Today marks day 22 out of 45 for our session. We have been able to accomplish much in this short time period. I have had several successful bills go through the legislative process – you can view the status of my bills here as well as their content if you click through the links. Many of you will especially appreciate House Bill 33, which limits the number of hours and days that fireworks can be set off so as not to disturb neighbors, animals, etc. who were being adversely affected by late night fireworks. However, the approved aerial fireworks can still be enjoyed by all during the approved hours (with extension hours for holidays).
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
March 1st – 6th
Rep. Jim Dunnigan
This week marks the last week of the 2010 Utah State Legislative Session. It will end on Thursday, March 11th, at 12:00 a.m. Up until then, legislators will work on finalizing the budget and will address remaining hot spots.
2S.H.B. 388 – Mobile Home Revisions -Mar. 8th, 2010 – 74/0 – Sponsored by Rep. James A. Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville)
This bill does the following:
- Gives residents the right to form and operate residents’ associations, and to participate in regional, state, or national residents’ association.
- Prohibits harassment, interference, and other unfair tactics toward resident associations.
- Allows residents and non-commercial entities to pass out flyers or canvass peacefully in the community, subject to reasonable rules as to time, place, and manner.
- Prohibits retaliation against a resident simply for the exercising the right to join an association, making complaints about conditions in the community or exercising other similar rights.
This proposed section will not be construed to prohibit a park operator from evicting a manufactured homeowners as provided in other provisions of the Mobile Home Residency Act.
February 22nd – 26th
Rep. Jim Dunnigan
Last week, House Republicans reached an agreement on balancing next year’s budget proposal without a tax hike or making education cuts knowing that they will have to make cuts in other areas.
As for ethics reform, on Monday, amendments were made to the House ethics bills in the Senate committee and on Tuesday, three bills cleared the Senate with unanimous approval and now head to the House for their consideration. The main bill SJR3 would set the structure and rules for a new independent ethics commission that would screen complaints against lawmakers to determine if allegations have merit.
H.B. 51 Family Employment Program – Jan 27 – 71/0 votes – Cash Assistance to a Single Minor Parent – Sponsored by Rep. James A. Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville)
In modifying the provisions of the Family Employment Program regarding the requirements for a single minor parent to receive cash assistance, this bill brings the program into compliance with federal law as to employment and education, or training requirements.
Under current law, if minor parents do not have a high school diploma, the federal regulations requires them to be in school, progressing toward completion, to be eligible for temporary direct assistance. Current Utah statute says minor parents can choose to go to work instead. The proposed change clarifies that the minor parent does not have a choice – they must attend school. That does not mean they cannot have a job as well. Simply put, by statute they will not be allowed to opt out of school anymore.
February 16th – 19th
Rep. Jim Dunnigan
During the fourth week of the legislative session, legislators were given final budget figures with state revenues estimated to be an additional $50 million short in the next fiscal year. House Budget Chairman Ron Bigelow says the budget gap for next year now stands at $700 million and that revenue estimates could have been worse and that this means Utah has seen the worst of it.
1S.H.B. 39 – Insurance Related Amendments – Feb. 19th 2010 – 73/0 – Sponsored by Rep. James A. Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville)
This bill modifies the Insurance Code and related provisions to make various amendments including the following:
- Mental health provisions were revised to come into compliance with recent federal legislation.
- New provisions were needed to provide a new special enrollment to ensure persons whose Utah mini-COBRA have terminated will have the same right under state law as under the recent federal extension of Federal COBRA. This will allow employees involuntarily terminated from a small employer to continue their health insurance for up to 15 months with the Federal Government paying 65% of the cost.
- A vehicle owned or leased by a named insured, a named spouse, or a dependent of a named insured is now included in the definition “under-insured motor vehicle.”
- The bill also provides that an individual health insurance policy, group health insurance policy, or health maintenance organization, shall continue force coverage for a dependent through the last day of the month in which the dependent ceases to be a dependent. This will help dependent children who upon marriage or turning age 26, lose coverage as of the day of the event. This bill provides that the coverage will continue until the end of the month in which the event occurs.
February 8th – 12th
Rep. Jim Dunnigan
During week 3 of the Legislative Session, the Utah House of Representatives passed key ethics reform measures. The senate is currently considering those measures and we look forward to a robust debate on those issues shortly. This week, Legislative members will be given an update on the budget which will give them the exact amount of money they have to work with for the 2011 fiscal year.
H.B. 40 – Utah Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Amendments – Feb. 8 – 72/0 votes – Sponsored by Rep. James A. Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville)
This bill modifies the Utah Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act to make various amendments. It increases the coverage limit on annuities from $200,000 to $250,000. Instead of providing $500,000 combined for life and health insurance, it divides the two categories and provides $500,000 for life and an additional $500,000 for health. It provides Utah consumers with a greater benefit should their insurance company become insolvent.
January 25th – 29th, 2010
Representative Jim Dunnigan
The 58th session of the Utah State Legislature convened Monday, January 25th, 2010. This session, state lawmakers must tackle a combined 700 million dollar shortfall and spending must be trimmed from the current budget and the 2010-2011 budget year, starting July 1st.
H.B. 15 – Deferred Deposit Lending Amendments – Jan. 26 – 65/8 votes – Sponsored by Rep. James A. Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville)
This bill would alter the Check Cashing and Deferred Deposit Lending Registration Act so that they would address operational requirements related to deferred deposit lending. It would change the permissible length of rollovers from 12 to 10 weeks, impose restrictions related to communication at the place of employment, and provide an extended payment plan option.