Week 3 - 2019 Legislative Session

Fallen Officers

For week 3 of the session, we welcomed the families and colleagues of two officers who died in the line of duty on the Senate floor: David Romrell and Dennis Vincent. I am grateful for their service to our state, and I offer my sincerest condolences to their loved ones, friends and colleagues.
Read about legislation that occurred this week:

Utah Senate

Fallen Officers
Officer Romrell was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served as an officer in the South Salt Lake Police Department for only 11 months before being tragically shot in the line of duty. Officer Vincent was the assistant chief for the Brigham City Police Department and collapsed after a mandatory physical fitness test; he passed away the following week from a cerebral aneurysm. The entire Senate body stood and observed a moment of silence to commemorate the officers and the sacrifice they and their families have made to protect our communities.

In the News: Deseret News

Now the Legislature has passed its base budgets, our focus has been on considering appropriations (funding) requests. Legislators file requests on behalf of groups like state agencies to non-profit entities. This year, we enhanced the screening process by requiring all requests include additional information like an itemized budget, performance measures and information on previously received state support. After the paperwork is submitted, the requests are assigned to a committee where the organization may offer a five-minute presentation explaining why they are requesting funds. The committee listens to presentations then prioritizes the requests. For example, the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee hears priorities from the Utah System of Higher Education, as well as from individual universities and departments within the university. Listening to the presentations helps us understand where the greatest needs are in our state.

You can listen to committee presentations here.

Unclaimed Property Amendments
There is currently over $300 million in unclaimed property. SB 70, Unclaimed Property, requires insurance companies to make good faith efforts to find the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. The goal is to get this money to the rightful owners. Individuals claiming the benefit would still need to provide additional documentation, i.e. death certificate, otherwise unclaimed property is eventually sent to the education fund. This bill passed through the Senate with unanimous support and will now be considered in the House. Visit mycash.utah.gov to see if you have any unclaimed property.

To access committee materials and audio, click here.

Affordable Housing
SB 34, Affordable Housing Modifications, is designed to use transportation funds to incentivize cities on the Wasatch Front to remove barriers prohibiting affordable housing development. The purpose of this legislation is not only to create more affordable housing in Utah but also have city land-use planning and transportation planning collaborate to increase their efficiency as
Utah’s population increases. The bill passed in the Senate and has moved to the House for consideration.

To access video of the presentation on the Senate floor, click here.

In the News: Deseret News | Salt Lake Tribune

Secondary Water Metering
SB 52, Secondary Water Metering Requirements, would require all water districts in Utah to meter secondary water using pressurized systems. The bill initially required changes be implemented by 2030, but there are over 200 water districts in the state; some districts operate under unique circumstances that made this requirement difficult by the deadline. The bill now
proposed the effective date be extended to 2039. The changes will be relatively expensive to implement, so the Board of Water Resources will be required to make $20 million in loans and grants available each year for the financing of secondary water metering. With the projected growth in Utah’s population, it’s critical we carefully monitor our most precious resource. One study released last year found districts are currently underestimating secondary water use by as much as 34 percent. SB 52 passed in the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee and will now be considered on the Senate floor.

To access committee materials and audio, click here.

In the News: Fox 13 | Salt Lake Tribune

Gambling Machines
The Utah Constitution bans any form of gambling in this state. However, gambling devices can be found throughout the state including at laundromats, gas stations and other retail locations. Though the Utah Attorney General's Office has removed hundreds of machines, some legal loopholes allow certain vendors to continue to operate these machines.

Last year, SB 225, Gambling Amendments, passed the Senate and was the next bill to be considered in the House when the clock struck midnight and the 2018 session came to a close. HB 23, Gambling Machines Amendments, is essentially the same bill with some minor changes. The purpose is to eliminate fringe gambling machines still found throughout the state. The devices are often called sweepstakes kiosks. For every dollar deposited in the machine, the player is able to redeem a $1 gift card to a particular website. In theory, players are not risking their money. In practice, the gift cards are difficult if not impossible to redeem. This legislation would regulate the operation of these devices to more closely match the intent of the Utah Constitution. HB 23 passed second reading in the Senate and will be up for consideration a third time.

To access committee materials and audio, click here.

To view the presentation on the Senate floor, click here.

In the News: Deseret News | Salt Lake Tribune

Warm Regards,
Senator Winterton
Utah Senate District 26

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