Monday, February 23, 2009

Our Local Legislators

After the Central Committee Meeting, our local legislators came in and addressed us. I was really glad to have the opportunity to have all but 2 of the local legislators there for us to talk to. However, this was 3 hours long. I think in the future they should not allow public questions, and limit each person to 5 minutes. This would have cut the meeting in half, easily. Then after everyone has spoken, they could allow questions, because often times the question asked of one legislator was better answered by another.

Legislators were asked to tell about their opinions, what they are working on, and other happenings.

I wrote down two of the names wrong, so I'll just leave them as ?'s for now, maybe someone can let me know who they were.

Steve Sandstrom - Dist. 58
Government grew too fast and expanded budget too quickly.
We need to cut $600 million from the state budget.
A cut of 10-15% for each program is not the end of the world.
Tabled gay abortion bill in house.
Utah wants to opt out of the Real Id Act (requires a radio frequency chip to be embedded in your drivers license). 21 other states have already opted out.
Tell the federal government to stay out of our business we are a sovereign state.
10th Amendment rights are being trampled on. Our state should decide where we drill, not the federal government.
House Bill 357 - bill to carry loaded concealed weapons.
HJR8 - bill to protect secret ballots with unions.

Patrick Painter - Dist. 57
Deals a lot with land and water rights.
HB51 - bill that the state engineer can't forfeit your water rights.
Working on a resolution endorsing the use of coal - technology that can split hydrogen out of coal and use it to power turbines and much cleaner than other alternative fuels.
Leases in Carbon & Duchesne county to open drilling fields.

Michael Morley - Dist. 66
Need to once in awhile clean house and trim the fat (in regards to the state budget).
Against raising fees to increase the general fund.
Bill to do away with frivolous lawsuits from people who move next to farms and then sue over complaints that are agriculture related (smells, noises, etc.)

Francis Gibson - Dist. 65
He was appointed to the Judiciary Business & Labor and Education Committees.
Health Care is his field.
He said this important to do more listening and when we speak make it worth while.

Lorie Fowlke - Dist. 59
Dealing with land issues and blocks on land leases and sales.
HJR8 - this resolution does protect secret ballots (applies to unions) and preempts federal legislation.
Families are being attacked.
The way to win is to frame the argument the right way.
She recommends the 15% budget hit for education come from Social Security and Retirement.
School Districts should have the flexibility to make cuts where they want.

I wrote Daw & Dougall so I'm not sure which one spoke, but I think it was Daw - Dist. 60
There are perverse tax code violations.
Health Care is not market base.
We are not really in control of our doctors, benefits, etc.
We need to put individuals back in charge, not employers and insurance companies.
Would like employers to take insurance $ given to an internet portal and the employee picks which policy works best for them. If the employee changes jobs and both employers use this portal, the employee's insurance won't have to change.
If there is excess money then it could go in a health savings account.
Birth place of health savings accounts is Missouri.
The biggest detractors to this system is large insurance companies.

Bonding is being done for a science building at UVU and something out by Thanksgiving Point.
Rates and constructions costs are at a all time low.
*comment - we don't need anymore debt
`response - bonding is a process we go through in this state. We need to bond to keep our state moving forward.

Becky Lockhart - Dist. 64
Revenue is down $329 million.
Working on Health Care Reform, called Mandate Light. You could get a policy that doesn't offer everything, so your premium can come down. You could pick and choose whatever coverage you want.
Common Ground Initiative
It takes 38 votes in the house and 15 in the Senate to get anything done.
*comment - Energy Solutions center offers an economic solution.
`response - mention something about business subsidizing government, not the other way around.
*comment - Increase cigarette tax
`response - Senate tabled bill in their committee to do this. Other revenue enhancements (taxes) are gas, motor vehicle, food, liquor, and cigarettes. Sin taxes fund programs and we aren't being honest when we earmark that money.
*comment - thoughts on former speaker Curtis' rapid jump to lobbyist.
`response - What he did is not illegal. There is currently a Revolving Door Bill, that is passed states that a legislator cannot be a contracted lobbyist for one year after leaving office. Most legislators who become lobbyists aren't very successful.

Keith Grover - Dist. 61
Common Ground Initiative
Encourages everyone to email and contact their legislators.
SB48 - UEA and unions don't want this to pass. It would allow professionals (such as auto mechanics) to teach in public schools without a teaching certification or card.
Initiative that would allow Police to intervene in activity that might be perceived as wrong (such as gang related things). Before they could only intervene if someone was actually breaking the law.

