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June 2013 Interim

June 21, 2013

Out Interim committee meetings were held June 19, 2013. Here are some of the highlights:

We received a presentation from the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Professional Health on how to improve the public dissemination of its research and to promote its educational mission.

Disclosure of Consumer Credit Scores – received presentations from credit reporting agencies regarding issues surrounding disclosing a credit score to a consumer. The agencies stated that there are hundreds of credit scores reported by various organizations that are used by thousands of lenders nationwide. The committee also received a presentation from a legislator who advocated that information regarding how credit scores are used should be disclosed to a consumer who purchases a credit score from an organization.

Mobile Home Parks – Reviewed draft legislation “Tree Maintenance in Mobile Home Parks,” which includes a requirement that mobile home parks perform necessary maintenance on certain trees within the parks.

The Benefits of Online State Government Services for Utah Businesses – Received a presentation from the University of Utah Center for Public Policy and Administration regarding research showing the benefits to Utah businesses of state government services that are provided online.

Treatment of Manufactured and Mobile Homes as Real Property – Reviewed draft legislation “Manufactured and Mobile Home Amendments,” which, under certain conditions, requires that permanently affixed manufactured or mobile homes be treated as real property.

Utah Fund of Funds – Received a presentation from the Utah Fund of Funds on the organization and results of the Utah Venture Capital Act. The organization stated that the Legislature has authorized up to $300 million in contingent tax credits under the act, $121 million of which has been committed to 28 capital partnerships, including eight local funds.

Economic Development and Workforce Services

Child Care Subsidy Program – Received a presentation from the Department of Workforce Services on the Child Care Assistance Program, which provides child care assistance to low-income families to enable parents to work outside the home. A private provider expressed concerns with the competitive advantages public child care providers may have.

Department of Workforce Services – Received a presentation from the Department of Workforce Services on the department’s operations, organization, mission, duties, goals, and concerns.

Department of Workforce Services Assistance Programs – Received a briefing from committee staff and the Department of Workforce Services on a written report regarding the 19 public assistance programs the department administers and for which the department determines eligibility. The report includes a summary describing each program, including the purpose, eligibility requirements, benefit amounts and restrictions, state and federal spending, administrative contact information, and statutory citations.

General Assistance Program – Received a presentation from the Department of Workforce Services on the state-funded General Assistance Program, which provides cash assistance to adults who, because of physical or mental impairment, are unable to work and are not eligible for other cash assistance. The maximum amount of the cash assistance is $287 per month for an individual and $398 per month for a household of two. The cash assistance is limited to 12 months of benefits in any 60-month period. The program is currently closed for new applications due to funding limitations.

Unemployment Insurance Program – Received a presentation from committee staff and the Department of Workforce Services on the Employment Security Act, which provides an employment benefit for an employee who is terminated through no fault of the employee. The state benefit is for a maximum of 26 weeks and is funded by unemployment insurance contributions collected from employers. The amount of the contribution is calculated by a formula based on the wages of each employee and is deposited into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The average contribution rate for 2011 was 0.85% of total wages.

Economic Development Task Force

Envision Utah – Received a presentation from Envision Utah on growth in Utah. Envision Utah was formed in 1988 as a public-private partnership of business leaders, civic leaders, and policy makers with the goal of engaging people to create and sustain communities that are prosperous and healthy.

The Long-term View — Processes for Policy Makers – Received presentations from the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel and the Legislative Fiscal Analyst on providing complete and accurate information to policy makers to allow them to set sound public policy and help ensure long-term economic vitality. This information assists legislators as they look beyond immediate issues and focus on future issues. Past successes were highlighted and ideas for more long-term planning were presented.

Education

Front-line Teachers – Discussed draft legislation “Front-line Teacher Data Program,” which would establish reporting requirements for school districts, charter schools, and the Utah State Board of Education on the allocation of resources for front-line teachers. The draft legislation defines front-line teachers as licensed teachers who have an assignment to teach kindergarten, elementary, secondary, or special education courses, and does not include prekindergarten teachers, school-based specialists, or classroom aides.

