Week 3 of the Legislative Session
The session is now halfway over, but we still have a lot of work to do. Appropriations subcommittees have finished compiling their budget recommendations. Now the Executive Appropriations Committee will review and refine the final spending bills. Passing a balanced budget is not only mandated by our state constitution—it’s the most important work we do in the legislature.
Conducting a detailed review of every department’s budget each year is essential. Sometimes major problems are uncovered during the process. For example, you can read here about our recent discovery that the Utah Office of Rehabilitation has been using one-time federal grants to fund ongoing programs for the blind, creating a multi-million dollar deficit in their budget. Now we have to find a way to pay for a $6.3 million shortfall, and put thousands of new vocational rehabilitation clients on a waiting list, or else stop these vital services to disabled people almost immediately.
Last Wednesday, my husband gave me an early Valentine’s Day present by surprising me during floor time with a “singing telegram” by a talented quartet from American Leadership Academy’s high school show choir. Two of the singers happened to be my children. It was an awesome surprise! We also heard a group of Native American students from Nebo School District sing a native ballad, accompanied by guitar. Their beautiful, melodic song was a fitting tribute to a rich culture.
A few other highlights from Week 3:
- We confirmed a new justice to the Utah Supreme Court, Constandinos G. Himonas (More Information). Such confirmations are extremely rare. The last Supreme Court Justice we confirmed was in 2010.
- We honored Native American Students from Nebo School District, and 5th Graders from Spring Lake Elementary on the Senate Floor.
- Seventy-six new bills were introduced, twenty-five passed the Senate.
The legislative process is improved with feedback. Seeing you and hearing from you makes this process so much more effective. It was great to see so many of you at the Capitol this week.
Seen on the Hill
- Scott Spencer, Payson Fire Chief
- Steve Spencer, Payson Firefighter
- Utah County Republican Women
- Matt Barber
- Karen Zea
- Jimmy Henderson
- Brooklyn Henderson
- Dallin Isaac
- Courtney Heirtzler
- Spring Lake Elementary 5th Graders
- Navajo students from Spanish Fork and Payson High Schools
- Cathy Hulse