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2017 Legislative Session

2017 Legislative Session – Week 6

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Dear Friends in Senate 15 ~ Today is the last Friday of the Legislature!

Today is not the last day since we meet next week- but we will, by Constitutional directive, adjournon Thursday next.

Finance
There continues to be serious budget discussions – and while many may not find budget discussions to be griping, these issues determine what happens to the money taxed away from Utah taxpayers.
The majority of our state budget goes to education and the rest of the budget is divided among social services, health and human services, courts and corrections, economic development, natural resources issues (state parks, wildlife, water) military affairs and other state government needs.  All legislators are involved in reviewing portions of the budget – and it will be finalized the early part of next week.  The state budget, also by Constitutional directive, will be a balanced budget.

Speaking of money issues, Senator Hillyard presented an issue this week with the support of the Utah State Treasurer.  His bill addresses the enforcement of the responsibilities and requirements for abandoned or unclaimed property.  He reminds us to check this link: http://new.mycash.utah.gov/ to see if we have unclaimed funds that would come to us.  Financial issues have always been a priority of the state. 

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A picture of my intern by one of the original safes placed in the Capitol over 100 years ago.

Visitors

We continue to take time to recognize visitors to the Senate:
Pictured here with Senator Escamilla is a RSL Forward Jordan Allen – who, besides his passion and expertise in soccer, visited the Senate because of his interest in politics.  Jordan and the ReAl Salt Lake team will kick off the 2017 season at home versus Toronto FC this Saturday, March 4, at2:30 in Rio Tinto Stadium.  

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Another brief pause of recognition was given to advertise the upcoming Sports Hall of Fame event to be held later this year.  Pictured are Hall of Famers – Chad Lewis and his wife Michele, Ron McBride (who – btw – hugged this cougar fan!!), Dick Rosetta (former Tribune Sports writer), and Vic Deauvono with the Sports Commission.

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Not all visitors to the Capitol are athletes – the Cat in the Hat also visited to promote reading

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And earlier this week I was delighted to meet with and hold a mock committee meeting with Girl Scouts from my district.

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Energy

We have had many energy discussions this session.  Some groups oppose all development of our natural resources.  SITLA (School Institutional Trust Lands Administration) has responsibility for generating funds for education on the parcels of trust lands deeded to them at statehood. In conjunction with the State Office of Energy, SITLA leaders are developing education programs and advertisements to help our citizens better understand the benefits of wise resource development.  You can view one of those preliminary infomercials here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=r9KUA7iCHew&app=desktop

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Stay Connected
As always – you can listen to committees or watch the Senate (or House) debate live or archived by going here: http://le.utah.gov/.  The tabs on the left of this site will allow you to access various legislators, bills, and committees.  The ‘Audio · Video’ tab in the middle of the screen will allow you to listen or watch live and past committee meetings if you do not have the opportunity to visit the Capitol.  The House and Senate Floor while the ‘Calendar’ tab will show the times and locations of these meetings.

You can connect with me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SenatorMargaretDayton  or email at mdayton@le.utah.gov

It is my honor to represent District 15 – the best district in the best state in the best nation in the world.

Yours for freedom ~

Margaret Dayton

2017 Legislative Session – Week 5

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Dear Friends in Senate 15 ~

This week I, Devin Earl- Senator Dayton’s intern for this session, will be writing the letter home.  It has been a pleasure answering many of your emails and speaking with many of you on the phone as you participate in the political arena.

The budget work for the state is all-encompassing but according to Utah Constitutional law, the state of Utah must have a balanced budget.  We wish that Washington D.C. would follow this pattern and do the same.