School Grading – Received a presentation from a legislator on the history of grading schools in Utah, different approaches to calculating student growth, and the implementation of changes to the School Grading Act that were made during the 2013 General Session.

Utah Data Alliance – Received a presentation from member agencies of the Utah Data Alliance. Discussed the types of data available in the statewide longitudinal data system and the potential of that data to answer specific research questions or better inform public users through the dissemination of aggregated data.

Education Task Force

Overview of Education Data – Received presentations from committee staff on demographics, achievement, outcomes, funding, and fiscal data for students in Utah’s public K-12 and higher education systems.

Perspectives on Student Achievement – Received input from the State Board of Education and the State Charter School Board on their definitions of the basic elements of student achievement.

Postsecondary Education Attainment Goal – Received a presentation from Prosperity 2020, a business-led organization that is leading an initiative to promote the goal of 66% of the state’s adult population having some postsecondary training, certification, or degree by 2020. The task force also received input from education leaders in public and higher education who are working to implement an increase in postsecondary education attainment.

Utah Data Alliance – Received a presentation from member agencies of the Utah Data Alliance regarding merging data sets and creating an integrated statewide longitudinal data system. The Utah Data Alliance is a collaborative effort between the Utah State Office of Education, Utah System of Higher Education, Utah College of Applied Technology, Department of Workforce Services, Utah Education Network, and Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah.

Federal Funds Commission

Committee Business – In accordance with statute, the committee appointed the following four members to the commission: Susan Speirs, Dan Griffiths, Roger Jones, and Rick Davis.

Federal Budget – Received a presentation from commission staff on the federal budget, including a discussion of federal revenues, federal entitlement spending, federal discretionary spending, and impacts of federal spending on Utah.

Risk Management – Received a presentation from an industry expert on enterprise risk management, including a discussion of how to identify an organization’s risks and ways to prepare for those risks.

Government Communications Task Force

Existing Radio Communication Systems – Received information from the Utah Communication Agency Network, Unified Fire Authority, Valley Emergency Communications Center, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Unified Police Department, and Salt Lake City Police Department. Each of these entities explained the current radio communication network, including current capacity and technologies.

Government Operations

Election Code Amendments – Received a presentation from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor regarding proposed substantive and technical changes to state election laws.

Election Notices – Received a presentation from a representative of the county clerks on posting election notices electronically.

Election of County Officers – Discussed impacts of 2011 General Session H.B. 103, “Election Amendments,” which requires that a county stagger the terms of county officers beginning in the 2014 General Election. The bill does not address how to stagger the terms of certain existing consolidated offices, such as a clerk/treasurer, auditor/recorder, or executive/surveyor. County clerks explained that the bill would double the cost of printing election ballots because ballots would be two pages rather than one.

Action: Voted to direct committee chairs and staff to meet with county officials to resolve concerns with implementing 2011 General Session H.B. 103, “Election Amendments.”

Preliminary Election Results – Received a presentation from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor on providing for the release of preliminary election results during the period of time between the close of election polls and the canvass. The office explained that preliminary results would be especially useful when there is a large number of absentee and provisional ballots and when an election race is close.

Recall Elections – Discussed whether the Utah Constitution should be amended to provide for recall elections.

State Board of Education Elections – Discussed issues relating to electing members of the State Board of Education, including repealing provisions regarding the involvement of the governor and the nominating and recruiting committee.

Statewide Ombudsman – Discuss whether Utah should create a statewide ombudsman and an Office of the Inspector General, as some states have done.

Health and Human Services

Adoption Records Access – Considered 2014 draft legislation “Adoption Records Access Amendments,” which provides that for adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2015, related documents shall be accessible upon request by any party to the adoption, if the party is an adult at the time of the request. The legislation also allows a birth mother to refuse to allow identifying information about herself to be accessible.

Putative Father Registries – Received a report from the Office of Vital Statistics and public comment on the state’s putative father registry and the feasibility of creating a national registry. The office said that converting the state registry from a paper system to an electronic system would allow fathers and attorneys to access the registry from any location and would reduce error.