Kenneth Sumsion - Dist. 56
Abortion Litigation Trustfund Bill
North Dakota passed a bill saying life begins at conception.
Figg Engineering is the company that would build the toll bridge across Utah Lake from 8th North in Orem to Pelican Point. The study came back that there would be no wetland impact. Working on getting Wild Life Division lease.
Transparency needs to be greater in all levels of government: school, city, state, etc. (mostly referring to financial data). State website should have ledgers of all state programs, entities, etc.
Bureaucrats say citizens don't care about that info.
Sex offenders should have to register with their local city policy not just the state corrections.
If a program doesn't protect, feed or educate, the whole program needs to go.
Downturns make America great.
Camp Williams Veteran Cemetery is in disarray. We shouldn't use government funds to take care of it, we should involve our communities.
*comment - Gramma Request Bill
`response - this is there to protect certain identities... Dougall response - Record should be public, but in some instances they need to be kept from the public... Bramble response - the issue is if an attorney can use the Gramma Report as discovery, can you get a fair trial.
*comment - who decides what records are made public?
`response - the State Advisory Board
*comment - The DNA of a baby is different than it's mothers (making it a separate human being).
`response - Jailed for 2 murders if you kill a pregnant woman.

Craig Frank - Dist. 57
When contacting a legislator, please put your name and precinct # in the subject line.
Visit and plan to spend awhile.
Craigs website -
one of his precinct chair's blog -
Looking for Sin Tax - tax cold caffeine!
Time to stop the madness.
Marriage License increase fee of $10 was killed because it didn't correlate with abuse in and out of the home, which is what they wanted to earmark the money for.
People who own land north of Utah Lake are worried about eminent domain.

??? -
Revenues are declining, have to be careful with it.
Common Ground Iniative
DUI Bill
Choose Life license plate - $ goes to agencies that promote adoption.
HB272 - Highway & Byway Issues, when getting federal money there are always strings attached.

Margaret Dayton - #15
Controlling deer population.
Forestry Fire and Lands - people will now be responsible if a forest fire is started by their abandoned fire.
Working on saving concurrent enrollment - give $19 million in scholarships.
*comment SB91 - protecting cell phones
`response - it passed the Senate it is still in the house.

David Hinkins - #27
Questar pipeline from Green River to Castle Valley to Utah County
Westridge Mine shutdown and various other companies closing does affect us.
85% of power bill is the cost of the fuel.
$16 million power bill in Castle County is mostly from the gas companies.

Curt Bramble - #16
If physician performs an illegal abortion it's a 2nd degree felony from Roe v. Wade and Danforth.
Criminal restitution has statue of limitations, a new bill would eliminate it. If you have a monetary amount you have to pay you will have to pay it back instead of just waiting out the time and not paying.
Utah's capital punishment, requiring Utah's Supreme Court to follow state statutes.
Energy Solutions only accepts low level A waste (gloves, clothing, etc.). 99% of the waste comes from out of state. 5% of their capacity has been set aside to bring in waste from foreign countries. Right now a cubic foot is $20 domestically. However, they can charge $200-400 for the same amount internationally. Low level waste comes from many things, cell phones, exit signs, x-rays, etc. Low level radio active waste is not nuclear waste. A company in Utah that does medical sterilization brings in more radio active waste than the Energy Solutions Clive facility ever would. Over time radio active waste breaks down (half life of several 100 years). The facility will be filled with low level waste, it's just a matter of it we will accept it from overseas. Waste will come wither we want it or not. Question is, do we want the money?
Autism - impose mandate on health insurance companies.
Cigarette tax if too high will promote smuggling. Right now there are earmarks so they oppose.

Mark Madsen - #13
Reaction to cut funds is always to cut services.
65% of Education budget must be used in the classrooms.
If cigarettes and alcohol are drugs then our state's biggest drug dealer is the state, since they control all alcohol sales.
Ludicrous to think that legislators stand to gain.
*comment SR1 - work program is blatant support of illegal immigration.
`response - Senate votes 2 times and then it can go through on the 3rd vote. There are misconceptions on how Social Security and FICA work. ... Bramble response - Federal Government failed on illegal emigration. The federal government will not enforce the law. If states are left to enforce it the federal government needs to get out of the way. I voted for it to make a statement to Washington.
*comment - question about ethics reform

Central Committee Meeting - actual business

There were lots of items told to us, answers to peoples questions:

Define a Quorum - 40 precinct chairs and vice chairs.
How many current members? 238 current precinct chairs and vice chairs.
How many total delegates? 1200
We need to be informed on Parliamentary Procedure and Robert's Rules.