This last week as we had the chance to celebrate Washington /Lincoln Day, I hope everyone had a moment to pause and remember these inspired leaders.  I believe that it is important to take time to remember those who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy in this country.  Paul Revere is another key historical figure whose story should be told and remembered.  I want to share the link of a short video by author Eric Metaxas who shares the remarkable story of Paul Revere.  Please take some time to watch this spotlighted video about a story that should not be forgotten.

https://www.prageru.com/courses/history/who-was-paul-revere-and-why-should-you-care

College Interns

In order to understand a little more about the interns working here at the Capitol, I thought it appropriate to discuss a little about what the internship program is.  Colleges from around the state of Utah have internship programs that allow a selected number of students to team up and work with a legislator throughout the legislative session.  I as a student of Brigham Young University have loved the hands-on opportunity to watch the evolution of laws as the bills this session are drafted, debated, and passed.  My daily tasks include answering constituents’ emails and phone calls, tracking bills, creating agendas and helping Senator Dayton with whatever she might need to lighten the load of her very busy schedule (including writing the letter home this week).  I have learned so much from this internship and am surprised at how quickly this session has gone by.  The work is fast-paced and important and I feel honored to work with Senator Dayton in representing Senate District 15.

Recognitions

Along with the work performed, throughout the legislative session brief pauses are made to recognize on the Senate Floor various individuals who have achieved success in areas ranging from art to sports to politics.
week51.jpgThis week we were able to recognize five of the finalists in the 45th annual art show who are part of our district. Emily Burrows, Ashlyn Richards, Dallin Wilks, Adam Ahmu and Easton Parkhurst were able to come to the Capitol to be recognized for their artistic work.  I enjoyed talking with these young artists and compliment them on their accomplishments and hard work.

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Tony Finau, the legendary golf champion who won the Puerto Rico Open last year, returned to his hometown of Salt Lake City and was recognized on the Senate Floor for his athletic accomplishments.

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Another legendary sportsman who came to visit was Utah Jazz basketball star Mark Eaton.  During the years of 1982 to 1993 when he played for the NBA, Mark scored over 5,000 points and was always enjoyable to watch.  Mark Eaton was kind enough to let us get a picture with him once he left the Floor.  Although I am 6’ 5”, his 7’ 4” frame made even me feel small.

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Senator Mike Lee and Representative Mia Love came to the Capitol to discuss with the Senate some of the issues going on in Washington D.C. We are all very grateful for the service our elected officials perform in behalf of our state.

As always – you can listen to committees or watch Senate (or House) debate live or archived by going here: http://le.utah.gov/.  The tabs on the left of this site will allow you to access various legislators, bills, and committees.  The ‘Audio · Video’ tab in the middle of the screen will allow you to listen to live and past committee meetings if you do not have the opportunity to visit the Capitol.  The House and Senate Floor while the ‘Calendar’ tab with show the times and locations of these meetings.

You can connect with Senator Dayton on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SenatorMargaretDayton  or email her at mdayton@le.utah.gov.

 

It is a privilege serving everyone in District 15 within the beautiful state of Utah.

Devin Earl

2017 Legislative Session – Week 4

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Dear Friends in Senate 15 ~

Our legislative session has passed the half way mark.  There is still much to be done – budget issues to solve, many proposals to be heard.  Thank you for your continued interest in state government.

The assisted suicide bill appears to be defeated for this year.  The issues of car safety inspections, concealed gun carry, marijuana research, as well as many other topics, are still being debated.  One of the issues that received significant attention this week was the make-up of boards and commissions.  That is an issue that came from the House – and I am the Senate sponsor for the bill.  Many of the state boards and commissions here in Utah require that no more than a certain number can belong to the same political party.  Originally, these requirements were meant to ensure the boards benefitted from multiple opinions but in reality, this requirement has created staffing problems.  This bill is meant to eliminate all references to partisan affiliation.  Under this bill, neither the Governor nor the Senate are allowed to consider partisan affiliation as a prerequisite to the service on a board and make quality the determining factor, not partisanship.    Rather than type out an explanation, I will just add a link here (not really – I don’t know how to do that – but I will have my intern add a link) of the debate for you to watch if you are interested.

http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=21192&meta_id=674324

Under the ‘Index’ tab located under the video which shows the proceedings of the day, scroll all the way down to the bottom and click on ‘2 HB 11 State Boards and Commissions Amendment, Dayton’ to watch the debate on the Senate Floor.

