Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With week 4 of the 2022 legislative session done, we are over halfway finished! There is plenty more still to do. Remember, if you are interested in keeping track of what is going on, bill by bill, click here to go to the legislative website, where you can watch live video of floor debates, hear bill presentations in standing committees and see how we voted in each situation.
When it came time for the Senate to vote on tax cuts, we unanimously gave final approval to my bill, S.B 59 State Income Tax Rate Reduction, which reduces taxes for Utahns by $192.9 million. S.B. 59:
Reduces the individual and corporate income tax rate for all Utahns from 4.95% to 4.85%. A $163.7 million reduction in taxes.
Increases the eligibility for a social security tax credit for seniors. A $15.4 million reduction in taxes.
Establishes an earned income tax credit (EITC). A $16.1 million reduction in taxes.
Utah’s booming economy and fiscally sound tax policy provide us with the opportunity to reduce taxes for Utahns while increasing funding in education, infrastructure and social services. The Senate concurred unanimously with the House’s proposed changes to S.B 59, and the bill was signed by the governor. Listen to the latest bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
State Services Sunset Extension
In 2017, we passed S.B. 65 Postal Facilities and Government Services, which authorizes state agencies to enter into an agreement with the U.S. Postal Service to provide certain services, such as fishing and hunting licenses. This legislation makes it easier for individuals, especially in rural areas, to access these services and benefits both rural post offices and state agencies. S.B. 60 Agreements to Provide State Services Sunset Extension will extend this program for another five years. This bill passed in both the House and the Senate. Listen to the Senate floor presentation here.
Helping our students read is a foundational task that sets the trajectory for the rest of their lives. Students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 3rd grade are less likely to graduate and more likely to be on public assistance long-term. Currently, half of Utah students are not reading at grade level by the 3rd grade.
S.B. 127 Early Literacy Outcomes Improvement addresses this issue by aligning existing literacy programs toward a common goal, equipping teachers and administrators with evidence-based methods, placing literacy coaches in lower performing schools, and providing resources to support parent, family and community efforts. S.B. 127 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
Special Education Amendments
As we continue to study how to better serve special education students, we have found that some students perform best when they are included in general education classrooms. However, local education agencies can run into an accounting issue when special education funding follows students into general education classrooms.
S.B. 134 Special Education Amendments requires a local education agency to provide special education in the least restrictive environment, regardless of whether the other students in the classroom are students without a disability. The bill also permits local education agencies to use state special education funds on special education students, even if doing so provides an incidental benefit to students without a disability. This bill clarifies state law to ensure special education students can learn in the environment that is most beneficial to them. S.B. 134 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
Division of Consumer Protection Amendments
Fraudulent business opportunities harm our economy by discouraging individuals from participating in commercial activities. S.B. 26 Division of Consumer Protection Amendments will strengthen Utahn's trust in commercial activities by requiring sellers to disclose certain information to protect consumers from fraudulent businesses or bad actors. This bill was drafted in response to recommended changes from an audit of certain provisions of the Business Opportunity Disclosure Act. S.B. 26 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
Prescription Cost Amendments
Expensive medication can place extreme financial burdens on patients with medical conditions. To combat this financial burden, many drug manufacturers offer financial assistance through coupons or copay assistance. S.B. 139 Prescription Cost Amendments would financially benefit patients and their families by allowing financial assistance from a medication's manufacturer to be counted against a patient's deductible or out-of-pocket expenses. S.B. 139 passed in the Senate Business and Labor Committee and will now be considered by the full Senate. Listen to the committee presentation here.
Anesthesiologist Assistant Licensing
An anesthesiologist assistant is a highly skilled individual who practices medicine under the direction of a licensed anesthesiologist. Currently, anesthesiologists are the only group of doctors in the state without an assistant. However, anesthesiologist assistants cannot work in Utah because their credentials are not recognized. S.B. 121 Anesthesiologist Assistant Licensing Act creates a license for anesthesiologist assistants and establishes qualifications for their licensure. This bill would allow them to practice in Utah under regulation of the Physicians Licensing Board. S.B. 121 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
Promoting the 3Rs Framework
S.J.R. 6 Joint Resolution Promoting the 3Rs Framework of Rights, Responsibility and Respect in Classrooms acknowledges the role public school educators have in preparing students for their civic responsibilities. Inspired by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, this bill encourages the State Board of Education to support educators in accessing instructional materials that support the 3Rs: rights, responsibility and respect. This framework teaches:
Every person has rights.
Every person has the responsibility to protect the rights of others.
We honor the human dignity of others when we respectfully engage in civil discourse.
The resolution passed in the Senate and is now with the House. Watch the Senate floor here.
Real Property Recording Amendments
“Real property” is fixed property, including land and buildings. S.B. 80 Real Property Recording Amendments provides requirements for a legal description of real property as written by a county recorder. This bill will create a standard for these legal descriptions and therefore encourage consistent definitions across the state. This will improve effectiveness in legal descriptions statewide. S.B. 80 passed in the Senate and will now be considered by the House. Listen to the Senate floor presentation here.
