Utah State 2010 Legislature Highlights: Week 3

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.

Utah State 2010 Legislature Highlights: Week 1

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 AmendmentsJan. 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.

Constituent Surveys 2010

Thanks to all those who completed and returned a survey. Your input is very important as it is my duty to represent you, my constituents. Below, you will find each survey question with the results in bold. The following results are based on all of the surveys received (280 surveys).

Question 1:
It is estimated that the state budget will be short approximately $800 million in 2010. Please rank the following options for filing that gap from 1 to 5, with 1 being your most preferred option.

Answers in order of average ranking:

  • Increase taxes and/or fees (2.68)
  • Combination of spending cuts and tax/fee increases (1.88)
  • Use Rainy Day Funds (1.83)
  • Cut spending (1.53)
  • Other (1.03)

Question 2:

If spending was cut, where would you prefer to see those cuts implemented? Please rank the following options fro 1 to 8, with 1 being your most preferred option.

Answers in order of average ranking:

  • Public Education (4.37)
  • Public Safety/Corrections (3.87)
  • Healthcare (3.79)
  • Higher Education (2.92)
  • Transportation (2.56)
  • Rainy Day Funds (2.43)
  • 3% cuts all across all departments (2.24)
  • Other (1.58)

Question 3:
In an effort to make up for a decrease in revenue, various tax increases have been proposed. What do you think should happen in the following areas:

Answers in order of importance:

Sales Tax on food

  • Stay the same (52%) – Decrease (23%) – Increase (19%)

Tobacco Tax

  • Increase (75%) – Stay the same (16%) – Decrease (6%)

Income Tax

  • Stay the same (63%) – Decrease (19%) – Increase (10%)

User Fees

  • Increase (46%) – Stay the same (36%) – Decrease (12%)

Question 4:
In 2009 the legislature banned gifts over $50 and required disclosure on gifts over $10; prevented legislators from becoming lobbyists within one year of resigning from the legislature, etc. Would you support or oppose the following additional measures:

Answers in order of importance:

An independent ethics panel to address legislative ethics complaints

  • Support (72%) – Oppose (14%) – Undecided (11%)


Campaign contribution limits

  • Support (84%) – Oppose (10%) – Undecided (5%)


Disclosure on gifts of any value

  • Support (82%) – Oppose (10%) – Undecided (8%)

Question 5:
A series of bills dealing with civil rights based on sexual orientation has been proposed. Do you support or oppose the following:

Answers in order of importance:

Creating housing rights based on sexual orientation

  • Oppose (44%) – Support (34%) – Undecided (15%)


Prohibiting job termination based on sexual orientation

  • Support (60%) – Oppose (26%) – Undecided (10%)

Question 6:
Ways to improve motor vehicle safety are being considered in this legislative session. Which of the following do you support?

Answers in order of importance:

A ban on cell phones

  • Support (65%) – Oppose (23%) – Undecided (9%)


Limiting cell phone use to hands free devices while driving

  • Support (55%) – Oppose (26%) – Undecided (11%)


A ban on cell phone use while driving for those under 18

  • Support (83%) – Oppose (6%) – Undecided (3%)

Question 7:
Due to the economic downturn, the Utah Retirement System is under serious financial distress and lost $6.5 billion (over 30%) in 2008. Please mark the types of state employee pension reforms you support.

Answers in order of importance:

  • Eliminate double dipping by state employees (77%)
  • Increase the minimum retirement age for state employees (50%)
  • Require state employees to contribute more (49%)
  • Do nothing, and have the State pay $400 million a year for the next 25 years to cover the gap(10%)

Question 8:
The legislature has saved $419 million and placed it in a “Rainy Day Fund.” How would you like to see those savings distributed?

Answers refer to average percent:

  • (35%) should be spent this year
  • (64%) should be saved for the future years

Question 9:

Should state agencies be prohibited from implementing any new unfunded federal healthcare mandates?

Answers in order of importance:

  • Yes (58%) – Undecided (23%) – No (16%)

*Results based on surveys received from 280 constituents.*

Grandkids visit Capitol

Representative Dunnigan’s grandkids Preston and Brielle visit the Capitol.

Representative Dunnigan gives his 10 month-old granddaughter a kiss on the last night of the session.

Fundraising for Arcadia Elementary



During the session I led all the Representatives in physical activity and exercise to raise money for the playground at Arcadia Elementary.