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Premarital Education and Counseling
After passing out of committee with a favorable recommendation, SB29 Marriage Commission Amendments was read on the Senate Floor. As the Senate Chair of the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Christensen sees firsthand the enormous burden placed on the State of Utah by broken families. This bill was designed to incentivize those applying for a marriage license to engage in premarital counseling or education. The couple would pay an additional $20 when applying for their license and would receive the $20 back once the education or counseling had been completed. The additional funds from those who did not take advantage of counseling or education would go to fund the Utah Marriage Commission.

Research has shown that premarital education can make a big difference in keeping marriages together or in dissuading some to not marry in the first place. Up to 10% of people who engage in premarital education and counseling choose not to marry because of red flags discovered in their relationships. The discussion on the Senate floor was lively and the bill passed on its 2nd reading. On its 3rd Reading, the vote was extremely close and the bill failed to pass out of the Senate this year.

 

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President Niederhauser asked me to run the Senate Floor yesterday.  I enjoyed conducting from the Dias for most of the morning.  My intern joined me on the Dias.

 

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There are many different groups that come to the Capitol during the Legislative session.  One day this week featured promotion of the arts- and performing groups from various schools performed in the Capitol rotunda.

Higher Education

Several days ago was UVU at the Capitol- and in honor of the university, my intern and I wore UVU wardrobe enhancements when we met with UVU Vice President Cameron Martin.  Today was Higher Education Day on the Hill; students and school administrators from all of the Utah Systems of Higher Education visited the Capitol.  I was pleased to meet with some of the student leaders from UVU.

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Holiday

This weekend is a three-day weekend for many – for schools, the post office, and the legislature – as we celebrate a holiday.  The holiday in Utah is called Washington /Lincoln Day in honor of two great presidents whose birthdays were separate national holidays until about 20 years ago.  Please pause to remember these 2 great leaders and talk about them with your families.

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The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” – George Washington

“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” – Abraham Lincoln

 

As always – you can listen to committees or watch Senate (or House) debate live or archived by going here: http://le.utah.gov/.  The tabs on the left of this site will allow you to access various legislators, bills, and committees.  The ‘Audio · Video’ tab in the middle of the screen will allow you to listen to live and past committee meetings if you do not have the opportunity to visit the Capitol.  The House and Senate Floor while the ‘Calendar’ tab with show the times and locations of these meetings.

You can connect with me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SenatorMargaretDayton  or email at mdayton@le.utah.gov

 

It is my honor to represent District 15 – the best district in the best state in the best nation in the world.

Yours for freedom ~

Margaret Dayton

2017 Legislative Session – Week 3

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Dear Friends in Senate District 15 ~

Over 800 of you responded to my survey – thank you very much.  I so appreciate you taking time to give me your input on issues facing the legislature this year.  Here are the results of the survey: http://www.margaretdayton.com/2017-issues-survey-results.html

On Monday, students and faculty of the Utah Valley University came up to the Hill to demonstrate their booths to inform legislators of the many unique opportunities that UVU provides to their students.
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We discuss such a wide range of issues that impact our state.  Here is an update on 3 other topics that have generated a lot of interest:

 

SB111: Unmanned Aircraft Amendments

Unmanned Aircrafts, or drones, are a newer technology that creates regulation issues and confusion around the country.  This bill seeks to clarify a unifying drone code for the State of Utah.  This bill enumerates safe practices for flying drones, addresses privacy and voyeurism, declares it unlawful to attach a weapon to a drone, and clarifies the different rules for commercial versus private use.  This bill initially came before the legislature last session, but the sponsor held the bill in favor of more discussion and work over the interim.  The Unmanned Aircraft Amendments have undergone many changes due to stake holder input over the last year.  This bill passed out of the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Standing Committee.

