utah

Final Budget Negotiations Strip WPU, Opts for Funding Federal Building

Media Statement

 

 

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2016

 

Contact:    Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director

                       Utah House Democratic Caucus

                       801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov

 

Final Budget Negotiations Strip WPU, Opts for Funding Federal Building

 

Salt Lake City - Executive Appropriations Committee met tonight to work out the final details of funding projects for the state budget - including the rate at which individual students are funded in public education. Democrats moved to prioritize an increase in the WPU, as well as making college more affordable to underprivileged students. Those attempts were voted down, with student athlete stipends and state funding of a federal building taking precedence.

 

Representative Joel Briscoe said, “This critical budget process can be confusing or boring or both. The problem with this confusion is that a lot of people miss really important line items. We can fund education at the levels our students need, if we are willing to occasionally make the unpopular decision to stop funding projects that have little to no bearing on our state’s bottom line. If you want good schools you have to pay for them. If you want a good economy, you have to invest in the people that make it great. We have the money, but not the will.”


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Study on Gun Violence In Utah Moves Forward

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2016

Contact:         Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
                       Utah House Democratic Caucus
                       801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov

Representative Proposes Research on Gun Deaths in Utah
 
Salt Lake City - House Democratic Leader Brian King presented House Bill 440 - Suicide Prevention and Gun Data Study to Utah House Law Enforcement Standing Committee today. The bill authorizes data to be gathered on suicides and gun deaths in Utah, and for that data to be reported to the Health and Human Services Interim Committee.

Representative King stated, “On this point I couldn’t agree with the Speaker more - to make good decisions we need good data. We need to know the details of suicides and gun deaths in our state to really determine what problem we have and how to properly address it. Anecdotes and assumptions do us no good here. We need facts to determine solid, reliable solutions.”

The bill passed committee unanimously.

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Redistricting Commission Heads to Interim

Media Statement

For Immediate Release:    February 23, 2016

Contact:            Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
                        Utah House Democratic Caucus
                        801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov

Democrats Proposes Redistricting Commission to Guide Legislature
 
Salt Lake City - House Democratic Whip Rebecca Chavez-Houck proposed H.B. 313 - Redistricting Provisions that creates a commission to guide the Utah Legislature through the next round of redistricting. The commission would be composed of appointments by legislative leaders, but not include legislators themselves. A ruling by the United States Supreme Court in 2015 opened up redistricting to include redistricting by referendum, veto, independent commission and others included in the lawmaking process.

Representative Chavez-Houck said, “We are looking ahead to find the best path forward for Utah. States across the nation are having their redistricting efforts overturned by the courts every year. We need to be extremely sure that we are providing fair and equitable boundaries to guarantee fair and equitable elections. Potential for conflict of interest, partisan involvement, or closed-door meetings cannot and should not corrupt this process. By starting now and offering this kind of transparency, the legislature can avoid that entirely.”

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Democrats Reverse Course on Count My Vote Compromise Amendments

Media Statement
 
For Immediate Release: February 18, 2016
 
Contact:          Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
                        Utah House Democratic Caucus
                        801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov
 
Democrats Reverse Course on Count My Vote Amending Legislation
 
Salt Lake City - House Democratic Leader Brian King issued the following statement after the Utah House Democratic Caucus reversed course and voted against House Bill 48 - Election Law Amendments.

“There is a major difference between the first version of this bill, which we supported, and the current version of the bill, which we oppose. This version of the bill explicitly gives a political party in Utah the right to exclude unaffiliated voters from its primary election. There is absolutely no excuse for members of this legislature to wholly dismiss and disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of unaffiliated Utah voters. These Utahns have a right to vote, and we are committed to protecting that right. Legislators continue to talk only about a candidate's path to the ballot. It is time to pay attention to the real issue - a Utahn’s ability to vote. We should be eliminating barriers, not erecting them.”

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Vaccination Bill Held in Committee

Media Statement
 
For Immediate Release: February 16, 2016
 
Contact:          Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
                        Utah House Democratic Caucus
                        801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov
 
Vaccination Bill Held In Committee

Salt Lake City - House Democratic Representative Carol Spackman Moss presented H.B. 221 - Immunization of Students Amendments, a bill that creates an educational module for parents requesting a personal exemption. The bill makes no adjustments to fees or exemptions themselves, but only creates a video that would inform parents on how to protect their child in the event of an outbreak.

She said, “This is a necessary step to protect our children. Parents have a right to exempt their children from vaccinations, but they need to have all the information on what to do if an outbreak occurs. We have had this happen in our state. We have had children and adults been put at risk simply because people didn’t have the information they needed. There is an easy fix - give them the information and make everyone, including those children, a little bit safer.”

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To contact members of the committee, click here

Democrat Wants Statues to Recognize Utah Explorers

Media Statement
 
For Immediate Release:
February 10, 2016
 
Contact:          Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
                        Utah House Democratic Caucus
                        801-835-7087 | econverse@le.utah.gov
 
Democrat Wants Statues to Recognize Utah Explorers

Salt Lake City - House Democratic Representative Mark Wheatley wants the state of Utah to recognize Fathers Escalante and Dominguez, Spanish explorers that first chronicled the land and potential trade routes of the state as well as contacted and recorded interactions with original inhabitants. Representative Wheatley is asking for statues to be erected in their honor at the state capitol, where tourists learn the vast and diverse history of Utah. 

He said, “They didn’t find their way to Monterey, but they did discover, explore and archive information that allowed many more to follow. They are a vital piece of the diverse history of Utah, and more people - Utahns and tourists - should know their story. A statue seems like a small token compared to the knowledge and inspiration they gave to generations before us to settle this land.”

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