Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Week three is done and the legislature has passed 50 total bills. We’ve seen some great bills that are the culmination of years of work and negotiation. The great thing about the Utah Legislature is that almost everyone here tries hard to be open, respectful and collaborative. Even though we’ve heard a lot about unity in the last few weeks I think that many people get it wrong. Unity is not about getting people to think the way that you do, it is about people with many different perspectives united in purpose, working toward common goals. Even with all our differences, we all still share common goals. We all want Utah to have a booming economy, first-rate education, clean air, affordable and accessible healthcare, recreational opportunities and safe communities.
I appreciate all of you who have taken the time and effort to share your viewpoints so far. Please, keep it up and stay involved.
Utah State Flag
Some people believe Utah’s current flag falls short when it comes to representing the state in a simple and purposeful way. My bill, S.B. 48 State Flag Task Force, creates a State Flag Taskforce to assess whether a new state flag should be created. Though some may think that such an undertaking is not important, a state flag is the logo and branding of a state. Most people quickly recognize the bear seen on the California state flag or the star of Arizona. An iconic state flag can be a rallying point and marketing tool for the state of Utah. S.B. 48 passed the Senate and is headed to the House. To listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor, click here.
Honoring Officer Nathan Lyday
The Utah Legislature paid tribute and honored the exemplary life of Officer Nathan Lyday from the Ogden City Police Department. On May 28, 2020, Officer Nathan Lyday made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his life for the protection of others. That day will remain a date of significance and honor for the city of Ogden and the state of Utah. May we remember and thank our law enforcement officers for protecting our communities. Listen to the floor presentation here. Read the full citation here.
Law Enforcement Weapons Amendments
Equipping our law enforcement officers with the latest resources to address incidents is critical to protecting the public. S.B. 68 Law Enforcement Weapons Amendments, would create a pilot program that would help the Utah Highway Patrol in purchasing technology to assist law enforcement agencies in police incidents where firearms are involved. This technology would allow firearms to record the number of shots fired and indicate when it was fired. This simple modification would improve the effectiveness of police investigations where firearms are used. This bill passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Listen to the bill’s presentation on the Senate floor here.
Conceal Carry Firearm Amendments
Utah currently has an "open carry" law that allows individuals who are legally able to possess a firearm to open carry in public. H.B. 60 Conceal Carry Firearms Amendments, would allow anyone over 21, who is legally allowed to possess a firearm, to carry a concealed weapon in public without a concealed carry permit. Additionally, this bill would establish a Suicide Prevention and Education Fund and a portion of funds collected from the concealed carry permit class will go toward suicide prevention efforts and firearm safety. This bill will not discontinue the concealed carry permit class or change specifications on how firearms can be carried in public. H.B. 60 passed the Senate and will be sent to the House for their consideration. Listen to the bill’s presentation on the Senate floor here.
Law Enforcement Qualifications
Many of the brave men and women in our nation’s military are not United States citizens. Though they are legal residents, citizenship is not required for them to serve. However, in Utah, those who protect our local communities in law enforcement are required to be U.S. citizens. S.B. 102 Peace Officer Training Qualifications Amendments, changes Utah law to allow lawful permanent residents who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years to serve as police officers. This change will help create police departments that more closely resemble the diverse communities they serve. S.B. 102 passed in the Senate will now be considered in the House. Listen to the bill’s presentation on the Senate floor here.
Although Utah works hard to have accurate and secure elections, ballots occasionally are mailed to deceased voters. H.B. 12 Deceased Voter Amendments, creates a more uniform process to rectify this issue. When a Utahn passes away, the bill requires that the death certificate be sent from the state registrar to the Lieutenant Governor’s office within five business days of the certificate's registration. The certificate will then be sent to the County Clerk’s office where the deceased name will be removed from the voter rolls. Before each election cycle, the Lieutenant Governor’s office will also cross-check each name against United States Social Security Administration data. H.B. 12 passed the Senate and House and will be sent to the governor. To listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor, click here.
Driver License Changes
This week, we considered legislation that would make changes to the driver’s license requirements for new drivers. H.B. 18 Driver Education Amendments, would extend the term of a learner permit from one year to 18 months. This change does not prevent youth from getting their license upon turning 16. In addition, this bill would remove the required six observation hours for driver education observation for 15-17-year-olds. This bill passed with unanimous support in the Senate. To listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor, click here.
Many adults learned about the Holocaust during their K-12 years; however, it seems this important, historic lesson is slowly diminishing in our children’s education. S.C.R. 1 Concurrent Resolution on Holocaust Education, highlights the importance of Holocaust and genocide education for students and encourages the State Board of Education and local education agencies to provide content about the Holocaust and genocide in schools. This bill passed with unanimous support in the Senate and will now be considered by the House. You can watch the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
Recognizing COVID-19 Efforts
The last year has been hard on everyone as we’ve learned to live during a pandemic. Many have been sick or lost loved ones. Thousands of people lost jobs and some lost businesses. Students, teachers and families had to adapt to a new style of education. During this challenging time, many individuals in our state and local health departments worked tirelessly to produce, publish and promote accurate information to help us navigate this pandemic. This week, the Senate passed H.C.R. 6 Concurrent Resolution Recognizing COVID-19 Efforts, to recognize and express our appreciation for these individuals. You can watch the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
Financial Relief for Businesses Harmed by COVID-19
Over the last year, we made significant efforts to provide economic support to businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. S.B. 25 Corporate Tax Amendments, provides more targeted relief to businesses by allowing them to carry back a net loss realized during 2020 for up to three years. The purpose of this bill is if a business was profitable in the three years leading up to 2020, but then suffered a loss in 2020, the loss is very likely to have been caused by the economic hardship brought on by the pandemic. This bill passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. You can watch the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
In 2018, the Utah Supreme Court ruled in Savely v. Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) that a state district court has jurisdiction over property held in civil asset forfeiture cases. The ruling stems from an incident in 2016 where a motorist had $500,000 seized by a UHP trooper without being charged with a crime. Though the money was initially seized by UHP, a federal magistrate filed a warrant to seize the money for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). S.B. 98 Asset Forfeiture Amendments, clarifies the process for seizing property. Property seized by local law enforcement is to be handled in a state district court. If the local agency wants to turn property over to a federal agency, the reasons need to be explained first in a state district court. S.B. 98 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. To listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor, click here.
I Look Forward to Hearing From You!
I'll try to continually keep you informed about my work on the Hill – likewise, please keep in touch – I’d love to hear your insights and opinions.
I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve in this capacity. We live in a unique and special place. Thank you for all you do to make Utah the best state in the nation – and thanks for paying attention.
Until next time,
Senator Dan McCay
Utah Senate District 11