top of page

2024 Session - Week 2

Scroll down

LOADING...

Friends and Neighbors, 

  

Week two of the 2024 General Session is officially over! This week was quite busy and very productive. I have enjoyed meeting with many of you regarding your concerns and suggestions. Hearing your thoughts on my legislation is incredibly valuable to me. You can learn more about the bills that I am sponsoring here. If you would like to see if there is time to meet with me or discuss my legislation, you can contact my intern Elijah Clark at 385-441-0602. 



During week two, in addition to budget hearings, I spent many hours in committee meetings and considered various bills. I had many thoughtful discussions with my colleagues on a multitude of topics. So much hard work has gone into all the proposed legislation, and it is truly an honor to be involved in this process.  

  

Below, you will find a description of some items addressed and events that happened last week. I will continue to send regular updates during the remaining five weeks of the session. I encourage each of you to reach out with your questions and thoughts. 

  

Best, 

 

Ron Winterton 

 

Base Budget Bills 

As a Legislature, our constitutional responsibility is to pass a balanced budget before the close of the general legislative session. It is a responsibility we take seriously. As such, we spend the first few weeks of the session meeting in appropriations subcommittees considering how we allocate money for public education, social services, transportation and more.  

   

Eight appropriations subcommittees prepare base budgets for their assigned subject area over the first couple of weeks of the session. These subcommittee base budgets are passed in the early weeks of the session, allowing the state to continue functioning at a basic level and preventing the state government from shutting down. Then, typically during the final week of the session, we pass what is known as the “Bill of Bills,” which is the comprehensive budget bill that includes additional appropriations not included in the base budgets. Learn more here. 

 

How to Navigate the Legislative Website 

Staying informed and knowing how to use government resources are essential parts of being involved in the legislative process. I invite you to continue following along throughout the session over the next five weeks and learn more about the topics of interest to you. With this in mind, we have created video tutorials and corresponding documents that explain how to best utilize the legislative website (le.utah.gov). We will highlight a new tutorial each week of the session, and we hope they will be both helpful and instructive.  

 

This week’s tutorial walks you through the steps of how to virtually join a committee meeting. Watch the video here. 

 

Legislation 

 

H.B. 257- Privacy Spaces 

Utahns deserve the right to privacy when using restrooms and locker rooms. Too often, cases of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior have occurred in spaces where Utahns have an expectation of safety. To help address this issue, we passed a common-sense bill to help protect all Utahns’ privacy.  

 

H.B. 257 will provide privacy and peace of mind by ensuring people in government facilities use multiple-occupancy restrooms, locker rooms or showers that correspond with their sex. The bill also strengthens criminal charges for those who commit offensive behavior in a bathroom. It enhances criminal penalties for simultaneous violations of the following: lewdness, lewdness involving a child, voyeurism, criminal trespass, or loitering in privacy spaces. 

 

To ensure those who may want extra privacy have options, this bill also requires state and local government entities to improve privacy by providing adequate single-occupancy facilities in new buildings and studying the feasibility of retrofitting existing facilities. It also incorporates the important aspects of Title IX into state law, requiring equal access to facilities and athletic opportunities.


This is an important step forward to ensure that all Utahns have privacy in sensitive settings. To learn more about the bill, click here

 

S.C.R. 3 - Major League Baseball Resolution 

Baseball is truly America’s pastime. Its history, deeply rooted in American culture, has brought countless contributions to our society and generational connections. It is only fitting that one of the greatest sports comes to the greatest state in the nation. My colleagues and I are working hard to bring a Major League Baseball franchise to the Beehive State. This week we passed S.C.R. 3 Concurrent Resolution Supporting Major League Baseball in Utah. Recognizing Utah as a prime location, the resolution highlights our advantageous geographic position, proven track record in hosting successful sports events, community-centric values and robust economy. 

  

Beyond the thrill of the game, the resolution emphasizes the significant economic and cultural benefits a professional baseball team and ballpark would bring to Utah. Enabling greater accessibility and affordability for Utahns to enjoy sporting events, this decision will have a positive impact for generations. Utah is poised and eager to become the permanent home of a professional baseball franchise, further enriching our state's cultural and sporting legacy. 

 

S.C.R. 2-Utah Association of Counties Resolution 

The Utah Association of Counties (UAC) plays a pivotal role in Utah’s track record of good governance. With a crucial role in supporting the 29 counties across our state, UAC enables counties to offer the best possible services to their citizens. They represent the counties in the Legislature, advocate for their needs, provide training to county officials and work to improve county government outcomes. As the government entities closest to the people, counties benefit significantly from UAC's vital services. 

  

This month marks the 100th anniversary of UAC. Here at the Legislature, we honored their timeless contributions to Utah by passing a resolution in support of their organization while welcoming numerous county commissioners onto the Senate floor. UAC's tireless efforts contribute significantly to Utah's standing as one of the best places to live in America, which we acknowledge with deep gratitude. For more insights into UAC and to read the resolution, click  here.



S.B. 98 Online Data Security and Privacy Amendments  

Over the past few years, there has been an effort by stakeholders, organizations, businesses and national security task forces to review security and privacy to better identify the duties of the state cybersecurity centers and departments. As part of this push, S.B. 98 will ensure more secure domains and information online.  

 

The bill enhances and clarifies the data breach notification responsibility, outlining the reporting process and requirements when these breaches occur. It grants the Utah Cyber Center the rule-making authority to set a framework for notification responsibilities and reporting requirements for government entities, an industry best practice. The Utah Cyber Center will utilize information technology directors, cybersecurity professionals or equivalent individuals representing political subdivisions to perform necessary duties. Also, the bill requires certain government entities to use authorized domain names and sets a timeline for when they should implement this. Learn more here. 

