Owens outlines challenges legislators face in new session
District 58 Constituents,
The 2017 legislative session began today at the Capitol in Salt Lake City. Twenty-nine Senators and seventy-five members of the House of Representatives convened for the first day of the constitutionally mandated 45-day session. During the next seven weeks, we will consider legislation from over 1300 open bill files.
Utah is the envy of the country in many aspects. When it comes to transparency, our state is second to none. Every comment, action and vote are live for public view. Please follow bills of interest, listen to committee hearings and watch live Senate/House chamber debates. Find legislative contact information plus a wide host of other services at le.utah.gov.
Each session seems to develop a life of its own. This year will include continued efforts to push back against federal overreach and hopefully see the new administration overturn the latest land grab of the Bears Ears National Monument.
Like most citizens, I was upset when I heard the news on Dec. 28 that former President Obama had signed over another 1.35 million acres of Utah land to another national monument. Over 108,000 acres of the new monument was state school trust land property.
East of Colorado there isn’t a state with more than 5 percent federally controlled land. Utah is under almost 70 percent federal control. It is remarkable how we have flourished, but it can’t be sustained on only 30 percent of our real estate. It would be funny if it weren’t true, but the picture Mr. Obama tweeted when he signed the Bears Ears monument designation was of Arches National Park. Very sad and out of touch!
This session will also see legislation considered about a variety of topics from education, medical, Little Sahara’s possibility to become a State Park, convention of states, medical marijuana, taxation, agriculture, renewable energy, homelessness, water, clean air and environmental issues and much more.
Also, follow “Miley’s Bill” inspired by a little girl in Manti to see if it is signed into law to make Utah the second state with a Child Abuse Registry.
I appreciate the honor of representing Juab and Sanpete counties.
Representative Derrin R. Owens