State and Federal Health Reform – Received a report from committee staff on the federal government’s recently published proposed rules, which authorize the state to operate only one of the two health insurance exchanges required by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as the state had requested.

Health System Reform Task Force

Responding to the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Received a report from Public Consulting Group on its recently completed analysis of five options for expanding Medicaid eligibility in response to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Public Consulting Group reported that implementing the mandatory expansion and an expansion to all persons with household incomes not exceeding 138% of the federal poverty level would increase state program costs by over $80 million annually by 2023.

Received a report from HIPUtah, the state’s high risk health insurance program. HIPUtah reported that operation of Federal HIPUtah, another high risk program, will be transferred from the state to the federal government July 1, 2013. HIPUtah also reported that, prior to the recent enactment of limits on federal HIPUtah enrollment, it was expected that the transition of enrollees from both high risk programs to the commercial insurance market in 2014 would increase losses in the commercial market by $80 million.

Received a report from the task force’s Risk Adjustment and Reinsurance Team that insurance carriers and the Utah Insurance Department would like to evaluate whether it is preferable for the state to develop and operate its own risk adjustment program under the PPACA. The Insurance Department is planning to issue a bid for services to assist in the evaluation.

Received a report from the Department of Human Resource Management saying that in order to avoid triggering large penalties under the PPACA, the state needs to ensure that 194 of it’s nearly 5,000 part-time employees either have health insurance or work fewer than 30 hours per week. The department also reported that it expects that the federal government will not treat higher education and quasigovernmental entities as part of the executive branch for purposes of determining penalties for which the state might be liable under the PPACA.

Received a report from committee staff on the federal government’s recently published proposed rules, which authorize the state to operate only one of the two health insurance exchanges required by the PPACA, as the state had requested.

Action: Directed staff to draft a letter responding to the request of the US Department of Health and Human Services for comment on whether states should be permitted to operate risk adjustment programs for both the group and nongroup insurance markets, even if a state operates a health insurance exchange only in the group market. Utah is planning to operate only the group market exchange, but has requested permission to operate risk adjustment for both markets.

Action: Encouraged the Utah Department of Health to apply for a federal grant (a Cycle 2 Rate Review grant from HHS) to be used for development of the state’s all-payer health insurance claims database. The database could be used to promote insurance price transparency and eventually facilitate the development of a state-based risk adjustment program.

Action: Encouraged the Insurance Department to apply for an HHS Section 1311 exchange establishment grant to be used for a state-based risk adjustment program.

Action: Expressed support for the Insurance Department issuing a bid for assistance with the development of a state-based risk adjustment program.

Judiciary

Administrative Subpoenas – Received presentations from interested parties, including the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force within the Utah Office of the Attorney General, Weber County Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement agencies, the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, the Utah Association of Defense Lawyers, and an internet service provider, on the use of administrative subpoenas to obtain electronic records in criminal investigations of specified crimes, including sexual offenses against minors. The committee discussed possible changes to the reporting requirement for administrative subpoenas issued by law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies under Utah Code Subsections 77-22-2.5 (9) and (10).

Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

Domestic Violence Report – Received a presentation from committee staff regarding the intent and purpose of the domestic violence report that was provided by the Department of Public Safety at the May 15, 2013, interim meeting. Staff reported that the original purpose for requiring the report was to gather data for nongovernmental entities that study domestic violence issues. The committee received comments from organizations that intend to study the data that the state has collected.

Drug Testing at Pedestrian Accident Scenes – Received a presentation by a concerned citizen regarding the need for enhanced investigations at automobile-pedestrian accidents when emergency medical services are utilized.

Recognition of Commissioner Davenport – Recognized Commissioner Lance Davenport for his 29 years of state service. He has served as the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety since January 2009.