 

Affordable Housing DWS Building Block Requests 

Increasing access to affordable housing and addressing homelessness are priorities for the Senate majority caucus. As a result, the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee received a presentation from the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) on the current status of the state’s efforts and the budgetary needs of the department. The subcommittee reviewed the  Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund, which provides funding for the development of affordable housing for Utah’s low-income population, and received a progress report on the financial needs of this program. 

 

The subcommittee also heard an update on budgetary needs, different remedies and solutions. The meeting mainly focused on solving both crises. I am dedicated to working with my colleagues to find solutions to providing affordable housing options for Utahns and helping our homeless population find long-term housing.   

 

You can watch the subcommittee meeting here.


Great Salt Lake Update 

Great Salt Lake Commissioner Brian Steed provided a status update on the Great Salt Lake. He shared some of the goals for the lake, including land use planning, developing a long-term funding plan, exploring potential water supply augmentation and developing a split season lease program to acquire the water the lake needs. 

  

One of the main concerns is dust pollution. Dust mitigation could require high upfront and ongoing costs. Thankfully, the lakebed has a thick crust that will keep the dust down; however, mitigating it is a long-term goal. 

 

Additionally, the lake's south arm has seen a notable increase, with healthier salinity and higher water levels than in 2022. While it is still a work in progress, there has been an increased understanding of the costs associated with a drying lake.  

 

Listen to the full report presented in the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee here. 

 

Utah March for Life 

I joined Utahns in last week’s March for Life in support of a baby's right to life. With over 1,200 participants, the March for Life demonstrates our commitment to protect those who cannot protect themselves. In Utah, we have a strong community supporting women who experience an unplanned pregnancy and want to help them feel supported during a potentially difficult time. Our state has invested significant funding to provide resources for expectant and new mothers. You can learn more about the resources available here. I am grateful for the hard work of individuals and organizations that help protect unborn babies and support pregnant women. 

 

Aerospace and Defense Day on the Hill  

Utah aerospace and defense companies had the opportunity to showcase their cutting-edge Utah-based products to legislators at the Capitol. Utah continues to make great strides in aerospace and defense, and this industry plays a vital role in supporting our state's economy. The aerospace and defense industry brings thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to our state's budget annually, accounting for 20% of our state's economy. 

 

As a state that significantly contributes to the United States' national security, we, as a Legislature, will continue to support developments in the aerospace and defense sector. Recently, a new caucus was formed, the Aerospace and Defense Caucus, which aims to help showcase and provide legislative support for Utah's aerospace and defense sector. It will also further industry priorities that directly benefit Utahns. 

 

Visit from Consulate General of Canada 

We had the pleasure of welcoming Canadian Consul General Sylvain Fabi, who represents Canada in the U.S. Mountain West Region, to the Senate. Utah has a strong relationship with Canada, with $2.75 million exported to Utah annually and 77 Canadian-owned businesses employing 2,473 workers in Utah. During a meeting with Senate majority leadership, we shared our priorities with the Consul General and discussed opportunities for continued collaboration on future projects. We will continue to develop good relationships with international partners, allowing Utah's influence to expand worldwide.    

 

Recognition of Uzbekistan Representative to the United Nations 

We recognized the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United Nations, Mr. Ulugbek Lapasov, on the Senate floor. Since its founding, Utah is known as the crossroads of the West. Likewise, Uzbekistan was the crossroads of the world for hundreds of years as trade flowed along the Silk Road. Ambassador Lapasov came to Utah to build partnerships with Utah organizations. He is committed to helping Uzbekistan teach its people English instead of Russian, increasing digital literacy in Uzbekistan, and providing support as the country works to modernize its mining industry. Additionally, he wants to increase tourism and develop a strong tech industry—all things we know that Utah excels in. It was an honor to be joined by representatives of Uzbekistan. 



Spelling Bee Citation 

We were honored to recognize Surya Kapu on the Senate Floor for his accomplishments in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Surya, a native of South Jordan, holds the title of third-place winner of the 95th Scripps National Spelling Bee. In 2022, Surya qualified for the National Spelling Bee by winning the 2023 Regional Spelling Bee, which was made up of nearly 170 students participating from 104 Utah schools. Enduring 13 challenging rounds, he precisely spelled words like Tenebrous, Nunnari, Hansel and Bloemfontein. 

  

His accomplishments amount to the highest-ever finish for a Utah student in National Spelling Bee history. We are proud of his work and thank him for representing Utah well. 

 

Rumble in the Rockies - Signature Robotics Competitors 

We were happy to be joined in the Senate chamber by local Career and Technical Education (CTE) students and robotics competitors from four different school districts to recognize them for their talent and capabilities in their craft.  

 

Utah’s schools are at the forefront of robotics programs across the country and have accumulated an impressive number of accolades in the past decade. Robotics teaches students real-world engineering principles, physics and math in a productive and creative manner.  

 

The students will compete in the Rumble in the Rockies robotics event held in Salt Lake City this weekend. The competition is a part of the larger VEX Robotics program, which prepares students to become future innovators and gives them increased experience in STEM subject areas. I am grateful they took the time to come and be recognized by the Senate, and we wish them the best of luck in their upcoming competitions. Learn more about VEX Robotics here and watch the recognition here. 



66 views0 comments

Comments


Recent

May 25, 2024

May 2024 - Newsletter

It’s hard to believe we’ve had our first interim meetings and are already preparing for the 2025 General Session!