Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you all stayed safe on the roads this last week with all of the snow. While many schools and government entities closed last Monday, we still held our normal meetings in the legislature. After two weeks, we have passed 30 bills. During week 3, we will more than double the amount of time we spend on the Senate floor, which will mean the passage and failure of more bills.

Here are a few highlights from Week 2:

My Bills

S.B. 49 Aviation Amendments: This is another simple clean-up bill. This cleans up three areas dealing with airports: building codes for aircraft hangers, establishes procedures for disposal of abandoned airplanes, and designates aerial corridors as part of the state transportation system. This bill has now passed through the Senate and passed out of the House committee with a favorable recommendation.

S.B. 56 Public Safety and Firefighter Tier II Retirement Enhancements: This bill passed out of the Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Standing Committee unanimously with a favorable recommendation.

In addition to these bills, I am sponsoring two different Requests for Appropriation (RFA). One of these is a request for funding for the Tracy Aviary and the other is a request for the rehabilitation and improvement of the Jordan River.

Budget

This week we reviewed and passed nine base budget bills representing different appropriations subcommittees. These bills are based on each subcommittee’s budget from the previous year. Passing these bills during the second week of the session eliminates the possibility of a government shutdown. During the last week of the session, we will pass the “bill of bills,” which includes a complete budget for the year, including new funding for programs and other line items.
Here is a list of each of the base budget bills passed this week:
H.B. 1 Public Education Base Budget Amendments
H.B. 5Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Base Budget
H.B. 6Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Base Budget
H.B. 7 Social Services Base Budget Amendments
S.B. 1Higher Education Base Budget
S.B. 4Business, Economic Development and Labor Base Budget
S.B. 5Retirement and Independent Entities Base Budget
S.B. 6Infrastructure and General Government Base Budget
S.B. 7National Guard, Veterans’ Affairs and Legislature Base Budget

Energy Storage Grant

New energy storage technology shows promise in our ongoing efforts to improve Utah’s air quality. S.B. 78 Energy Storage Innovation, Research, and Grant Program Act, will establish a grant program to advance solar and wind powered energy systems and store the excess energy generated. This one-time appropriation of $5 million will fund an initial market in Utah. It will help increase demand and drive down price and will require no ongoing state investments. Energy storage will afford Utahns added security by providing power during natural disasters or power outages. 

The bill passed in the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee and will soon be debated on the Senate floor.
You can listen to the committee presentation here.
In the News: Deseret News

Statewide Rail Plan
As the population of our state continues to grow, wise infrastructure planning becomes increasingly important. S.B. 92Statewide Comprehensive Rail Plan, requires the Utah Department of Transportation to conduct a study and create comprehensive plans for expanded use of fixed rail for freight, commuting and long-distance travel. The study will include enhanced freight service along the Wasatch front, specifically with the Utah Inland Port in mind.
Upgrading FrontRunner by “doubletracking” will allow trains to run faster and more frequently. The goal is to help rail travel compete with freeway travel in terms of convenience and speed. The viability of high-speed rail will also be considered in the long-term, connecting our metropolitan areas with each other and those of additional Western states.
This bill passed in the Senate committee with a favorable recommendation. 
You can listen to the committee presentation here.

Fetal Remains
Utah law does not ensure women who have experienced a miscarriage or abortion have the right to request the fetal remains for burial or cremation. There is nothing in current Utah law protecting a woman’s right to make this decision in any clinic or hospital. S.B. 67Disposition of Fetal Remains seeks to give women the right to choose the final disposition of fetal remains following an abortion or miscarriage and requires the hospital or clinic to handle those remains in a respectful manner. There is a misconception circulating that this bill would require women to bury or cremate the aborted or lost child. This bill simply gives women the option to bury, to cremate or to make no decision on the final disposition of the fetal remains. Nothing is required of parents wanting healthcare facilities to handle the final disposal.

Red Flag Bill Dropped
For the last three years, we have seen red flag gun bills introduced in the Utah House of Representatives only to stall out early on in the process. Red flag gun laws allow family members and law enforcement officials to petition the courts to remove firearms from a person in crisis who has been determined to be a danger to themself or others. This week the sponsor of this legislation for this year announced they would likely not run the bill due to lack of support.
In the News: Deseret News |

What do you think?
I am grateful to represent you in the processes that make Utah such a great place to live and raise our families.
I hope to hear your input on these issues this session. The best way to contact me is via email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Wayne Harper
Senate District 6
wharper@le.utah.gov

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