FLAGGED BILL – HB 274 Tax Credits for Employing a Homeless Person, Rep. King

As Utah and the rest of the nation comes out of recession, many Utahns are still without the jobs and homes they once had. One lawmaker is running a bill attempting to encourage employers to hire those who have been down on their luck. HB 274, Tax Credits for Employing a Homeless Person, from Representative Brian King (Democrat, SLC), puts in place a series of increasing tax credits for companies who continuously employ the homeless. “I want to help people who have gone through difficult periods in their lives,” says Representative King. “The recession put a lot of people out...

FLAGGED BILL: HB 31 – Enticing a Minor Amendments, Rep. Webb

You would be hard pressed to find any Utahn who doesn’t believe in protecting minors from sexual advances by adults. But while today’s youth are accessing the world through Facebook, Twitter, other social medias, and cell phones earlier and earlier, the technological advances can easily (and frequently) leave Utah’s laws out of date, unable to keep up with sexual predators and their attempts to seduce minors. Currently, it is only illegal to seduce a minor over the internet if it is done via computer or telephone, while attempting to solicit a minor through new forms of communications is technically not illegal....

FLAGGED BILL: SJR 4 – Joint Resolution on Ethics Complaint Procedures, Sen. Luz Robles

If one were to use a kind word to describe legislative ethics, it would be “wanting;” if one were to use an unkind word, one might use the word “farce.” Either way, it can be said that current ethics laws may not be up to the standards that citizens desire. There are many reasons for this systemic issue, but today we are going to focus on one particular aspect. First, some background. If one were to file a complaint against an individual legislator, one must first have some sort of evidence of wrongdoing. For example, evidence of lobbying on the side,...

FLAGGED BILL: SB 128 – Financial Transparency In Education, Sen. Thatcher

Often times when analyzing legislation, bills can appear to be sound, logical, and even reasonable upon first glance. They may touch on issues and values that you hold in high regard, and they may appear to positively effect an issue in a way that sounds good to the ear. But, after analyzing many bills over many years, one starts to learn that these types of bills are the ones that you have to hold to the highest level of scrutiny – if only to ensure that your own biases are not improperly clouding your judgement. One value that Utah Political Capitol holds sacred is government transparency: government documents,...

FLAGGED BILL: HB 271 – Funding For Public Education, Rep. Bird

How can we get more funding for public education without raising taxes? Representative Jim Bird (Republican, West Jordan), thinks he has an answer. As we’ve mentioned many times, Utah is 51st in the nation on how much funding we provide our neighborhood schools per pupil, falling behind every other state. But the Utah Legislature has shown a heavy disinterest in any solutions to find further money if it involves raising taxes. In addition to Representative Briscoe’s clever HB 55, another great option will come before lawmakers this year. HB 271 sets aside 10% of the gross profits from the DABC...

FLAGGED BILL: HJR 1 – Joint Resolution Expressing Support for the Utah Compact, Rep. Lynn Hemingway

In the fall of 2010, The Utah Compact was released to the public. Widely regarded as a groundbreaking agreement between Utah’s Latino, business, religious, and political communities, it is designed to provide a road map for what immigration policy should (and should not) look like in the state of Utah. More specifically, The Compact was in direct response to an upcoming bill proposal from (now former) state representative Stephen Sandstrom, HB 70, an Arizona-style immigration bill that was panned by the public and eventually died in the 2011 legislative session. To paraphrase The Compact’s five simple tenants: 1) The solution to the immigration issue is, fundamentally,...

FLAGGED BILL: HB 55 – Education Funding Amendments, Rep Briscoe

Utah’s level of education funding has become a bit of an embarrassment in the last decade, with levels dropping so far that we are now ranked dead last in the nation for the amount of money we give public schools per student. One Legislator is trying to make a modest change, that could have a big impact over time. Currently, 100% of Utah’s income tax, and a portion of property taxes go directly into the General Education Fund – but through some creative accounting, Utah students could see some desperately needed funds increase in neighborhood schools. A simplified version of the...

New SLCO Mayor Ben McAdams’ Inauguration Speech

Below is the full text of incoming Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams’ speech, as prepared. To see our full slideshow of pictures, click HERE. Fellow elected officials, members of the Salt Lake County Council, and honored guests  – welcome and thank you for being here today. It is an honor and a privilege for me to take the oath of office and to begin my public service as Salt Lake County’s fourth mayor. I am a son of Utah and a proud resident of Salt Lake County. It’s where my wife, Julie, and I have chosen to live and...

FLAGGED BILL: HB 268 – Disorderly Conduct Amendments, Rep. Paul Ray

Sadly, we live in a world where the threat of gun violence is all too real. From mass shootings to a drunken brawl, these deadly weapons have become engraved into our culture. Because of this cultural attitude towards guns, there becomes a sort of feedback loop wherein people first feel threatened by guns, go out and purchase their own to protect themselves from said guns, only to scare another individual to do the same. This article, however, is not about having more or less guns on the street, this about is trying to reduce the real (or perceived) threat that guns present in our state. More specifically, this is...