Last week of the 2014 Session

Hello Friends and Neighbors from Senate District 15 ~

My name is Jay Winters. I have been working as Senator Dayton’s intern during the 2014 Legislative Session. It has been an absolute pleasure working with and for Senator Dayton. I have been able to shadow (quite literally) Senator Dayton over the past 45 days. My only wish is that the rest of District 15 could have been with me throughout this time to see her dedicated service. She is a woman of great integrity, respect, and dignity. She leads by example and It truly has been a dream to work for Senator Dayton.  I have also enjoyed conversing with many of you. Your interest in the affairs on the Hill is inspiring and I have appreciated your insights and passion.

Yesterday was the last day of the 2014 Legislative Session. Families of legislators and staff were invited up to the Capitol to celebrate the last day. Two of Senator Dayton’s sons were able to come up with their families.

Other visitors from Senate 15 this week include the Bowler family.  Matt and Adrielle Bowler accepted Senator Dayton’s invitation to bring their daughter Clare to the Senate to be introduced.  Clare won an international piano competition and has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in May!

The 2014 general session is now complete! What an intense session! April 2nd is the last day the Governor may sign or veto the bills we have sent him. If for some reason, the legislature does not agree with his decision, we could call a veto-override session, but it would need to convene by the 12th of May.

The normal effective date for bills passed this session will be May 13th. Occasionally, a bill will have a different effective date written into it or specify that it is effective immediately upon the receipt of the Governor’s signature, but that is not typical.

Some other upcoming dates you should be aware of are the caucus and conventions meetings. March 18 is the date for Democratic caucuses, March 20, are the Republican caucuses and April 26 is when the parties will hold their State Conventions.

Senator Dayton is happy to report another year with a balanced budget. It is an arduous process to say the least, but balancing the budget is critical for the state to function as efficiently and frugally as possible and one of the reasons Senator Dayton is glad she lives in Utah. Like any other piece of legislation, the House and Senate versions of the budget must match and then be signed by the Governor. That final budget bill is HB 2. In that bill you will be able to find, line by line the states capital outlay, budget increases and decreases and even employee compensation levels. It is very clear and transparent. They were also able to allocate additional equity funding for UVU AND they didn’t raise any taxes. Miracles do happen!  Senator Dayton acknowledges the dedicated service of Rep. Keith Grover (her own House rep) who served as the co-chair of Higher Education; his main focus and commitment this session was to the UVU issue.  UVU is in Senate District 15 – and is an asset to the entire valley.

Speaking of miracles, Senator Dayton’s friend Senator Ralph Okerlund is doing well and is in good spirits after having an apparent heart attack (You may have heard on the news). This is due in part to quick reactions from medically trained legislators and UHP.

We are grateful that he is still with us. Here is an article with a few more details: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865598505/Utah-Senate-Majority-Leader-Ralph-Okerlund-collapses-rushed-to-hospital.html?pg=all

There are many issues that they did not have time to address this session, or that failed because they were simply not ready to be made into law. Many of those issues will be brought back next year during the 2015 session. Legislators can open bill files and start working on drafting bills on May 13th.

Thank you for being caring and contributing citizens. I am not from Utah – Texas, actually. I can only hope my district in Texas is as active and passionate about this process as you are. Thank you for that. *Vox Populi*

You can keep track of what we are doing each day on the legislative website http://le.utah.gov/ or on the daily posts on the senate blog http://www.senatesite.com/home/ or you can follow a play-by-play of floor and committee action through the twitter handle @UTLEGtracker We are the first state in the nation to tweet legislative action in real time. Here is a little information on this new way you can keep track of the minute by minute happenings: http://www.senatesite.com/home/twitterfirehose/

There are other ways to follow senate proceedings.  Our staff at the senate has made it easy for you. From this link http://senatecloud.com/ you can find all our social media sites, the senate YouTube channel, Flickr for pictures, the senate’s blog and more.
Yours For Freedom~

Margaret Dayton and Jay Winters