Project Entity Oversight Modifications
Currently, there are certain project entities, which are political subdivisions of the state, that can create their own policies without holding open and public meetings. S.B. 92 Project Entity Oversight Modifications encourages transparency by requiring project entities to comply with the Open and Public Meetings Act. S.B. 92 also requires project entities to comply with Utah Procurement Code to ensure transparency in their procurement process. This bill will increase transparency and accountability for project entities. S.B. 92 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Listen to the bill presentation on the Senate floor here.
Limitations on Employer Liability
Formerly incarcerated individuals in Utah face many barriers when searching for employment. One of these barriers is employers often worry that hiring these individuals could result in legal action taken against them. S.B. 95 Limitations on Employer Liability resolves this concern by ensuring certain legal actions may not be brought against an employer simply for hiring a person previously convicted of an offense. This bill does not prevent legal action against an employer when there is cause to believe the employer negligently hired or failed to adequately supervise an employee. S.B. 95 passed in the Senate and will now be considered by the House. Listen to the Senate floor discussion here.
In conjunction with this bill, on Thursday, the Senate recognized formerly incarcerated individuals who embraced their second chance by re-entering the workforce and giving back to their communities. I appreciated learning about these individuals who were bold enough to own their past mistakes and are now offering hope to those still incarcerated. Learn more about the bill and the recognition here.
State Bird of Prey Designation
We had a special and unique guest on the Senate floor, a nine-pound golden eagle named Chrys. S.B. 116 State Bird of Prey Designation would make the golden eagle the state bird of prey. The golden eagle represents honesty, truth, majesty, strength, courage, wisdom, power and freedom. These eagles are beautiful creatures and hold significance for many native groups. This bill passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Listen to the Senate floor discussion here. Watch the visit from Chrys here.
Two cowboys, Josh Frost and Kaycee Field, were honored on the Senate floor. Kaycee, who is the reigning world champion and the winningest bareback rider of all time, is the four-time NFR (National Finals Rodeo) Average Champion, two-time Ram Top Gun Winner, and he holds multiple world titles, including six-time World Bareback Bronc Champion. Josh is a two-time NFR Q-2021 Bull Riding Champion and two-time Linderman Award winner. This award recognizes a cowboy who won at least $1,000 in three events. These two men represent Utah well at the many nationwide competitions they compete in. It was a privilege to have them with us. Watch their recognition here.
Citizen Digital Portal
The state of Utah has over 400 websites. Many of the websites are controlled and administered by different state offices and agencies and have varying levels of usability. S.B. 169 Citizen Digital Portal Amendments is one of a series of bills run over the last few years that move Utah closer to achieving data integration between all agencies. The goal is for Utahns to be able to buy a fishing license, renew their driver’s license or pay their taxes from a centralized digital portal website. It would be designed to provide the highest level of customer experience while protecting the data and privacy of users. S.B. 169 passed in the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee and will now be considered on the Senate floor. Listen to the committee presentation here.
Protection Against Extortion Amendments
There is a current gap in Utah law that allows certain acts of sexual extortion to go unpunished. Right now, a person can only be charged with sexual extortion by coercing someone else into producing intimate images. S.B. 156 Protection Against Extortion Amendments changes the law to also allow for sexual extortion charges if a person threatens to distribute existing intimate images to extort money or other items of value from someone. S.B. 156 passed in the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and will now be considered on the Senate floor. Listen to the committee presentation here.
Juvenile Justice Amendments
In Utah juvenile courts, some parents of a juvenile offender are expected to pay their child's fines. In other cases, the juvenile offender is required to pay their own fines. Statistically, most of these families are struggling to pay their rent, and many juvenile offenders admit to committing more crimes in order to pay their court fines. Studies also indicate that recidivism increases in proportion to fines and fees charged in juvenile court.
S.B. 120 Juvenile Justice Amendments prohibits fines and fees charged in juvenile courts without changing requirements on the payment of restitution for property damage or theft. S.B 120 passed in the Senate will now be considered in the House. View the bill's presentation on the Senate floor here.
20th Anniversary of the Salt Lake Olympics
This week, we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. The games were held only a few months after 9/11, one of the most tragic events in our nation’s history. I will never forget the unity and excitement we felt as we cheered on Team USA in our home state. It was a privilege to attend and be a part of these wonderful events. To celebrate, the Senate read a citation on the floor and there was an Olympic cauldron relighting ceremony at Rice Eccles Stadium, the place where the Olympic flame was lit 20 years ago. It was an honor to host world-renowned athletes in 2002 and we look forward to when Utah will once again host the Winter Olympics!
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 email@example.com. You’re also welcome to join me at the Capitol and if you’d like to meet with me in person outside of interim or the legislative session, you can reach Jason Gould at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll help us get in touch.
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