Senator Pat Jones (Democrat – Salt Lake City) will not seek re-election to the Utah Senate this November, and was reflecting on her last legislative session in that light. During her final Senate press conference, she said that her biggest disappointment during this session involved a bill that she didn’t sponsor or work on directly, but one that she hoped would have gotten farther than it did.
HB 121 was a bill that would have allowed the Division of Air Quality to require standards and controls on Utah’s air that could be more stringent than the federal standard, which Jones felt was very much needed, especially along the Wasatch Front where terrain creates unique challenges for air quality. “There was a tie vote in the Senate committee which failed to advance the bill, even with all of the buy-in that was evident.”
As a mother and grandmother, and an elected voice of the people in Salt Lake County, Senator Jones feels strongly about the lack of sufficient attention to the problem, even though some advances were made. She indicated that the next session may see even more protections for the people of Utah when it comes to environmental threats.
“What I hope we’re seeing is an increase of awareness and involvement to change the dialogue on matters of importance to Utahns,” she said, and she and felt that effort will “yield legislation we can all be proud of.”
Jones also weighed in on efforts to reduce classroom size in the state. She acknowledged stakeholder groups like the Parent Teacher Association and United Way toward shaping public policy and helping Utahns to understand the process of positive change. “To get classroom sizes down to more managable levels, we need more engagement on all levels, not just businesses, but moms and dads.”
With a little more than six hours left in the 2014 session, seven bills either sponsored or directly supported by Senator Jones have been enrolled.