Utah Department of Corrections Overview – Received an overview from the Utah Department of Corrections regarding inmate population increases and offender programming. As of June 2013, the state had 7,050 inmates and currently has a capacity to house 7,030 inmates. The department addresses inmate overcrowding by housing state inmates in county jails for which the counties are reimbursed at a contracted rate. Additionally, the department is studying alternatives to address the current trend of an increasing inmate population.

Legislative Management Committee

Action: Approved the prioritized study items of various interim committees.

Action: Approved the drafting of a letter to the Transportation Interim Committee directing the committee to focus on transportation funding and planning issues.

Action: Approved both the agendas and meetings of various appropriation subcommittees.

Action: Approved a motion to send a letter to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget requesting an in-depth study of the Department of Veterans’ and Military Affairs and a report of the office’s findings to the Executive Appropriations Committee at its November meeting.

Action: Approved the position of executive director of the Political Subdivisions Ethics Commission. Also approved the hiring of an individual to fill the position.

Received a report from committee staff on adopting a policy regarding legislative procurement procedures.

Received comments from Utah universities regarding increasing the number of legislative interns and the universities’ ability to effectively provide the increased number of student interns.

Legislative Process Committee

The Legislative Process Committee considered recommendations from legislators on ways to improve rules of the Utah Legislature.

Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment

Department of Environmental Quality — Emerging Issues — Received a report from the Department of Environmental Quality on emerging issues, including federal funding cuts that affect the Division of Drinking Water and Division of Air Quality PM 2.5 state implementation plans.

Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office Activities – Received a report from the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office on the activities and expenditures of the office, including expenditures for sage grouse protection and the preparation of a public lands transfer study and economic analysis. The office also presented the R.S. 2477 plan adopted by the Constitutional Defense Council established for the purpose of asserting, defending, and litigating state and local government rights and claims regarding roads under R.S. 2477.

Occupational and Professional Licensure Review Committee

Overview of Committee Functions and Duties – The committee received a briefing from committee staff on its duties and responsibilities. The committee conducts sunset reviews under the Legislative Oversight and Sunset Review Act and reviews the licensing and regulation of existing occupations and professions as directed by the Legislature or the Legislative Management Committee. The committee also conducts “sunrise” reviews of occupations and professions proposed to be licensed for the first time.

Political Subdivisions

Assessment Areas – Discussed the legislative history and current status of assessment areas with a focus on:

The intended use of an assessment area;

The process of creating an assessment area;

The difference between a tax and an assessment; and

Whether statutory changes are necessary to ensure that an assessment area is only designated for the intended purposes.

The committee also discussed the requirements for an effective protest to the creation of an assessment area, including discussing whether the protest requirements should be amended.

Eminent Domain – Voted to direct the committee chairs to send a letter to parties interested in eminent domain issues, notifying those interested parties that the committee will discuss the following issues at future meetings:

Licensing agents (July 17 meeting);

Negotiation procedures (September 18 meeting);

Physical occupation of property without negotiation or court order (October 16 meeting); and

Defining condemning entity (October 16 meeting).

References to General Fund in Utah Code

Action: Voted to direct staff to prepare legislation that would clarify provisions that refer to local government general funds in Title 10, Chapter 5, Uniform Fiscal Procedures Act for Utah Towns; Title 10, Chapter 6, Uniform Fiscal Procedures Act for Utah Cities; and Title 17, Chapter 36, Uniform Fiscal Procedures Act for Counties.

Public Utilities and Technology

Automated Geographic Reference Center Services – Received a report from the Automated Geographic Reference Center about the geographic information system mapping services it provides to both public and private entities. Those services and products include geographic information system map data layers, such as water, transportation, and agriculture; mapping; redistricting; and surveying.

Department of Technology Services Overview – Received an overview from the Department of Technology Services (DTS) about the information technology services it provides, including costs, hardware, software, telecommunications, and networks. The department has generated cost savings in excess of $73 million since its creation in 2005.

State Security Standards For Personal Information – Received a report from DTS about the public-private process for developing and implementing personal information security standards as required in 2013 General Session S.B. 20, “State Security Standards For Personal Information.” The process, approved by the Office of the Governor, includes monthly meetings between state and local government agency directors, the state chief information officer, and private sector chief information officers.

