April 2022 - Newsletter

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Since the legislative session ended in March, there have been many events that brought my focus back to the Capitol. One which occurred last week, when we came together to review and approve the governor’s nominations for vacant public positions, including two nominations for judges. I appreciated the opportunity to work with my fellow legislators again and support these great individuals.

Starting in May, we will convene each month in interim meetings, where we will study the impacts of bills from the most recent session and previous years. We will take deeper dives into bills we did not pass in the 2022 legislative session and consider new ideas that may become bills in the future. I look forward to updating you on our progress throughout the year.

I have included some highlights and updates below:

COVID Performance

In a new study focused on states' response to COVID-19, Utah ranked first “by a considerable margin.” While other states enforced burdensome restrictions, we focused on providing a safe avenue for Utahns to return to work and school. We understood from the beginning that lockdowns and mandates were not the right approach. Our tactics helped us safely navigate COVID-19, quickly recover from the economic downturn and provide the best learning environment for our students in the classroom.


Though many states and leaders around the country warned us we were making a mistake, we stuck to our roots and placed our faith in the people of Utah. Because of your efforts to protect the most vulnerable and continue life as we know it, we came out of the pandemic with one of the lowest case fatality rates, the lowest unemployment rate in state history, a booming economy and kids learning in the classroom.


Thank you for your efforts over the past two years. You showed the nation what the Beehive state is all about – hard work and helping your neighbor. Read about the study and why Utah ranked first here.



Law Enforcement Bill Signings

The past two years have underscored how Utahns rely on law enforcement who are dedicated to helping people in their greatest time of need, oftentimes risking their own lives.

Utah also continues to be a leader in mental health efforts. We are fortunate to have world-renowned researchers and a dedicated healthcare industry in our state. During the 2022 Legislative Session, we passed several bills to expand support to law enforcement and their families and improve statewide mental health. On Tuesday, April 12, lawmakers joined the governor and lieutenant governor for a ceremonial bill signing of the follow law enforcement and mental health bills. Learn more here.

The bills signed were:

  • HB194: Department of Corrections Education Services

  • SB171: Behavioral Health Curriculum Program

  • HB13: Special License Plate Designation

  • HB226: Higher Education and Corrections Council

  • HB289: Insurance Coverage for Emergency Medical Service Personnel

  • HB138: Juvenile Justice Modifications

  • HB117: Victim Address Confidentiality Program

  • SB126: Officer Intervention and Reporting Amendments

  • HB153: Child Welfare Interview Requirements

  • HB295: Physician Workforce Amendments

  • HB23: First Responder Mental Health Services Amendments

  • SB179: Criminal Justice Amendments

  • HB403: Justice Reinvestment Initiative Modifications


Education Bill Signings

Every year, education is a primary focus of the legislative session. This year, we passed historic state funding by allocating $7.3 billion to public education and increased the education budget by $383 million in ongoing revenue, a 9% increase.


We passed several new laws that support educators and students statewide and will help ensure a bright future for all Utahns. On Thursday, April 14, the governor, lieutenant governor and lawmakers held a ceremonial signing for a few of the recently passed education bills. I am honored to represent a state that invests in our education systems and prioritizes sound education policy. Learn more here.


The bills signed were:

  • HB194: Department of Corrections Education Services

  • SB171: Behavioral Health Curriculum Program

  • HB13: Special License Plate Designation

  • HB226: Higher Education and Corrections Council

  • HB289: Insurance Coverage for Emergency Medical Service Personnel

  • HB138: Juvenile Justice Modifications

  • HB117: Victim Address Confidentiality Program

  • SB126: Officer Intervention and Reporting Amendments

  • HB153: Child Welfare Interview Requirements

  • HB295: Physician Workforce Amendments

  • HB23: First Responder Mental Health Services Amendments

  • SB179: Criminal Justice Amendments

  • HB403: Justice Reinvestment Initiative Modifications


Advice and Consent

Just as the U.S. Senate confirms appointments made by the president, the Utah Senate confirms appointments made by the governor. Reviewing and approving nominations for vacant public positions such as judges, council members, board members, commissioners, etc. made by the governor is an important step in the confirmation process. On Wednesday, April 13, the Senate met for advice and consent and voted in favor of recent nominees, including two judges. Judge Mandy Larsen will fill the vacancy left by Judge Wallace Lee on the 6th District Court. Judge David Johnson will fill the vacancy left by Judge Mark May on the 3rd District Juvenile Court. I am excited to support the work of these fine individuals in their upcoming roles.


Utahns can provide comment on individuals appointed by contacting the Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee.


Secondary Meter Grants

Water is the biggest hindrance to growth in our state. Secondary metering has reduced wasteful water use while increasing irrigation efficiency. Cities metering secondary water systems have shown reduced water consumption of up to 30%. Federal funding was recently made available to acquire and install secondary water meters on existing unmetered pressurized systems. This funding, available to secondary water suppliers through H.B. 242 Secondary Water Metering Amendments, will give greater insight into our water usage and improve Utah’s water conservation efforts. Applications for a grant are open from April 1 to May 15 and can be found here. Additional applications will be available in the future based on the remaining funding.

Utah Diplomatic Conference

International trade relations is an important topic of discussion in Utah, and it was addressed at the Utah Diplomatic Conference on March 21, hosted by Utah Valley University. The conference welcomed diplomats from 30 countries, who discussed topics such as globally learned COVID-19 lessons.


Some of these subjects included foreign investments, technology, sustainability and free trade. Each attendee had the unique experience of hearing a variety of different perspectives, learning how to engage with foreign diplomats and discussing new ways of addressing global issues. We look forward to continued excellence in international trade relations in our state.

Time Capsule Survey Responses

In 1914, Utahns gathered to place a time capsule in the Capitol building, which we opened in 2016. Inside, we found items that gave us a glimpse into the past. On Wednesday, May 18, at 2:00 p.m., we will fill our own time capsule, to be opened in 100 years, and place it back in the cornerstone of the Capitol building, where the first time capsule was kept. Feedback on what items should be included in the new capsule are shown below.

I hope you will join us on the hill in a few weeks as we seal the capsule in the Capitol building and preserve Utah's rich history for future generations! You can learn more about the original time capsule here.


Utah Named Least Stressed State in the U.S.

Stress is inevitable, but where you live could impact your stress levels. Luckily, we live in the least stressed state in the country! A new study claims Utahns have the least overall stress, the least work-related stress and the second least family-related stress. The study used metrics such as job security, poverty rates, average hours worked and average hours of sleep. Learn more here.

Film Incentives

One of my bills from the 2022 General Session, S.B. 49 State Film Production Incentives, makes Utah’s film industry competitive among other states. I worked with stakeholders, including Kevin Costner, who filmed some of his most successful projects in Utah, to create a bill to help both the film industry and the rural parts of our state. S.B. 49 allows the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity to issue additional tax credit incentives for rural film productions. The incentive will boost Utah’s rural economy and increase the number of jobs in our state’s film industry as producers will be motivated to hire locally rather than bring staff from out of state. Incentivizing film production in rural Utah provides jobs and increased revenue for our communities. Learn more about the bill here.


Kind regards,


Senator Ron Winterton

Utah Senate District 26


113 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All