A Message from House Republicans

The 2011 legislative session will be a critical year for the State budget.  As we look back at the past two years of extensive budget cuts due to the Great Recession, we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While the light is still out there in the distance, how we handle difficult budget decisions this year will define the future of Utah’s fiscal state.

Though not as dramatic as the budget shortfall of the past two years, the state is short $313 million dollars to meet on-going expenses. Over the past two years the state has used the state Rainy Day Fund and one-time federal dollars in addition to budget cuts to provide a band-aid solution to the problem. Similar to the process we undertake to balance our personal budgets, the Legislature will be working hard over the next 45 days ensure our budget is balanced. As a state we are not exempt from the laws of prudent finance.

Utah’s approach will be different from those other states such as California, Illinois, and New Jersey who are running budget deficits and raising taxes as the short-term solution, which only digs those states deeper into long-term economic despair. It is astonishing that earlier this week our Democratic colleagues in the Legislature suggested we do not solve the structural budget imbalance this year and floated the idea of running a deficit and two possible tax increases.

We understand it is not an easy challenge to balance a multi-billion dollar budget, pair on-going expenses and on-going revenues and to use credit sparingly. But in the interest of our financial future it will be one we gladly accept.

Utah Legislature Highlights for Week 1: Jan. 24 – 28th

The 59th General Session of the Utah Legislature convened Monday, January 24, 2011. Welcome freshman Representatives who took the Oath of Office Monday, Utah welcomed its first femaleSpeaker of House, Becky Lockhart.  In her opening remarks, Speaker Lockhart told lawmakers they will debate immigration and health care reform, education, and “address an economy that needs less government, not more, while it recovers.” The Governor delivered his state of the state address and stressed the importance of economic development, the importance of public education in the future of our state’s economy and states’ rights.

The Utah House Majority launched an official blog UtahReps.net. Check it frequently for daily House updates, schedules, a morning recap and messages from the Representatives.

These are the bills that passed the House this week. (clicking the title of the bill, which is in blue will take you to the text of the full version)

Sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer (R –Ogden )

This bill establishes a process and fee for renewal of judgments.

Sponsored by Rep. Todd Kiser (R–Sandy )

This bill clarifies that the presumptive personal representative is still required to submit an affidavit in personal injury claims.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R – Taylorsville)

This bill modifies the Insurance Code and the Legislative Oversight and Sunset Act to address catastrophic mental health coverage.

Sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw (R –Orem)

This bill amends licensing provisions in the Controlled Substance Database Act

Sponsored by Rep. Chris Herrod (R-Provo )

This bill modifies the Motor Vehicles Code by amending provisions relating to accident responsibilities.

Sponsored by Rep. Don Ipson (R – St. George)

This bill modifies the reporting requirements of agencies to the Judiciary and the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committees.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R– Taylorsville)

This bill modifies the Fire Prevention and Fireworks Act to address definition and fireworks

Sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer (R–Ogden )

This bill modifies provisions relating to the Utah Controlled Substances Act by creating a controlled class of listed synthetic cannabinoid substances found in products often referred to as “spice.”

Sponsored by Rep. Julie Fisher  (R–Fruit Heights )

This bill amends provisions relating to a clean fuel vehicle decal.

Sponsored by Rep. Jack Draxler (R – Logan)

This bill allows the use of funds from the Oil and Gas Conservation Account to be used for educational programs concerning mineral and petroleum resources and industries.

Sponsored by Rep. Julie Fisher (R–Fruit Heights)

This bill modifies the Government Records Access Management Act by amending provisions relating to high occupancy toll lane customer information.

Sponsored by Rep. Todd Kiser (R–Sandy )

This bill modifies the Insurance Code to address workers’ compensation.

Sponsored by Rep. Richard Greenwood (R– Roy)

This bill modifies the Motor Vehicle Code and the Public Safety Code by amending provisions relating to the unauthorized use of certain records.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R –Taylorsville)

This bill modifies the Utah Revised Business Corporation Act to address mergers.

Sponsored by Rep. Julie fisher  (R– Fruit Heights)

This bill modifies the State Settlement Agreements Act by amending provisions relating to certain Department of Transportation construction contract claim settlement agreements that resolve bid or request for proposal protests.

Sponsored by Rep. Wayne Harper (R–West Jordan)

This bill amends the Sale and Use Tax Act to address provisions related to the imposition and administration of sales and use taxes and certain taxes, fees, and charges administered by the State Tax Commission.

Sponsored by Rep. Todd Kiser (R–Sandy)

This bill amends the Assessment, Collections, and Refunds Act part to address exceptions to the applicability of the part.

Sponsored by Rep. Evan Vickers (R–Cedar City)

This bill amends the Individual Income Tax Act to address the determination of state taxable income.

Sponsored by Rep. Evan Vickers (R–Cedar City)

This bill amends the severance tax on oil, gas, and mining to address the interests in oil of gas or the proceeds of production of oil or gas that are not subject to the severance tax.

Sponsored by Rep. Jack Draxler (R–Logan)

This bill addresses water rights applications.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Bird (R–West Jordan)

This bill modifies the Insurance Code to address errors and omission coverage of certain producers.

Sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Peterson   (R–Ogden )

This bill modifies the Motor Vehicle Act by amending provisions relating to circumstances where a peace officer is permitted to seize a vehicle, vessel, or outboard motor.

Sponsored by Rep. Brad Wilson (R–Kaysville)

This bill modifies the criminal code regarding offenses for which prosecution may be initiated at any time.

Sponsored by Rep. Julie Fisher   (R–Fruit Heights)

This bill clarifies that a person may not receive a certificate of eligibility for an expungement if a criminal charge is pending

Sponsored by Rep. John Mathis   (R– Vernal )

This bill provides for the establishment of a veterinary education program offered by Utah State university in partnership with Washington State University.

Sponsored by Rep. Brad Galvez (R–West Haven)

This bill replaces the terms “monies” and “moneys” with the term “money” throughout the Utah Code

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R–Spanish Fork)

This bill modifies the Fire Prevention and Fireworks Act to address appeals of inspections.

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R– Spanish Fork)

This bill modifies the Utah Labor Code to address the ability to serve, file, or deliver documents.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray  (R–Clearfield )

This bill modifies Title 58, Occupations and Professions, regarding the Controlled Substances Advisory Committee Act.

Sponsored by Rep. Johnny Anderson (R–Taylorsville)

This bill modifies the Service Contracts Act to address regulation of automatic renewals.

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Morley (R–Spanish Fork)

This bill modifies provisions related to revenue and taxation to amend requirements related to the workers’ compensation.

Sponsored by Rep. Merlynn Newbold (R–South Jordan)

This bill amends provisions of the Fatality Review Act and the Government Records Access and Management Act with respect to the status, disclosure, and use of records relating to fatality reviews and near fatalities.

Sponsored by Rep. David Clark (R–Santa Clara)

This bill amends the Medical Assistance Act to provide that the director of the Division of Health Care Financing shall be appointed by the governor, after consultation with the executive director of the Department of Health, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R– Orem)

This bill modifies the Student Clubs Act regarding a club’s access to school facilities.

Sponsored by Rep. Carl Wimmer (R–Herriman)

This bill modifies the state symbols and designations to designate the Browning model M1911 automatic pistol as the state firearm.