposed to the initiative exaggerated the cost to the majority of tax payers. The State Auditor would increase teacher salaries for teachers of math and science and special ed without increasing tax revenue, which would in effect take money away from teachers of other needed subjects, and he assured everyone that none of the Education Fund revenue can be used for other state purposes, such as roads, which is totally false, as the legislature just allows higher ed to use more of the Education Fund, so more money is left in the General Fund for roads and other state needs, and less money is left for public education. And this morning while I was present in a short meeting with the Lieutenant Governor, he expressed optimism about increased revenue for additional funding for Schools, but then he expressed concern that the legislature would move some of the available Education Funds around as I have just described it.
While the $700 million would restore some of the funding that has been lost, it wouldn’t be enough to completely solve the problems we are now experiencing in public education. The whole initiative process wouldn’t be necessary if the legislature would take steps to restore funding for public education in a secure process, but that doesn’t appear to be in the books. So if the Initiative becomes necessary, I hope it passes.
H.B. 41 MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS LINE AMENDMENTS. Chief Sponsor: Steve Eliason, Senate Sponsor: Daniel W. Thatcher
This bill addresses the operation of the statewide mental health crisis line and local mental health crisis lines. This bill basically directs the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (division) to enter into or modify contracts to provide the statewide mental health crisis line, requires the division to ensure that the statewide mental health crisis line meets certain staffing and operational standards, in cooperation with counties. There is no fiscal note, which I wonder about, as to accomplish what the bill wants there will obviously be expenses for the state as well as counties. But with the number of teen suicides in our state, it is clear that we need to be doing more to make sure there are sufficient counseling and treatment options readily available for teens with major problems. So I hope our legislature supports this bill.

February 26, 2018

Dear Legislators, 

Again, I appreciate your efforts. Here are some comments you may or may not need or want. You have had so many bills to work through this year, maybe it is time to look at a way to limit the number of bills you have to deal with in a session. Enjoy your last two weeks that look like might extend into a special session.
  Sincerely, Fred Ash, URSEA Legislative Chair
H.B. 225, INITIATIVES, REFERENDA, AND OTHER POLITICAL ACTIVITIES, 3rd Sub.
Chief Sponsor: Brad M. Daw
This bill amends provisions of the Election Code relating to initiatives, referenda, and
political activities of public entities.
It is a long and very detailed bill. It looks to me like Rep Daw doesn’t like or trust initiatives or referendums at the local level or at the state level. His bill basically makes sure that arguments for and against such political actions are required to be published in a timely manner with very specific detailed guidelines, etc.
At the state level, I would think it would be good to require general guidelines for local entities to follow, but I think the specifics should be left up to the local entities.
While the intent might be good, I think this goes too far, makes sponsoring an initiative or referendum much more difficult than necessary. So I hope you don’t support this.
S.B. 171 INTERVENTION Ŝ→ [AS A MATTER OF RIGHT] ←Ŝ AMENDMENTS, Chief Sponsor: J. Stuart Adams, House Sponsor: John Knotwell
This bill basically provides that the Legislature has an unconditional right to intervene in a state court action [when] if a party to that court action challenges the constitutionality of a state statute; the validity of legislation; or any action of the Legislature; and requires the attorney general to provide notice to the legislative general counsel in writing within three business days after the day on which the attorney general is officially notified of a claim filed in state or federal court, that challenges the constitutionality of a state statute.
I am not a lawyer, but it appears that the legislature has its own lawyers (legislative general counsel), and the attorney general is the governor’s lawyer. I think there is a legal process in most court actions, and I don’t think it is a good idea for our legislature to be trying to pass laws that mandate how a judge runs his court.
Our state constitution in most respects follows the pattern of our national constitution, with its separation of powers. This bill seems to be an attempt to give the legislature more power in the process than was intended.
Of course I could be really off base on this. But I don’t feel good about this bill.

February 27, 2018


H.B. 264 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELOR PROGRAM, Chief Sponsor: Steve Eliason

Senate Sponsor: Howard A. Stephenson

This bill authorizes the State Board of Education (board) to award grants to local education agencies to provide targeted school-based mental health supports in schools with a high percentage of students experiencing intergenerational poverty.

There is no money appropriated in this Bill, and it specifies that to receive a grant, the school district must agree to provide local funds to match grant funds received under this section in an amount equal to one-half of the amount of the grant funds. So I wonder how the grants will be funded.

I think this is a great use of state and local funds. I hope there is sufficient funding provided for public education during this session to fund this program without causing more problems in improving compensation for teachers, improving classroom conditions, and reducing class sizes.


February 28, 2018

Dear Legislators, 

S.B. 234 UTAH INLAND PORT AUTHORITY and H.B. 471 INITIATIVE AMENDMENTS  

I hope you are having fun, knowing that the end is coming soon. My comments for what they are worth. 

