Lehi legislators discuss upcoming session
With Utah’s legislative session scheduled to begin on January 28, Lehi’s legislators are preparing to run bills dealing with second amendment rights, education, water metering, vehicle towing, and expanding apprenticeships, among others. All three anticipate major discussions about restructuring state taxes and how to implement the changes to Medicaid directed by voters in the recent election.
Lehi’s residents are represented in the legislature by one senator, Jake Anderegg (Senate District 13) and two representatives, Kay Christofferson (House District 56) and Cory Maloy (House District 6). Christofferson’s district covers the east part of Lehi and Maloy’s covers the west. Those wanting to find out which House district they live in can visit https://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp.
The Utah legislative session runs for seven weeks, starting Monday, January 28 and ending Thursday, March 14.
Anderegg has 38 bill files in the works. These include one which aims to expand apprenticeship programs. Currently, state recognition of apprenticeships is generally limited to the trade occupations. His bill would expand that recognition to professional occupations so that young people could receive credit for apprentice-type work in a much wider variety of work experiences and, for example, obtain higher education credit for work done in high school.
Another of his bills, titled “Secondary Water Metering,” would force metering of all water usage in the state over ten years. Currently, only culinary water is metered. “We need to make sure we’re not wasting water,” he said. “We’re going to experience a doubling of our population and we’re wasting a lot of water.”
Concerned that a large percentage of school districts “don’t have adequate information systems to manage their students, to manage their H.R. (human resources) for their teachers and to manage their finances,” Anderegg will run a bill called the “Public Education Information Systems Uniformity Act.” The goal is to “bring all public schools onto an integrated standard for data.” He said that while it would create a centralized system that districts could use if they want to, they will be free to use their own current systems as long as they meet the reporting standards.
“Since I have been in the legislature we have increased the WPU (weighted pupil unit) funding for students by $1.4 billion,” said Anderegg. He said the legislature and the State Board of Education need the information that would be provided by a more uniform reporting system in order to make decisions about where to direct funding for schools.
Christofferson has around 14 bill files in process, although he called that “too many” and anticipates “putting a few of them on hold.”
After two previous attempts to pass a law that would provide supplemental income to certain qualifying teachers, he will run the bill again with optimism about its chances. “We’ve got the money this year,” he said, “and I think people understand it.”
A second focus bill for Christofferson is the “State Building Depreciation Allocation” bill, which aims to keep state agencies accountable for the funds they spend on building use. He said that some state agencies don’t keep track of their rental costs and fees and this bill would require them to account for those.
As Christofferson has gone through budgets with various agencies he’s seen some who haven’t updated the fees they pay in 25 years. “They need to know what it costs them to occupy that space.”
Most of those agencies are in government buildings, while some rent space from private owners. “This will help them understand costs so they can” make better decisions. “You’ve got to know your costs. You can’t manage your area unless you know your costs.”
He also plans to run a few bills that deal with taxes and tax credits.
Maloy will continue to earn his reputation as a leading defender of Second Amendment rights as he runs at least one bill and a resolution dealing with the issue.
“Self-defense Amendments” is one of the first bills to receive a number, H.B. 114. The bill would enact a “stand your ground” law, clarifying that an individual is not required to retreat when threatened. “It’s all about the right to defend yourself and not be victimized later on in court,” he said last year.
Even though it drew heated controversy in last year’s hearing, it ultimately gained solid support and only missed passage because time ran out as it waited its turn for a final vote on the last day of the session.
Additionally, Maloy will run a resolution articulating support for Utahn’s Second Amendment rights. He is concerned about the recent trend of efforts to pass “Red Flag Laws” which are designed to severely limit people’s ability to own firearms.
“This resolution goes directly head to head fighting against the gun control crowd,” he said. “We need to aggressively protect our constitutional rights against these kinds of laws that come from those who want to control and take away firearms.” He said that laws are already in place to protect people from those who shouldn’t have weapons and red flag laws would have a negative effect on law-abiding citizens.
Maloy will also run a bill standardizing signage for vehicle towing across the state. Property owners would be required to place the new signs in a location designated by law so that they’re easy to see and recognize. The aim is to cut down on predatory towing.
All three legislators identified restructuring of the Utah state tax code as the biggest issue the legislature will tackle. Christofferson said they will work to “lower the rate and broaden the base.”
They also expect a lot of work to go into budget discussions, as well as a major focus on dealing with the consequences of Proposition 3, a Medicaid expansion which voters approved in November.
Anderegg cited a huge disparity in what voters were told it would cost – $92 million – and what it is more likely to cost – $400 million. He said he thinks the legislature may discuss changes to citizens’ initiatives in the wake of Prop 3, as it has highlighted how such initiatives can strap the state with unfunded mandates.
Maloy said he would prefer to repeal Prop 3. “I think expanding Medicaid is just falling into the Obamacare trap.” But since that’s not feasible he will focus on making changes that allow it to work better.
Following are the committees, commissions, and boards each representative is assigned to:
- Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee (Chair)
- Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee
- Administrative Rules Review Committee
- Senate Business and Labor Confirmation Committee
- Senate Judiciary Confirmation Committee
- Senate Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Confirmation Committee
- Senate Business and Labor Committee
- Senate Rules Committee
- Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee
- Utah Commission on Housing Affordability (Chair)
- International Trade and Relations Commission
- Federalism Funds Commission
- House Transportation Committee (Chair)
- House Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee
- Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee
- Commission on Federalism
- Federal Funds Commission (Chair)
- Transportation and Tax Review Task Force (Co-Chair)
- Free Market Protection and Privatization Board (Chair)
- Local Option Sales Tax Task Force
- Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee
- House Business and Labor Committee (Vice-Chair)
- House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee
- Governor’s Towing Advisory Board (Chair)
- Talent Ready Utah Board
Anderegg can be reached via text, phone or email, with text preferred. 801-901-3580; email@example.com.
Christofferson can be reached via text, phone or email at 801-592-5709; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maloy can be reached via text, phone or email, with email preferred. 801-477-0019; email@example.com.