A group of 6th grade ELP students met with Rep. Dunnigan to share their thoughts on 10-digit dialing. After touring the Capitol and learning a little bit about the legislative process, they presented their ideas at the beginning of a meeting regarding HB 215 – Area Code Assignment. It was great to see these students getting involved, and appreciate them supporting the bill.

HB 215 addressed the new area code by implementing a geographic split rather than the proposed overlay. Although the geopgrahic split recieved overwhelming support from constituents, there was never enough support from legislators to get the bill through committee.

Bowzer’s visit to the House



Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of the group Sha Na Na paid a visit to the House Monday. He was here to lobby
for HB457, a bill that would ban the use of a musician’s or musical group’s name to falsely advertise for a tribute band’s performance.

Constituent Survey Results 2009

Here are the results from the 2009 constituent survey. Thank you to all who filled it out. I appreciate your input, and take your views into consideration as I vote. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at jdunnigan@utah.gov

Survey Questions:

1. Utah’s economic downturn will require budget adjustments in every area. In light of the declining tax revenues, please rank from 1 to 9 the following state programs, with 1 being the highest priority for funding and 9 being the lowest.

___ Public Education
___ Illegal Immigration
___ Transportation
___ Higher Education
___ Public Safety/Corrections
___ Rainy Day Funds
___ Healthcare
___ Environmental Quality
___ Other__________________

2. Ethics Reform is a high priority in the 2009 legislative session. Please rank your priorities from 1 to 6, with 1 being the highest priority.

___ Gift ban
___ Campaign contribution limits commission
___ Ban on personal use of campaign
___ A one year ban before a

contributions Legislator becomes a lobbyist
___ Independent ethics
___ Other__________________


3. The Governor has proposed modifying Utah’s liquor laws. Do you support or oppose the following:

Eliminating private club fees at Utah’s bars.
___ Support ___ Oppose ___ Undecided

Banning minors from the bar area of restaurants.
___ Support ___ Oppose ___ Undecided

4. Even though Utah’s revenues are down, transportation needs are increasing. Which options do you support to fund transportation?

___ Transfer money from other state programs
___ Increase gas tax economy to improve
___ Increase car registration fees
___ Use Rainy Day Funds
___ Borrow by bonding
___ Do nothing and wait for the
___ Other__________________

5. A series of bills dealing with civil rights based on sexual orientation has been proposed. Do you support or oppose the following:

Health Insurance benefits for domestic partners.
___ Support ___ Oppose ___ Undecided

Creating housing rights based on sexual orientation.
___ Support ___ Oppose ___ Undecided

Prohibiting job termination based on sexual orientation.
___ Support ___ Oppose ___ Undecided

6. Do you support or oppose the following immigration reform:

A guest-worker program to relieve the employment problems faced by local businesses.
___ Support ___ Oppose ___ Undecided

Penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers.
___ Support ___ Oppose ___ Undecided

Denying all social services to illegal immigrants.
___ Support ___ Oppose ___ Undecided

7. In an effort to make up for a decrease in tax revenues, various tax increases have been proposed. What do you think should happen in the following areas:

Sales Tax on food
___ Increased ___ Decreased ___ Stay the same

Tobacco Tax
___ Increased ___ Decreased ___ Stay the same

Income Tax
___ Increased ___ Decreased ___ Stay the same

Property Tax
___ Increased ___ Decreased ___ Stay the same

8. Ways to improve motor vehicle safety are being considered in this legislative session. Which of the following do you support?

___ A ban on cell phone use while driving
___ Limiting cell phone use to hands free devices while driving
___ Making driving without a seatbelt a primary offense

Dear Constituents

As your representative for House District 39, I am grateful and honored for the opportunity to serve you. Having lived in our area for 31 years, I share your concerns and goals for our community. I own and operate a small business in Taylorsville. With my wife, Vicki, we reared two wonderful children and educated them in local schools.

Our community and families continue to face many important issues such as:

• Education – I worked to pass historic funding increases for teacher salaries and classroom size reduction. I will continue to support our educators and children at the Capitol.
• Transportation – Our community must be the highest priority for future road improvements. I will continue to fight for the enhancement of local East-West/North-South corridors—with no toll roads.
• Health Care – Because the current system is costly and confusing, I sponsored legislation to expand insurance to children, promote wellness programs and provide less expensive benefit packages for small businesses. I will remain tenacious in advancing needed reforms.

Independents, Republicans, Democrats, business organizations, education groups and others publicly endorse my efforts on Capitol Hill. Together, our community has accomplished much, but our work is not complete. I need your vote on Nov. 4th to continue our work.

Sincerely,
Rep. Jim Dunnigan