Sen. Dabakis gives 2018 legislative update

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“We made it through another session. My last as a senator. But I am not leaving you! I will double-down on speaking out with the 60,000 of us that belong to UP — Utah Progressives. I will be in the Senate until December, and then I will keep on talking, rallying and uniting reasonable people across Utah with UP,” said Sen. Jim Dabakis.

A look back at some of the bills that passed and those that didn’t pass

SB 140– Campaign Limits. Put limitations on political campaign contributions that PACs, corporations, special interest groups, and individuals could give to one candidate. The amount of that tinnie tiny limit — drum roll — $100,000 per cycle. Of course, it did not even get out of the Rules Committee. The Legislature and Gov love their unlimited campaign contributions. NOT PASSED. SB 136– Reorganized UTA Management and hiked fees on energy-efficient vehicles. GOOD, this bill reformed the horribly managed UTA. BAD, significantly raised registration fees on electric and hybrid vehicles. My floor argument that energy-saving vehicles help pollution and clean up our air was not accepted. PASSED.
HB101-This long overdue bill will require Utah County to create a three-year pilot program for testing diesel vehicle’s emissions. PASSED HB 169-A $1.7 million taxpayer gift to EnergySolutions private owners. PASSED.
Medical Marijuana– Not much here. Terminally ill people can get real marijuana if they are within six months of death. The real test will be the ballot initiative in November which will allow broad access to medical cannabis. Legislature hates the ballot measure–this bill might have been intended to wipe out a few votes from the initiative. PASSED SCR 3-Martha Hughes Cannon’s statue will replace the one of television inventor Philo T. Farnsworth in representing Utah in the nation’s capital in Washington. PASSED.

(SB218) PLASTIC BAGS. The Legislature not only refused to end plastic bags–they doubled down on support for plastic by making it illegal for any town, city or county in Utah to ban plastic. Park City’s current ban will be overturned by the state. Apparently, local control dies when the Koch Brothers and ALEC say JUMP to our state officials!

SB 152– This bill hoped to fund a study on whether women working in state government effectively are paid less than men. An all-male committee voted unanimously not to approve the bill. Even after a group of BYU professors offered to conduct the study for free — the Legislature still rejected the idea. They just don’t want to know. KILLED. SB 234– SLC Northwest, Inland Port-The Legislature seeing a honey pot piece of property, created a super governing body to effectively annex to the state 1/3 of the total land of Salt Lake City in the Northwest Quadrant! The state coveted the land of the City and replaced the elected Mayor and Council with an unelected state junta council. The state coup could cost our schools $500 million and might turn loose on our city devious developers with dubious desires. PASSED.
HB101-The bill will require Utah County to create a three-year pilot program for testing diesel vehicle’s emissions. HB 272-Fantasy Island in Lake Utah. Would give developers up to 20,000 acres of state land to dredge the lake and build islands to be inhabited eventually 250,000 to 500,000 people. That should clean up the lake. GIVEAWAY the state land first — then hope for the best! PASSED
HB 205-Annual Unconstitutional Abortion Message Bill. KILLED.

HB 379/SB30-The death penalty was not abolished, indeed the opposite, more crimes were made eligible.

SB 205-After many deaths, unexplained by jails, even to the deceased families, this bill would require counties and the Utah State Prison to report in-custody deaths to the state’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. PASSED.
SJR 16– Amending the Utah Constitution to do away with the horrendously ineffective State School Board and replace it with efficient governance. Passed Senate, not House. KILLED. SB 47-Partial Medicaid Expansion Passed. Some good, with a lot of bad. It’s complicated. I will explain more later. Stay tuned. PASSED
HB 328-Provo’s Representative Thurston, the same man that sponsored the .05 DUI bill last year, wanted the .05% DUI legally not to affect people with guns (who can face enhancement if they are drunk). KILLED. HB136-Would take away the right of Presidents of the USA to create federal monument protection designations in Utah and instead vest the power with the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee. It would also exempt Utah from Antiquities Act. KILLED.
SB 152-This bill would fund a study on whether women working in state government are paid less than men for the same job. An all-male committee voted unanimously not to approve the bill. Even after a group of BYU professors offered to conduct the study for free — the Legislature still rejected the bill. KILLED. SB 210-Would have repealed the preposterous 0.05% DUI, due to take effect in December. The bill FAILED. So, the ‘Come to Utah on Vacation – Leave on Prohibition’ law will begin arresting people — who are not drunk —for DUI’s at the end of the year. KILLED.

2018 Legislative Tax Changes

Great changes if you are a manufacturing corporation — not so good if you are a poor or middle-income Utah family.

–Killed lowering of sales tax on food.

–Gave an exemption to large companies that will pay no taxes on payroll, property and total sales. Cost to Utah taxpayers — $62 million a year in tax cuts if SCOTUS, as expected, allows states to collect sales tax from online sales.

–Lowered the education fund by $80 million. Of that money, it gave certain well-connected corporations $27 million and lowered the state tax rate from 5 percent to 4.95 percent.

–Allowed voters to weigh in on the ballot in November if they want to raise the state gas tax by a dime a gallon to be used for education.

–The dump ‘Our Schools Now’ agreement, raised property taxes (by $53 million immediately — with more later). Gave $27 million to certain manufacturers and web portal companies with $27 million now going to schools. The Utah Education Inc. groups called this a great victory for education. I call it crumbs. It might push Utah up to 49th in state spending.

–The earned income tax credit which would have directly helped tens of thousands of poor WORKING Utah families died. No money — it was all spent on ‘well represented’ corporate interests.

–And, the $1.7 million Energy Solutions gift from taxpayers. Now taxpayers will pay the cost of regulation, nuclear waste in Utah instead of ES. The owners of the very profitable privately held ES, of course, need the money much more than Utah school kids.

–Utah is one of only 13 states that tax people on social security. An incredibly narrow bill HB276 would have changed that (it would have only covered 377 people!) failed as legislators said that there was no money.

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