Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hope you Enjoyed Valentine's Day

While many of us may consider this a day to simply celebrate the love of our significant others, it takes on a whole new meaning when the Utah State Senate President is Senator John Valentine. We hope you all took an opportunity to embrace the Day of Senator Valentine. Wednesday was filled with the spirit of love on capitol hill, and as such, local government had another good day.

First, the much opposed HB-166 Transportation Amendments Bill, which would place the Utah Transportation Authority (UTA) under the State Department of Transportation was sent to a favorable committee for local governments. While it was anticipated that the bill would go to Revenue and Taxation Committee, the bill was actually sent to Political Subdivisions. We will be working closely with that committee to ensure that they too understand the pitfalls of putting the local transportation district under the auspices of the state. It is likely that this bill will be heard early next week. Please stay tuned.

Also on Wednesday, SB-30 Creation of New School Districts passed the House and will be sent to the Senate for enrollment. The issue of creating new school districts still has several issues that need to be addressed, but the bill does establish an interim study item to ensure that those issues are resolved. This issue is quite contentious for several cities on the issue of who gets to vote when a district may be split into two smaller districts. As drafted and passed, the bill states that only the newly created school district gets to vote while the remainder of the existing district does not vote on the split. The issue of voting on the split will be the main topic in the months to come. Because of the split feelings among city leaders on the issue, the ULCT took a neutral position on the bill. We will, however, be watching the issue closely as it continues to be discussed.

That about does it for local governments on Capitol Hill for Valentine's Day. We will check back this afternoon with more information on Thursday committee meetings and schedules.

Here is the Schedule for Thursday, February 15, 2007:

House Revenue and Taxation--8:00 AM--Room W135

1. HB0383 Amendments to Transportation Funding Provisions (R. Lockhart)

2. HB0372 Local District Amendments (R. Lockhart)

3. HB0078 Property Tax Deferral - Senior Citizens (G. Froerer)

House Government Operations--8:15 AM--Room W010

1. HB0454 Voting Machines Used by Municipalities (N. Hansen)

Senate Business and Labor Standing Committee--8:15 AM--Room W015

1. HB0046S01 Disaster Recovery Funding (C. Oda)

2. HB0277S03 Construction Amendments (M. Morley)

House Political Subdivisions Standing Committee--8:30 AM--Room W125

1. HB0365 Eminent Domain Authority of Community Development and Renewal Agencies (S. Urquhart)

House Retirement and Independent Entities--5:30 PM--Room W025

1. HB0387 Post-retirement Benefits Restrictions (J. Dougall)