 

SB82: Library Technology Use Amendments

In the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Standing Committee on the 31st, Senator Weiler presented SB82 Library Technology Use Amendments.  Senator Weiler said that about 15 years ago, Congress passed a law that stated that any library that accepts federal funds is required to filter internet content.  About 12 years ago, the State of Utah said the same thing, that libraries that accept state funds are required to have filters on their internet connected computers.  Both of these laws went into effect before the wide use of wireless internet.  Senator Weiler found out that some libraries only have filters on their computers that are directly connected to the internet.  If the library provides wireless internet service, that service is not always filtered.

This bill is designed to extend the law that was created 12 years ago to include filtering of wireless internet at public libraries. Senator Weiler asked the State Library Association to provide a list of libraries in Utah that do not filter their Wi-Fi. Though there is a cost to a library upgrading its system to allow for filtering, there is no fiscal note with this bill. Separately, Senator Weiler has submitted a small appropriations request to be able to give these libraries grants to be able to upgrade their systems to allow them to add filters to their Wi-Fi.

SB82 passed out of the committee with a favorable recommendation on a vote of 6-0-2.

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Many of you have heard about the upcoming Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City February 16-19.  Over 40,000 sportsmen from 45 states and 17 countries will gather at the Salt Palace.  The event is projected to generate $30 million in economic activity and include $5 million in private funds to be used for conservation purposes within the State of Utah.  Three hundred sixty vendors are slated to participate in the expo, which maintains a waiting list of 150 other interested businesses.

Utah has become a top destination for those drawn to our lands, our wildlife and the markets that exist in the state for sportsmen products.

The interests of hunters align well with those who want to see state management of our public lands.  History has shown watershed management, and more food for elk, deer, bison, wild turkey and numerous other species of birds and small mammals that can be found throughout Utah.

Hunting in our state has become a $2.3 billion dollar industry and one that we strongly encourage and support.

Several emails and calls and letters have come my way addressing concerns with Cabinet appointments President Trump is making, policy decisions President Trump is making, and other topics of national concern.  All of these communications need to be sent to our Congressional delegation:  For Cabinet appointment concerns, please contact one of our United States Senators.  Here is their contact information:

Senator Mike Lee: https://www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

Senator Orrin Hatch: http://www.hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-orrin

We are represented by in the House by Congressman Chaffetz.  His contact information is (801) 851-2500 or he can be contacted through the following link: https://chaffetz.house.gov/contact/

For issues before Congress, your concerns are best directed to these gentlemen

For issues of state concern, I will continue to respond to your calls and messages (or have my intern respond for me if I can’t reply in a timely manner)

 

It is an honor to represent the best senate district in the best state in the best nation in the world.

 

Yours for freedom ~

Margaret Dayton

 

As always, you can follow the legislature through the Legislature’s website: http://le.utah.gov/.  The tabs on the left of this site will allow you to access various legislators, bills, and committees.  The ‘Audio · Video’ tab in the middle of the screen will allow you to listen to live and past committee meetings if you do not have the opportunity to visit the Capitol.  The House and Senate Floor while the ‘Calendar’ tab with show the times and locations of these meetings.

You can connect with me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SenatorMargaretDayton  or email at mdayton@le.utah.gov

Week 2 of the 2017 Legislative Session

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Dear Friends in Senate District 15 ~ Crucial to the work of the legislature is the budget process.  Our Utah Constitution requires that Utah have a balanced budget.  Our morning meetings for the first two weeks of the Legislative Session have been budgetary appropriations subcommittees

Passing a balanced budget is the most important responsibility we have as legislators. If we accomplish nothing else, we will at least pass a balanced budget. You may have heard that this will be a “bad” budget year. The truth is this will be a standard budget year, it just happens to follow after a few years of surplus budgets. The base budget for FY 2018 is about $15.2 billion, which is around $100 million more than the FY 2017 budget. Typically, the largest chunk of our budget (around 50%) goes to education followed closely by social services.

