On Monday, April 10, 2017 members of SGR heard from Lowry Snow, Utah Representative for District 74 and Don Ipson, Utah Senator for District 29 who shared their successes during the recent Utah Legislative session. Calling it “a good session,” Representative Snow reported, “over 1000 bill files opened and the budget balanced.” He also noted the legislature agreed to a $5000 bonus to teachers willing to work in impoverished schools; enhanced kindergarten impoverished schools – which he states “have seen remarkable results.” The legislature also passed a juvenile justice reform bill which will mostly affect low-risk students guilty of such low level “crimes” as truancy allowing students to receive support services in their homes.
Because it was never properly defined, the definition of strangulation related to domestic relationships was more fully clarified.
The issue of overnite rentals – primarily in Washington County and in Park City – invited the question as to what level the state should be involved when advertising is mostly done on the internet.
“Utah definitely has a painkiller problem,” stated the Representative. “We are 7th in the nation for opioid addiction so we addressed the issue by making it mandatory – except for those who have undergone recent surgery – prescriptions can be given only at 7-day intervals, rather than the standard 30-day intervals.”
Senator Ipson reported the legislature had funded DSU’s new human performance building and a Physician Assistant program in partnership with the University of Utah.
The DUI bill was signed lowering the level of intoxication from .08 to .05.
He also noted, the legislature voted to do away with the requirement for state safety inspections since it has been determined, “it has not been found to make a significant difference in safety.”
Other issues noted:
· the Utah Legislature has provided $1.3 billion in new money in the past 3 years
· low pay for teachers has affected the state’s ability to hire and retain good educators – as such there has been a notable decline in enrollment in education majors
· the Utah Legislature is considering an increase of .078% in income tax