Up on Capitol Hill, we have completed four weeks of the legislative session! We still have a lot of work to do, but we are making great progress, and I am excited for what’s to come. Below is an update on some people we recognized on the Senate floor, and a few bills we have considered.
Recognitions and Updates:
National Board-Certified Teachers Last week, we were happy to recognize 30 wonderful teachers who have gone the extra mile to become National Board-Certified Teachers.
National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in education and goes beyond required state licensure. We commend these teachers for their efforts and wish them continued success in their professional endeavors.
Fallen Officers Last Thursday afternoon, we expressed our heartfelt gratitude for the brave first responders who gave their lives protecting Utahns across the state by joining their families and friends in a moment of silence on the Senate floor. We are blessed to live in a state with such incredible individuals willing to give their all on our behalf.
Ballot Amendments Election Ballots, especially longer ballots, are expensive to print. Currently, the legal language of each referendum or ballot initiative is printed on election ballots in its entirety, which considerably increases printing costs.
Not only are longer election ballots costly to print, but it has been found that the longer a ballot is, the more difficult it is for the average voter to understand. S.B. 38 Ballot Amendments would allow initiatives and referenda to be summarized in plain language on the ballot while also referring the voter to a separate insert or website containing the entire initiative or referendum text.
We estimate this change will save the state almost $500,000 per election. S.B. 38 passed in the Senate and House and will now be considered by the governor.
Limitations On Employer Liability Formerly incarcerated individuals in Utah face many barriers when searching for employment. One of these barriers is how 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 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, however. S.B. 95 passed in the Senate and has advanced to the house Business, Economic Development and Labor Committee. We are waiting for it to be assigned a day on the agenda.
In conjunction with this bill, on Thursday, we were joined by 16 former inmates who turned their life around and rejoined society. It was a special day for me to invite this group of previously incarcerated individuals to Capitol Hill and recognize them in front of the Utah Senate with a citation honoring “Individuals Who Have Embraced a Second Chance”. They were received with a standing ovation and some tears. This group offers hope for life after prison to those currently serving time. God is good despite our blemishes.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Utah Senate. Let’s stay in touch!