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Day 16: Leadership

February 7, 2012

Today, in many respects, was the most interesting day on the Senate floor so far this session.

Let me explain. Two members of Senate leadership, Sen. Jenkins and Sen. Niederhauser, both had bills die in a very public manner today. I like them both a lot, but not so much on their bills.

Sen. Jenkins was running SB 96, which would have provided a sales tax exemption for golf courses. His reasoning was that since many golf courses are owned by cities, they have an unfair advantage in that they don’t have to charge sales tax. His solution was to make all courses not have to charge sales tax. I thought he was moving in the wrong direction.

Sen. Niederhauser was running SB 112, which would have provided a tax break for Comcast subscribers. I have Comcast, but didn’t like this bill. I received about 60 emails from constituents with DirectTV who felt that this was unfair. It involves some rather complicated issues regarding franchise tax rates (that are different in every city). Sen. Valentine amended it to try and make it better, but I still voted against it. And it failed on the floor.

I did, however, vote for SB 128. It restricts teen drivers (under 18) from calling or texting friends while driving, and imposes a $50 fine. Some felt it was unnecessary. But I know that it is a real problem, and am hoping that the publicity generated by the new law will save some lives.

I also hosted several visitors to the senate floor. Richard Jaussi, one of my Twitter friends, actually gave this morning’s opening prayer in the Utah Senate to start off the day. You could say I hooked him up, and he was very stoked about it.

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McDonald’s also paid a visit with some yummy oatmeal and smoothies. So here’s a challenge. Can you pick out the real clown?

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