Sincerely, Fred Ash Legislative Chair of the URSEA

S.B. 234 UTAH INLAND PORT AUTHORITY, Chief Sponsor: Jerry W. Stevenson

This bill creates the Utah Inland Port Authority, establishes the duties, responsibilities, and powers of the Utah Inland Port Authority, establishes a board to govern the port authority and provides for the board with only two representatives from SLC , requires the port authority board to hire an executive director defines land that is under the jurisdiction of the port authority, authorizes the port authority to work to establish an inland port and a foreign trade zone.

It essentially uses state eminent domain to seize a section of Salt Lake City.

I am tired of the way our “leaders” are continuing to do everything they can to increase the number of businesses in our valley which is already experiencing the problems of congested traffic everywhere, over-priced housing, shrinking water supply, cost of maintaining roads and updating other infrastructure, insufficient revenue to properly fund schools and law enforcement. When are they going to stop?

I strongly oppose this bill.

H.B. 471 INITIATIVE AMENDMENTS Chief Sponsor: Brad M. Daw

This bill changes the effective date of laws enacted by a statewide initiative petition if the law effectuates a tax increase. Instead of 60 days it will not go into effect until January 1 of the year following the annual general session of the Legislature next following the election.

I am not sure why this bill is necessary. And I was surprised to find that while an initiative passed by the people cannot be vetoed by the governor, it still has to be passed by the legislature by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house of the Legislature.

Initiatives are hard to do in Utah. And from my experience they are only tried when it appears that the legislature will not do what a strong majority of citizens feel needs to be done. So why, if the legislature actually has to approve the initiative in the first place, is there a need to postpone its implementation?

I strongly question the necessity of this bill.


February 28, 2018

Dear Legislators,
My comments about this bill, for what they are worth.
Sincerely, Fred Ash
 
H.B. 264 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELOR PROGRAM, Chief Sponsor: Steve Eliason
Senate Sponsor: Howard A. Stephenson
This bill authorizes the State Board of Education (board) to award grants to local education agencies to provide targeted school-based mental health supports in schools with a high percentage of students experiencing intergenerational poverty.
There is no money appropriated in this Bill, and it specifies that to receive a grant, the school district must agree to provide local funds to match grant funds received under this section in an amount equal to one-half of the amount of the grant funds. So I wonder how the grants will be funded.
I think this is a great use of state and local funds. I hope there is sufficient funding provided for public education during this session to fund this program without causing more problems in improving compensation for teachers, improving classroom conditions, and reducing class sizes.

 February 28, 2018


S.B. 234 UTAH INLAND PORT AUTHORITY and H.B. 471 INITIATIVE AMENDMENTS

Dear Legislators,
I hope you are having fun, knowing that the end is coming soon. My comments for what they are worth.
Sincerely, Fred Ash Legislative Chair of the URSEA
S.B. 234 UTAH INLAND PORT AUTHORITY, Chief Sponsor: Jerry W. Stevenson
This bill creates the Utah Inland Port Authority, establishes the duties, responsibilities, and powers of the Utah Inland Port Authority, establishes a board to govern the port authority and provides for the board with only two representatives from SLC , requires the port authority board to hire an executive director defines land that is under the jurisdiction of the port authority, authorizes the port authority to work to establish an inland port and a foreign trade zone.
It essentially uses state eminent domain to seize a section of Salt Lake City.
I am tired of the way our “leaders” are continuing to do everything they can to increase the number of businesses in our valley which is already experiencing the problems of congested traffic everywhere, over-priced housing, shrinking water supply, cost of maintaining roads and updating other infrastructure, insufficient revenue to properly fund schools and law enforcement. When are they going to stop?
I strongly oppose this bill.
H.B. 471 INITIATIVE AMENDMENTS Chief Sponsor: Brad M. Daw
This bill changes the effective date of laws enacted by a statewide initiative petition if the law effectuates a tax increase. Instead of 60 days it will not go into effect until January 1 of the year following the annual general session of the Legislature next following the election.
I am not sure why this bill is necessary. And I was surprised to find that while an initiative passed by the people cannot be vetoed by the governor, it still has to be passed by the legislature by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house of the Legislature.
Initiatives are hard to do in Utah. And from my experience they are only tried when it appears that the legislature will not do what a strong majority of citizens feel needs to be done. So why, if the legislature actually has to approve the initiative in the first place, is there a need to postpone its implementation?
I strongly question the necessity of this bill.

