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Day 3 – Floor Time

February 1, 2013

Committee

Day 3 was busy, busy, busy. Here is a sampling of the bills we heard on the Senate floor:

SB20 – Security Standards for Personal Information. The bill requires Medicaid providers to follow best practices to secure personal information. After some debate whether the bill addresses the problem of a person’s information being gathered without their permission, it passed to the third reading calendar unanimously.

SB23 – Lieutenant Governor Candidate Amendments. This bill clarifies that a lieutenant governor candidate can file for more than one office, and passed to the third reading calendar unanimously.

SB24 – Absentee Ballot Amendments. This bill designates that no one but the registered voter may fill out and turn in a request for an absentee ballot, with some exceptions. It passed to the third reading calendar unanimously.

SB25 – Elections during Declared Emergency. This bill sets procedures for counting ballots during an emergency. It passed to the third reading calendar unanimously.

SB28 – Boards and Commissions Amendments. This bill repeals certain boards and commissions. It was amended to repeal a controversial immigration commission. It passed on Wednesday after being put on hold for a day.

SB31 – Special Needs Adoption Tax Credit. This bill creates parity between adoptions within the state or from another state or country. It passed unanimously.

Rep. Jim Matheson also addressed the Senate.

Jimbo

In the House, HB 258, Straight Party Voting Amendments (Arent), would have removed the ballot option for a straight party vote.  Rep. Arent and supporters of the bill recounted personal encounters with voters who supposedly were confused about how to use the straight party ballot, the scratch exception option, and generally befuddled about ballots. Utah is the only western state that has not eliminated the straight party option (all but 12 states have eliminated it), and that removal of the option would encourage more thoughtful voting. Others felt that the bill takes away a voting option.  It was clarified that even if Straight Party is chosen, the voter can change his or her vote for individual candidates.  The lieutenant governor’s office provided some statistics (approximately 36% statewide vote straight party), but said more detailed statistics were not available except in Salt Lake County.

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