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June 2024 - Newsletter

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Friends and Neighbors,    

  

With the start of summer, I hope you and your loved ones have had the opportunity to take advantage of Utah’s beautiful outdoors. June has been busy and productive on Capitol Hill. In addition to our regular interim meetings, the Legislature examined several appointments made by the governor and convened in a special session to review legislation regarding various issues. Read a more in-depth overview of our interim meetings and the special session below.


This week, we have the opportunity to celebrate the Fourth of July. As you celebrate our nation’s independence, please remember to take appropriate precautions to alleviate the risk of wildfires when setting off fireworks. To see where you can legally and safely deploy fireworks, click here. I, like you, am eternally grateful to live in a country where we have access to unfettered freedom and liberty. I look forward to honoring our great nation in the upcoming week.


Utah’s 2024 Third Special Session Review 

In Utah, we take great pride in our part-time citizen legislature, which operates with the shortest legislative session in the country while consistently being recognized as the best-managed state with the most promising economic outlook.  


However, there are special circumstances that necessitate immediate action to ensure our state continues to run effectively. This month, we convened for a special session to address a few pressing issues. 

  

Bill Summaries  

  

Protecting Utah Against New, Unconstitutional Title IX Regulations 

Many of the challenges we in Utah have faced in the past few years stem from unconstitutional actions taken by federal agencies that bypass congressional approval. Such action occurred recently when the U.S. Department of Education unconstitutionally rewrote Title IX regulations in an attempt to simplify a complex issue with far-reaching consequences that go directly against state and federal laws. Title IX has been instrumental in promoting fairness and equal opportunities for women for over 50 years. After these changes were announced, the Utah State Board of Education unanimously voted to request the Legislature provide direction and clarity to the federal government's unilateral rule. 


In response, we used the framework established earlier this year to pass H.J.R. 301 and H.C.R. 301 during the special session. These resolutions affirm Utah's sovereign authority to safeguard the prosperity and welfare of Utahns and direct relevant state and local entities to adhere to state law rather than the new unconstitutional federal regulations if conflicts arise.  

  

With these resolutions, we send a clear message to the federal government that we will not tolerate overreach or disregard for our state sovereignty. As your senator, I will continue advocating for the autonomy and welfare of all Utahns, especially women and girls. 

  

Securing Utah’s Energy Future 

Ensuring energy remains affordable and reliable in Utah is critical to preserving our high quality of life for generations. From keeping the lights on to powering our cities, we need energy for almost everything we do. 

 

S.B. 161 Energy Security Amendments, passed during the 2024 General Session, was part of the Legislature’s effort to retain the Intermountain Power Plant (IPP), a reliable energy source for our state. However, its tight deadlines and requirements for receiving air permits raised concerns from several stakeholders. H.B. 3004 Energy Security Amendments adjusts these deadlines and parameters to be more workable and reasonable. These changes will help us work toward total energy independence and maintain one of the lowest electricity rates in the nation. 

  

Protecting Public Lands Against Federal Overreach 

The Legislature recently found that some funds appropriated to public lands and federal overreach overlapped and were unnecessarily duplicative. H.B. 3002 Public Lands Funding Amendments corrected that by consolidating public lands management funds. By centralizing funds, we prevent duplicative spending, clean up records for a more seamless process and enhance accountability so the public can better understand where their taxpayer dollars are going. 

  

The bill also allows the newly renamed Federal Overreach Restriction Account to be used to educate the public on federalism and state sovereignty. Providing more information about federalism ensures all Utahns understand the importance of protecting our state from unconstitutional federal action. 

  

Ensuring Exchange Student Academic Success  

A recent audit revealed many foreign exchange students participating in the Statewide Online Education Program (SOEP) did not meet the requirement of having a custodial parent residing in Utah, putting their graduation at risk. 

  

H.B. 3001 Exchange Student Guardianship Amendments clarified that foreign exchange students attending schools in Utah can continue their education, achieve their academic goals and graduate. 

  

Streamlining School District Creation 

During the 2024 General Session, lawmakers revised the process for creating new school districts However, this change allowed multiple competing proposals on the ballot, making the process more confusing for voters. 

