Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now halfway through the 2018 General Legislative Session. While we have competed the important task of balancing our base budgets, significant work remains. We are gearing up for votes on the most pressing issues of the session such as medical marijuana, election laws, final budgets, water infrastructure funding, education funding, and many others. Thank you to all of you who have reached out to me or have taken my legislative survey. I am a better representative when I hear from you and understand your concerns.
I have included my weekly video below.
This Saturday morning, we will be holding another town hall meeting with many legislators from Utah County. The information for the town hall meeting is included below.
I have included several issues below that have been significant this week.
On average 24-25 Utahns die each month from opioid overdoses. This session I am running a resolution that calls upon the Attorney General to take immediate legal action against prescription opioid manufacturers. Serious allegations have been raised regarding deceptive marketing practices used by manufacturers and distributors.
Utah ranked 4th in the nation for drug overdose deaths, an average of six per week in 2014. These horrid statistics are more than just numbers; they represent the loss of human lives.
Measures are being taken in Utah to help combat the crisis, but we need to work to change the practices of companies that threaten the safety of our residents for their own financial gain. Sixteen states, dozens of local jurisdictions and Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, Washington and Weber counties have already filed separate lawsuits against prescription opioid manufacturers to seek damages for the public costs of the opioid crisis.
Joining a multistate lawsuit with a myriad of other states does not allow us to adequately represent the needs and losses of Utah victims, and won’t necessarily lead to a change in business practices by these companies. HJR 12, Joint Resolution Calling Upon the Attorney General to Sue Prescription Opioid Manufacturers, calls upon the Attorney General’s Office to file a separate lawsuit against those companies whose practices and products have harmed Utahns. The goal is to change prescribing practices and put a stop to the rising rate of overdose deaths, maximize monetary gain to help reimburse the state for expenses associated with opioid abuse and hold accountable those whose actions created this destruction.
State dollars dedicated to education have grown at historic levels, since 2015. Education clearly is and has been a priority for the Utah State Legislature, so much so that in the past three years, K-12 funding has increased by more than $800 million – nearly 20 percent. In addition, the past two years, education spending accounted for the most significant portion of new money appropriated by the Utah Legislature.
This year is no exception; we will continue to prioritize education funding and aspire to do it without increasing the taxes of hard-working Utahns.
HB299 aims to dedicate approximately $700 million to public schools over the next three to four years, and do it in a way that directly and positively impacts teacher pay. This legislation would also prioritize funding for improved teacher training, metrics to ensure children meet reading standards by third grade and technology in the classroom.
Martha Hughes Cannon
On February 14, 1870, the first American woman to cast a vote in a state-wide election, Seraph Young, did so right here in Utah. Fast forward 148 years to February 14, 2018, when a concurrent resolution to have Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon represent Utah in the nation’s Capital passed the House.
“Why Martha?” you may ask. Martha Cannon was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement. She obtained two medical degrees, from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree in public speaking from the National School of Elocution and Oratory in Philadelphia.
In 1870, women were granted the right to vote in Utah—50 years before the 19th Amendment granted that right nationwide—but Congress removed it in the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887. Martha was a key player in ensuring that the right of women to vote and hold public office were included in the Utah Constitution in 1895.
Shortly afterward, Martha ran for Utah State Senate and won against a number of candidates, including none other than her own husband. She became the first-ever female state senator in the United States in 1896, more than 20 years before most women in the country were even able to cast a vote.
Each state is represented by two historical figures in the National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C., with ours being Brigham Young and Philo T. Farnsworth. SCR1 proposes to replace Farnsworth’s statue, which has been there for 32 years, with one of Martha Hughes Cannon.
2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which made voting possible for all women. As our nation commemorates women’s suffrage in 2020, Utah should stand up and celebrate its own historic and groundbreaking role in this effort.
Town Hall this Saturday Morning!
Please consider getting involved this session by attending a town hall meeting. Breakfast will be provided for FREE thanks to the generous support of Scott Barlow and Revere Healthcare! Details are set forth below:
Bills and Bagels
February 24, 2018
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
Location: Nebo School District Office Building
350 S Main, Spanish Fork, UT 84660
Thank you for the privilege of representing House District 66. I look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions during the legislative session, please feel free to contact me any time. I can be reached on my cell phone at (801) 210-1495. If for any reason you are unable to contact me during the legislative session, my intern Seth Gillespie can be reached at (385) 441-0587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Utah House of Representatives
State House District 66