The 2012 legislative general session in nearly on top of us. But 2011 was an eventful year and I want to catch you up on what I and other lawmakers did for the past year:
- We addressed a number of issues during the 2011 session, including immigration reform that we hope the federal government will agree is an excellent step forward.
- We also passed Medicaid reform that could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars, again if the federal government gives us the green light.
- Being beholden to the federal government over nearly ever every aspect of our state has proven a great frustration to conservative lawmakers like myself. To that end, we passed several pieces of legislation that pushes back against the federal government intruding in what we feel is state business.
Throughout the second half of 2012, the Legislature went through a once-in-a-decade practice of redrawing political lines throughout the state. We’re required by the state constitution to redraw the lines of the State House and Senate, the State School Board, and the Congressional districts based on new Census data. These maps will go into effect for the next election cycle.
The boundaries of House District 64 did not change significantly, but please visit the link on this site to the new map. Our county clerk is busy adjusting the voting precincts so that they are finalized by the end of this month. Your voting precinct may change. Watch for a notice from the county clerk informing you of any changes. Feel free to contact him with your questions (Bryan Thompson 801-851-8109).
During the 2012 session, which begins Jan. 23, the Legislature will be addressing some significant issues including:
- the management and oversight of the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control. An investigation performed by our Auditor found some serious issues in this agency, and we will be working to correct them and ensure they don’t happen again.
- the State Budget, which will consume much of our time and effort. The good news is that Utah appears to be leading the way out of our national recession. But we have a long way to go. So while we have some positive revenue growth for the first time in many years, we’ll continue to hold state agencies accountable for how they spend your hard-earned money.
My thoughts on being the Speaker of the House:
The opportunity to represent the people of District 64 is a great responsibility. Just after the last election, I was afforded the honor of being elected by my peers in the House of Representatives to be the Speaker of the House. This position continues to be both challenging and rewarding.
I’ve learned much this past year. I’ve learned to be more aware of the media. I also hope I’ve learned to be more savvy. I offered a different style of leadership to the House, one that would afford every Representative the opportunity to take part more fully in the process. I believe that debate should be embraced and encouraged. We should not be afraid of this great American process of making law and setting policy. This way of doing business is at times messy, and it is of course, more time-consuming. Not everyone enjoys this change, but I believe it is a healthier way for the House of Representatives to function.
This has been an unprecedented term for the House. We have had numerous resignations; more than in recent memory. There is a very steep learning curve in the Legislature, and I have worked to make sure all of the new members are prepared to contribute to the process on their very first day. I have been very impressed with their abilities and personal qualities.
But know that my No. 1 responsibility is to serve my constituents. You’ve entrusted me with the opportunity to serve, and I owe you my best efforts. I will continue to strive to provide the best representation for our district while also meeting my obligation to lead the entire House of Representatives.
An online survey is available. Please fill it out so I can know your concerns and comments. Having access to your email address is critical for me to continue to communicate with you through the year. Please know that I will not use if for any other purpose than to keep you updated on the issues.
I look forward to providing weekly updates during the 2012 Session, as I did last year. I want to hear from you! Please let me know your thoughts. I will do all I can to provide you with information.