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Day 5 of 45: SB138

January 27, 2012

Friday was much the same as the others: busy, busy, busy. My first bill passed out of committee yesterday, and today it generated hundreds of calls to the state capitol. More on that below.

To sum up the week, the appropriations committees have begun their meetings to hammer out the budget proposals and each of the standing committees also met several times this week. Some of the items we discussed on the floor this week were voter registration, assessing a student’s readiness for entrance into the workforce or college, a few adjustments to tax credits and some highway modification needs. You can watch when we are on the floor, listen to all the committee meetings and track bills that you are interested in on the website: http://le.utah.gov/

The Legislature will be doing a bit of clean-up on the redistricting maps as part of our session work. The law requires that census blocks be used in the redistricting process; however, census block lines do not always match the actual survey lines in the land records. So each time redistricting is done the new lines are matched against the county recorder’s map to look for odd discrepancies. In the Senate, House and State School Board maps there were 60 such instances that were discovered by County clerk’s offices. SB125, will align the redistricting lines with the survey lines to correct these problems. Overall, these changes will affect less than .002% of the people in the state.

Despite my late start, I am running several bills this session. For instance, SB142 eliminates a traffic management committee that has fulfilled its purpose. I am also running a bill to eliminate portions of Utah law that conflict with this week’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that law enforcement is required to obtain a search warrant before installing a GPS device to a vehicle.

And as I mentioned above, there has been a lot of public interest in my bill, SB138. Most of the people calling have been told that SB138 will prevent a fair discussion of insurance coverage for autism. This is not true. It is important to note that SB138 does not prevent the passage of HB69, the autism insurance reform bill, as some would have you believe. In essence, SB138 holds public education and higher education budgets harmless from the increased costs of health care mandates. We have serious challenges with public education funding already and additional costs of unfunded mandates would increase those challenges. SB138 asks the legislature to appropriate funds to cover the costs of the requested mandate should it pass.

SB138 requires that fiscal notes show an accurate cost of the mandate. This will increase the public’s ability to scrutinize the actual costs of the mandates that the legislature is imposing.

Have a nice weekend!

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2 Comments
  1. Anne Grossenbach permalink

    Todd–how refreshing to have a legislator who is so transparent. Sounds as if you are doing exactly what you promised us. Thanks so much. Best of luck in keeping up with it all.

    Anne Grossenbach, State delegate

  2. Harold Burnham permalink

    Wow, busy as a Bee, I can think of no one I would rather be on the “Hill” looking after our interests!

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