  

To address this issue, H.B. 3003 School District Amendments repeals a process that allows a local school board to propose a new district and clarifies that a municipality can only participate in one proposal per ballot. By implementing these changes, the bill ensures a clearer, more defined process for creating new school districts, preventing confusion and promoting fairness in the decision-making process.  

  

Clarifying Sunset and Repeal Dates 

With Utah being one of the best-run states in the nation, we consistently revisit existing statutes to ensure we are efficient and effective in our governing. As part of this effort, we recently found that some sunset and repeal provisions in Utah Code did not conform with legislative drafting standards and unnecessarily complicated bill and data management processes. To solve this issue, we passed H.B. 3005 Sunset Repeal Date Code Corrections to ensure our laws meet our high standards. 

  

Confirming Utah’s Newest Juvenile Court Judges 

It is the Senate’s great responsibility to provide advice and consent on various appointments made by the governor. During the June interim, we met to confirm several appointments, including three new judges—Cas Melanson White to Utah’s 7th District Juvenile Court, Sandi Clemens to Utah’s 3rd District Juvenile Court and Angela Adams to Utah’s 5th District Juvenile Court. These women have shown exceptional expertise and a strong dedication to public service. I am grateful for their willingness to serve our state in their new capacity. Watch their confirmations here


Remembering October 7th 

The Legislature had the solemn privilege of hosting a special briefing on behalf of the Israel Consulate General’s Office regarding the atrocities that took place on October 7, 2023. The briefing included video footage of the Hamas attacks in Israel. Hamas’ actions, particularly against innocent children, women and the elderly, underscore the need for a unified stance against such atrocities. The horrific footage, much of it captured and broadcast by Hamas, serves as a reminder this is not an isolated conflict. Hamas’ documented brutality highlights the stakes of the broader global struggle of humanity to preserve democratic freedoms and defeat terror.  


Time and again throughout world history, we have learned it is vital to know the truth to prevent future atrocities. Exposure to this footage will help us to better comprehend October 7th and its impact on Israel, Gaza and the world. As Israel fights against a historic level of barbarism and terror, America, Utah and members of the Legislature are committed to supporting our strongest democratic ally in the Middle East.  


Honoring Veterans on D-Day’s 80th Anniversary 

Eighty years ago this month, the tides of WWII changed when heroic individuals faced incredible odds and stormed the beaches of Normandy. At the 80th commemoration of that historic day, two groups from Utah performed: students from Anthem Preparatory School in South Jordan and 54 members of the Utah Pipe Band. These Utahns represented our state well for such a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.


We owe our deepest gratitude to the bravery and sacrifice of the courageous souls who fought for freedom, facing unimaginable odds with unwavering resolve. At the Normandy American Cemetery, nearly 9,400 of these heroes rest, but their legacy of courage lives on. Their bravery is a reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right in the face of adversity. We honor their memory and the peace they fought to secure.


As time passes, the men and women who fought here will no longer be with us. It is not just a duty, but a profound responsibility to keep their story alive and never forget the sacrifices they made for the sake of the free world. Their legacy is a beacon of hope and a reminder of the price of freedom.


Martha Hughes Cannon Statue Heads to Washington D.C.  

As a frontier doctor, suffragist, public health advocate and the nation's first female state senator, Martha Hughes Cannon shaped Utah and our country in lasting ways. To celebrate her legacy, the state commissioned a statue of Cannon in 2020 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.  

  

The Senate was proud to participate in a farewell event for Cannon’s sculpture this month. The sculpture has long awaited its trip to D.C., where it will represent Utah and stand as the 14th woman in the 100-statue collection at the National Statuary Hall.  

  

We were thrilled to participate in this historic moment and are proud her legacy will live on in our nation’s capital for the rest of the world to see. See highlights from the send-off here.  




ICYMI  

 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for future legislative work. Thank you for staying updated on the political process. 

  

Best,  

Ron Winterton

Utah Senate District 20

 

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Jun 30, 2024

June 2024 - Newsletter

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