You can learn more about the budget here: http://le.utah.gov/lfa/cobi/currentCobi/cobi.html?cobiID=1&tab=overviewTab

Besides the policy and budgetary debates and decision- making meetings that we have, we also occasionally pause to acknowledge citizens of our state who deserve recognition.  Today, we had the honor of a visit from one of our World War II heroes, Gail Halvorsen – aka the Candy Bomber.  Colonel Halvorsen was recognized for his service to the people of Germany during the Berlin Airlift when he selflessly coordinated the delivery of an estimated 23 tons of candy to the people living in East Germany.  http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/SCR004.html

My father, also a Colonel in the United States Air Force, was friends with Colonel Halvorsen when they were both stationed in Germany after the Viet Nam War.

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The legislature also has visits from citizen groups and school classes.  One of the school groups that came today was from Cherry Hill Elementary School in Orem. I am happy for the school children who get to visit the Capitol.

Today I invited Kaitlyn Jaussi to sit with me as we honored the Candy Bomber.

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Citizen participation is always a part of the legislative process.  Earlier this week, I chaired a committee assigned to hear the Resolution on the Bears Ears Monument.  You can see that bill and hear that meeting here: http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HCR011.html

http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=76&clip_id=20937
Here is a picture of part of the crowd who came to the Capitol to participate in our committee meeting.

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It is my fortune to have help with the demands of the session.  Each legislator is assigned an intern from one of the colleges that teaches and tutors student interns.  My intern is Devin Earl from BYU.  He will respond to the emails and calls I receive if I am in committee or on the Senate Floor and cannot respond personally.  Additional help with constituent services is generated by Richard Jaussi.  One of his contributions to the process is making sure this weekly update is properly emailed.   Of particular assistance for personal support is my favorite constituent, my dear husband.  If you try to reach me during the session and I am not available, you may be interacting with one of these gentlemen.

daytoncrew.jpgDevin Earl, Richard Jaussi, myself and my husband

As always, you can follow the legislature through the Legislatures website: http://le.utah.gov/.  The tabs on the left of this site will allow you to access various legislators, bills, and committees.  The ‘Audio · Video’ tab in the middle of the screen will allow you to listen to live and past committee meetings or the House and Senate Floor while the ‘Calendar’ tab with show the times and locations of these meetings.

You can connect with me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SenatorMargaretDayton 

It is an honor to serve in the Senate and represent our area

Yours for freedom ~

Margaret Dayton

2017 Legislative Session, Week 1

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Dear Friends in Senate 15 ~ The 2017 State Legislature has completed the first week!

Citizens are welcome to come the Utah State Capitol and participate in committee hearings, sit in the Senate or House Gallery to observe debates, or connect with elected officials as time permits.

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If your schedule does not allow you to visit the Capitol in person, you can listen live to committees, watch live videos of floor debates – or access archived information here: http://le.utah.gov/
This first week has included visits to the Capitol from several school groups – 
including some from our district.

Over 50 charter schools from all over Utah came to present posters for their school.  Several included dances and songs performed by their choirs inside the Capitol building.

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For History Day on the Hill today students came to present school history projects of individuals they found influential and interesting from World War II.  Two of those students were in my district.  Daniel from Lakeridge Junior High School and Diana from Orem High School created biographies of these historic figures through the use of documentaries and interactive websites which were so inspiring to review.

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It was delightful to welcome students from Dixon Jr High School today.  What a nice opportunity for these students to visit the Capitol.

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The sand of the red rocks of San Juan County is in my DNA. My Lyman grandparents were the first settlers on White Mesa which eventually became the town of Blanding. So today I joined Speaker Hughes and the San Juan County Commissioners in promoting the passage of a resolution to send to Washington DC urging the repeal of the Bears Ears monument. You can find that resolution here:  http://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HCR011.html

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Earlier this week, I sent out a survey.  If you have not responded, please take 5 minutes and answer here:

https://margaretdayton.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_1zZk2MMfgm6PBL7

Please know that it is an honor to serve as the Senator from our district, and I am committed to be effective in this stewardship.

As always, my priorities are supporting the Constitution and preserving the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Yours for freedom ~

Margaret