We discussed one of 3 proposed amendments. It was edits and additions to Bylaw 9 - Committee Procedures.

Those present wished to have another meeting to discuss the other 2 amendment proposals. A meeting will be scheduled in March.

The Utah County Convention is April 25 at Canyon View Jr. High.

Central Committee Meeting - Jason Chaffetz

I have to say, I have been so excited to have Jason Chaffetz in Washington D.C. He is open and honest and seems to live what he preaches (see CNN's Freshman Year). He is making himself known and I think all the publicity is working for him. Thanks for your service.

He had the opportunity to address us at the beginning of our meeting.

He completely opposed and voted against Obama's latest economic stimulus bill, the single biggest debt that our county has ever had, 787 BILLION DOLLARS. He is not happy with the lie that any bill that goes through congress will see the light of day, before it is voted upon. This was a promise made by Pres. Obama, stating that any bill would be posted online, for the world to view before it would be voted on. In fact, if you go to PolitiFact (I mentioned them in a previous post, they have a list of all the promises made by Obama and are keeping track) they said that he broke promise No. 234: Allow five days of public comment before signing bills.

This bill was over 1000 pages long. No congressman was able to read the whole bill, because by the time they were given it, to the time it was voted on, no one could have possibly read the whole thing. It was less than 12 hours. Not to mention, that it was difficult to read, it was by no means a polished copy, it was riddled with hand written notes, edits, etc. On some instances, it was hard to deceipher what exactly was being talked about. This bill is full of pork projects (roads and bridges, $191 million in restitution to filipinos for autrocities during WW2, $650 million for coupons for transition to digital TV, and so on). The very thing that the Democrats accused the Republicans of doing (if you noticed the vote all the house republicans voted against this bill).

Jason also mentioned his disappointment that as one of Obamas first acts as President he overturned the Mexico City Policy, that stated that money sent to other countries could not be used for abortions, now they can.

Jason is one of 54 freshman congressmen. He was among 18 who went to the Pentagon to meet with the Sec. of Defense, who said the thing that keeps him up at night is the Chinese with 1 trillion dollars in treasury notes that he can't do anything about.

If you are ever in Washington D.C. Jason would love to have you stop by to see him.

Central Committee Meeting

On Saturday, we had the Utah County Republican party Central Committee Meeting.

As part of being elected as a precinct chair or vice chair, it is your responsibility to go to these meetings, there are 4 a year. At this meeting, is where the party business takes place. Robert's Rules of Order are set in place.

In my short time as chair and vice chair I have attended a few of these meetings. It has been my observation that not much ever gets done. They always schedule something right after this meeting so that they can't go over time. Which in theory is a nice thing, except for that in one short hour you can only get to one agenda item. Normally there are many items, but they just table them (sweep them under the carpet), usually never to be heard of again. Those that govern these meetings always get what they want. If they don't want a motion to come before the quorum (have to have 40 precinct chairs & vice chairs present) to vote on, those items will be placed last on the agenda, an agenda which half the time is never presented, so we have no idea what is going on.

It's a very frustrating process and I am sure it could be handled much better. I guess they also have a problem of notifying people of these meetings. They send out a postcard to inform you. However, I know from experience that these are not always sent out. Luckily, I have a Legislative Chair, who gladly keeps us informed. Also, I don't understand why they don't email us. They made such a big deal about getting our email address and then an even bigger deal about letting us use them, but they worked it out and were sending out tons of messages right before the elections. So why not use that avenue in addition to sending out postcards. Also a large percentage of these people are on facebook, so why not send out an invite to the event, whenever there is one? I know they already have a group set up.

I know these things don't have much merit to anyone, but those who have to go to these meetings, but I figure the more information there is about how things are going, the better the understanding and maybe someone who knows more, can help come up with a solution.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Neighborhood Meeting

The Lakeview North Neighborhood will hold a meeting this Thursday, February 12 at 6:00 p.m.
Location: Lakeview Elementary School 2899 W 1390 N Provo

Neighborhood Meetings are for all adults living in the area.

Items on the agenda include a safety update, a Block Grant proposal that will create sidewalk near the school, a community development update with some advance notice of the Master Plan for the Lakeview area, a transportation update, and discussion of a possible future "special service district" along Geneva Road, also a legislative update by Keith Grover (our state representative).

We need your input and your support.

Any questions, call Lakeview North Neighborhood Chair, Don Allphin @ 375-9104