Okerlund excited Legislature is in session

Letters to the editor:

Okerlund excited Legislature is in session




The 2019 Legislative Session has begun. My wife and I began catching up with our friends in the Senate this week. It was good to see longtime friends as well as meet new faces. We are excited to be in session again and look forward to the opportunity to serve you as we consider important legislation these next few weeks.

One of my favorite things is meeting the students. This week students from Fillmore Elementary, Pahvant Elementary and Millard High came to tour the Capitol building. I was able to meet with students from Lao Elementary in our new Visitors Center. I also had a chance to visit with the Levan Youth Council in my office. It was great to meet with so many students interested in our political system.

Besides meeting with students, the first few weeks are very busy and full of committee meetings. Each bill must pass favorably through an assigned committee before it can be heard on the Senate floor. Committees are made up of selected legislators and divided into categories. As part of my assignments this year, I am Chair of the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee. Legislation that passes through committee will be heard by the entire Senate on the Senate floor. This week, two of my bills were presented in committee.

The first, SCR5 Concurrent Resolution Recognizing Edward T. Alter for His Service as Utah State Treasurer was heard in the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee. It received a favorable recommendation from the committee and was placed on the Senate Second Reading Calendar.

My next bill, SB17 Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Amendments passed through the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee on Wednesday and was also placed on the Senate Second Reading Calendar. This bill improves protections for municipality water sources. While we did not hear SB17 on the floor this week, it is at the top of the list to be heard the beginning of next week.

The beginning of this session included much debate over Medicaid. It is important to me to expand Medicaid, but there must be a way to pay for it. This is the big issue currently. My goal is to continue to represent you as I seek funding solutions to cover the costs of this program.

Thank you for taking the time to follow along with my legislative journey this year. I’ll make sure to keep you informed about the work taking place at the Capitol. I would love to hear your thoughts on the work we’re doing this session. You can reach me by email at rokerlund@le.utah.gov. I appreciate the emails that I’ve received so far about issues important to you.

I’m thankful for the opportunity I have to serve as Senator over this district. Utah is a beautiful place to call home. I appreciate everything you do to be involved in our government and to make Utah the best state. Until next time.

Ralph Okerlund

Utah State Senate, District 24

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