March 1, 2018


S.J.R. 16 PROPOSAL TO AMEND UTAH CONSTITUTION -- PUBLIC EDUCATION GOVERNANCE, Chief Sponsor: Jim Dabakis

Dear Legislators, 
This joint resolution proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to eliminate the State Board of Education's general control and supervision of the public education system and provide for the general control and supervision of the public education system to be
vested in a state superintendent of public instruction, appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate.
This resolution must be Democrat Senator Dabakis’ gift to the majority party of the state. It totally does what a majority of our legislators over the past many years have been trying to do to the management of our public education system. If such an amendment were to actually be approved by the state’s voters, instead of an illegally partisan selected and elected State School Board, we would have a legally governor-appointed Superintendent in charge of the whole system, even more politically motivated and generated than the partisan systems our state courts have consistently ruled unconstitutional. 
If the now retiring senator really wanted to benefit the Utah education system’s governance, he would submit a bill that would clearly spell out that the Legislature’s primary role in the system is to provide funding, and as our constitution says, “The general control and supervision of the Public School System shall be vested in a State Board of Education, consisting of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and such other persons as the Legislature may provide.”
Sincerely, Fred Ash Legislative Chair of the URSEA


March 1, 2018


Dear Legislators, 

My comments for what they are worth. Thanks for your service to the state.

Fred Ash Legislative Chair of the URSEA

S.B. 27 1st Sub. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE, AND

STALKING AMENDMENTS, Chief Sponsor: Todd Weiler, House Sponsor: Angela Romero

This bill modifies/clarifies provisions related to domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

H.B. 333 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESPONSE AMENDMENTS, Chief Sponsor: Robert M. Spendlove, Senate Sponsor: Curtis S. Bramble . This bill increases the seriousness of crime for an individual who knowingly commits a second or subsequent violation of a jail release court order or jail release agreement, especially in a domestic violence.

H.B. 165 1st Sub. PRETRIAL RELEASE AMENDMENTS, Chief Sponsor: Angela Romero, Senate Sponsor: Todd Weiler

 This bill modifies pretrial release provisions including conditions for release after arrest for domestic violence.

It is apparent that the way domestic violence is dealt with is not sufficiently defined and often leaves victims in threatening circumstances. So there is a need for better clarification of the nature and seriousness of the reported domestic violence, and more consistent enforcement. It seems that each of these bills hits on a slightly different angle, and tightens up and clarifies the enforcement process. And the fact that Senator Weiler and Angela Romero are co-sponsors of SB27 and HB165 tells me that the two bills for some reason cannot be put together as a single bill. So I support these bills.

March 2, 2018

H.B. 481 DONALD J. TRUMP UTAH NATIONAL PARKS HIGHWAY DESIGNATION Chief Sponsor: Michael E. Noel

Dear Legislators, March 2

This bill renames the Utah National Parks Highway to the Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway.

If Rep. Noel wants to change the name of the National Parks highway, he should suggest that it be changed to the Theodore Roosevelt Highway. That is the person we have to thank for our national parks, not President Trump. Putting President Trump’s name on that highway would just be an invitation for vandalism. Makes me wonder if Rep. Noel told President Trump that if he would shrink or abolish the Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase monuments he would have a highway named for him.

Please do not support this bill.

Sincerely, Fred Ash URSEA Legislative Chair

March 3, 2018

H.B. 388 K-12 PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDING ALLOCATION ASSURANCEChief Sponsor: LaVar Christensen

Dear Legislators,

This bill provides that an annual allocation from the Education Fund for K-12 education as a minimum funding level assurance of at least 90%, etc.

Ever since the constitution was changed to allow higher ed to share the Education Fund, instead of raising other taxes as needed to cover other state funding needs, such as social services, roads, etc. our legislature has gradually increased the percentage of funding allocated to higher ed from the Education Fund, freeing up a comparable amount of revenue in the General Fund to help cover other funding needs. That practice has reduced the level of funding for public ed significantly each year. In 1996, our state was ranked about 10th in the nation in effort to fund public ed (percent of income going to public ed). Now we are ranked about 32nd. According to the Budget of the State of Utah 2017 and 2018 information, each of the last two years, approximately 22% of the Education Fund has gone to higher ed. If this bill had been in place for the 2017 budget, public ed would have gotten $460 million more; and in 2018 public ed would have gotten over $500 million more. I know that Utah voters would not have approved the constitutional change allowing higher ed to share the Education Fund had they known that such a change would result in lowering the level of funding for public ed, especially as it has done. If this bill were passed there would be less need for the Schools Now Initiative. I strongly support this bill.

Sincerely, Fred Ash JRSEA Legislative Chair


March 8, 2018


H.J.R. 20 JOINT RESOLUTION SUBMITTING A QUESTION TO VOTERS, Chief Sponsor: Rebecca P. Edwards, Senate Sponsor: Lincoln Fillmore

This joint resolution directs the lieutenant governor to present an opinion question to the legal voters of the state to determine whether the voters support an increase in motor and special fuel tax rates for public education and local roads.

