The Issues


"I have known Dean both professionally, politically, and personally for years and I know that he will be a great asset to the district and will represent us well. We'll do more than well to have him representing us."

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Perspectives from the House

2013 Session Week 1 and 2

Week 2 of the legislative session is almost over, and we’ve accomplished a great deal so far. We are making progress on the budget for the next fiscal year. I, along with the legislature, am committed to finding solutions, maintaining fiscal responsibility, and preserving Utah’s climate of educational excellence. Upholding these principles will help to keep Utah a model for the nation.

This session, I am running a few bills and one that will increase the quality of health care in Utah in cost-effective ways.  This bill which passed the House earlier this week and has passed the Senate Health and Human Services committee this week, will require state and local boards of mental health to coordinate with doctors in the medical care of mental health patients, a group which is at risk for serious medical problems. By coordinating mental and medical care, we can provide better care to this group much more efficiently.  This bill has received broad support and a great number of accolades from the behavioral health community.

Week 3

Week three at the legislature is now behind us. So much has happened already. This week we had the privilege of passing a bill that grants Dixie State College university status. The move from college to university is a direct product of the hard work of the community and will be an education and economic boon to southern Utah.

We are also working to address air quality in Utah through commonsense measures that will not restrict our freedoms or shackle our economy. This is a complex, multifaceted issue that will require participation from everyone in the state. 

My bill on mental health integration and coordination (H.B. 57) has now passed both the House and the Senate and is on its way to the governor. I also have a few other bills moving through the legislative process now that will improve our health care system here in Utah through commonsense, free-market principles.

Week 4

We’ve just passed the session’s halfway mark, and so far we’ve been able to pass a base budget, increase transparency in campaigns, and create a new university. While we’re pleased with what we have accomplished, we know we still have hard issues to tackle.

My two remaining bills are moving through the House, and will probably be voted on next week. These two bills will help cut health care costs in the state through common sense policy changes and smarter allocation of resources.

Next week we will conclude our appropriations subcommittee hearings and begin assembling the 2014 budget. With the effects of sequestration in the Federal budget looming, we in the legislature will use extra caution to ensure we don’t follow the same path to financial ruin. Utah is the best-managed state in the union, and we intend to keep it that way through sound fiscal policies.

Week 5 & 6

Now that final committee meetings have been held, most of our work will be done on the chamber floor. Between the House and the Senate more than 700 bills were numbered this session. That doesn't mean we'll pass that many new laws. Some bills are clean-up bills, making technical changes. Some fix problems or update existing laws. Some are abandoned, others fail to make it out of committees and others fail on the floor of the House or Senate.

The state constitution requires that the general legislative session only last 45 consecutive days. Those 45 days include weekends, which means that the legislature actually has 32 business days do the work of the state. Regardless of time constraints, we will pass a balanced budget totaling nearly $13 billion, we will increase education funding, and provide a safety net for Utah’s most needy.

All of my bills have now passed both the House and the Senate, and are on their way to the governor’s desk. I now have the opportunity to present a couple of Senate bills on the House floor, including a bill that sets up an ethics commission for the executive branch. The legislative branch and local governments already have similar ethics commissions to ensure those elected officials follow good ethical practices. It only makes sense that our elected executive officials should be held to the same standard.

Week 7

The 2013 General Legislative Session has come to a close, and with our work completed we now have the opportunity to look back at all we have accomplished in the last 45 days. Some highlights from the session:

  • Most notably we have once again balanced Utah’s $13 billion budget. Despite the uncertainty of federal sequestration and its effects, Utah’s economy is recovering nicely and we were able to fully fund growth in public education at $75 million, increase the weighted pupil unit 2% at $48 million. We also added more than $23 million in funding to higher education. We were also able to increase care for Utah’s most needy by adding more funding to the disabilities waiting list.
  • We have passed a few bills to strengthen Utahans’ Second Amendment rights while also enacting policies to protect Utahans from improper use of firearms.
  • We have passed a few bills to make occupational licensing procedures more reasonable and equitable.
  • While Utah’s economy continues to show signs of recovery and growth, we have worked hard to prepare for unforeseen fiscal problems in the future, particularly reductions in Federal funds, and have asked our political subdivisions to be prepared as well. Utah is the best-managed state in the nation, and we plan to keep it that way.
  • We have passed a few important ethics reforms, such as prohibiting legislators from receiving contributions while on the Capitol Hill complex. I was the House sponsor for S.B. 86, which establishes an independent ethics commission for our elected executive branch officials.

Our work will continue into the interim as we study various issues and prepare for the 2014 session. I feel extremely privileged to have served you in the Utah House of Representatives this year.