Utah Technology Networks – Received a report from DTS about the network services it provides statewide. The report included information about both secure government networks and network services provided to the public. Partners for the delivery of these services include private sector broadband providers, state agencies, and local public and private entities.

Received a report from the Utah Education Network about network services it provides to all libraries, public schools, and institutions of higher learning.

Received reports from both DTS and the Utah Education Network emphasizing the growing demand for secure, filtered, and high-speed broadband connectivity.

Received a report from the Utah Broadband Project about planning, development, and coordination of existing network services and demand for new services. The project’s funding will end in December 2014.

Revenue and Taxation

Appointment of Tax Commissioners – Received a presentation from committee staff on the appointment of tax officials in other states. The presentation showed that Utah is one of a handful of states that has a tax commission. Many other states have a revenue department with a director.

Economic Development – Received a presentation from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development regarding opportunities it is pursuing related to unmanned aerial vehicles. The office has proposed to the Federal Aviation Administration various test sites that are outside of military restricted airspace.

Multistate Tax Commission – Received background information on the Multistate Tax Commission, an intergovernmental agency working on behalf of states and taxpayers to administer, equitably and efficiently, tax laws that apply to multistate and multinational businesses.

The chair of the Utah State Tax Commission and executive director of the Multistate Tax Commission responded to committee questions on Utah’s involvement in the Multistate Tax Commission and on a California court case related to the Multistate Tax Compact.

Taxation of Sales by Remote Vendors – Received a historical overview from a legislator on the taxation of sales by remote vendors to Utah consumers, including a discussion of the history of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project and pending federal legislation related to the taxation of sales by remote vendors.

Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee

The committee met on June 11, 2013, and recommended to the full body of the Senate the confirmation of Renee M. Jimenez-Justice as a juvenile court judge in the Third District Juvenile Court.

The Senate met on June 19, 2013, and confirmed Ms. Jimenez-Justice.

State Water Development Commission

Lake Powell Pipeline and Bear River Development – Received updates from the Division of Water Resources, the Washington County Water Conservancy District, and the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District on the proposed Lake Powell pipeline project and the Bear River water development project.

Snake Valley Water Sharing Agreement – Received a report from the Office of the Governor regarding the governor’s decision to not approve the proposed Snake Valley water sharing agreement.

State and Federal Water Rights – Received reports from the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, the National Ski Areas Association, and Snowbasin Resort on state and federal government conflicts over water rights on agricultural and ski resort areas of the state.

Transportation

Condition of Utah’s Roads – Received a presentation from representatives of cities and counties regarding the current condition of roads in their jurisdictions and the need for additional funding sources to improve road conditions. The Department of Transportation addressed state road conditions, the cost-efficient road maintenance strategies it currently implements, and the funding needed to continue current road maintenance levels.

Utah Transit Authority — Operations and Funding — Received a presentation from the Utah Transit Authority addressing its responsibilities, operations, and funding levels.

Veterans Reintegration Task Force

End of Life Decisions for Veterans – Received a presentation from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) about end of life decisions faced by veterans, service-related conditions that contributed to a veteran’s quality of life, and VA programs for supporting veterans and their families.

Military Affairs – Received a presentation about the creation of a military affairs coordinator in the Office of the Governor and how that coordinator will work with the Utah Department of Veterans’ and Military Affairs to serve veterans and their families.

The coordinator, in conjunction with the department, will also support annual summits on employment and benefits for veterans and their families.

Suicide Prevention for Veterans – Received a presentation from the VA about suicide among veterans and family members and VA programs for prevention and treatment. Surveillance is one of the critical first factors for families and professionals in order to determine if someone is suicidal. Surveillance is followed by monitoring risk factors and implementing treatment programs. A concern for treatment professionals is that the major suicide prevention program in the Intermountain West is located along the Wasatch Front while the individuals most at risk are located in rural parts of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada.

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