Dear Legislators,

I don’t understand why such a decision to raise gas taxes has to be placed on the ballot. This is something our legislature should have been doing the last 20 years on a regular basis to cover the additional costs of roads land other infrastructure caused by Utah’s increased population, about 40% of which is move-in growth to provide workers for the many new businesses that our legislature has lured into our state through incentives and bragging about how good our education system is while they have continued to under fund our public education system.

But if it has to be this way, I hope our legislators will be honest in their presentation by telling the voters that this tax increase is not a tax increase for education, but that it is an increase of funds for the General Fund so that that amount of revenue will not have to be taken out of the Education Fund for roads and infrastructure by funding more and more of higher ed from the Education Fund, which in the last two years has been approximately 22%..

I wish that in the process, LaVar Christensen’s proposed bill H.B.388 to limit higher ed’s share of the Education Fund to 10% would pass so we could be assured that the increased revenue would be directed to public ed, where the money is most needed.

    Sincerely,

      Fred Ash, Legislative Chair of the URSEA


March 9, 2018

H.J.R. 20 JOINT RESOLUTION SUBMITTING A QUESTION TO VOTERS, Chief Sponsor: Rebecca P. Edwards, Senate Sponsor: Lincoln Fillmore

This joint resolution directs the lieutenant governor to present an opinion question to the legal voters of the state to determine whether the voters support an increase in motor and special fuel tax rates for public education and local roads.

Dear Legislators,

I don’t understand why such a decision to raise gas taxes has to be placed on the ballot. This is something our legislature should have been doing the last 20 years on a regular basis to cover the additional costs of roads land other infrastructure caused by Utah’s increased population, about 40% of which is move-in growth to provide workers for the many new businesses that our legislature has lured into our state through incentives and bragging about how good our education system is while they have continued to under fund our public education system.

But if it has to be this way, I hope our legislators will be honest in their presentation by telling the voters that this tax increase is not a tax increase for education, but that it is an increase of funds for the General Fund so that that amount of revenue will not have to be taken out of the Education Fund for roads and infrastructure by funding more and more of higher ed from the Education Fund, which in the last two years has been approximately 22%... I wish that in the process, LaVar Christensen’s proposed bill H.B.388 to limit higher ed’s share of the Education Fund to 10% would pass so we could be assured that the increased revenue would be directed to public ed, where the money is most needed.

Sincerely,

Fred Ash, Legislative Chair of the URSEA


I can’t find his exact reply to that note, but it said basically, “Fred, why do you say ‘dishonest’ ? You know that the increase is for public education funding.”

Ladies and Gents,

Got this from the governor's office. I still wish he had vetoed the bill

 Fred


3/21/2018

Dear Fred,

Thank you for contacting the Office of the Governor regarding SB 234 (2018) Utah Inland Port Authority. Governor Herbert signed this bill into law as of Friday, March 16, 2018. However, our office invites you to read the attached companion letter Governor Herbert sent to Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Speaker of the House Greg Hughes. The letter articulates the governor's reasons for his decision, recommendations for next steps, and his willingness to modify and improve the bill going forward.

It is constituent input - yours - that informs public policy and propels our state to success.

We realize you may disagree with the decision made today; however, we encourage you to remain involved and in contact with your state legislators to provide recommendations for how this law can be refined. You can find who represents you, and their contact information, at https://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp

We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. We thank you for your civic engagement, and for communicating with our office.

Kind regards, 

Kelli Lucero 
Constituent Services 



Ladies and Gents,

I just sent this to Governor Herbert. It would be nice if more people would contact him about this bill.

Fred 


Governor Herbert,

Yes, it would be nice to have Utah Lake rejuvenated, but at the cost of having not only more development around the lake and an unbelievable housing development in the middle of the lake. The Inland Port land transfer is enough for one year.

Please veto HB272. Please.

Fred Ash, Legislative Chair of the URSEA



Just got this reply from the governor.

Fred


3/23/2018

Dear Fred, 

Thank you for contacting the Office of the Governor regarding HB 272 (2018) Utah Lake Amendments. I have been asked to respond on behalf of Governor Herbert.

Governor Herbert signed this bill into law on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. The environmental rehabilitation of Utah Lake is an important goal for Governor Herbert. By signing this bill, Governor Herbert is not endorsing a particular project, but he does not want to stand in the way of an innovative approach to improve the condition of Utah Lake.

Please know that any future plans for restoration and rehabilitation of Utah Lake will be thoroughly reviewed by the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Natural Resources.

Governor Herbert is a strong advocate for technological and innovative approaches to enhancing the environmental quality of Utah.

Again, we appreciate your participation in state government. It is your input that continues to help our state be successful.

Kind regards,

Kelli Lucero 
Constituent Services