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Front Page » February 24, 2009 » Opinion » Guest column: A report from the legislative house
Published 2,031 days ago

Guest column: A report from the legislative house


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By CHRISTINE WATKINS
State Representative District 69

The 2009 legislature has reached its halfway point. It is a very interesting experience. It has been a different type of legislature for all of us, new and old legislators; every time we thought we had the budget tied down news of a new shortfall would come. We are still waiting for the fiscal analysts to tell what the federal government's stimulus package means for Utah.

I serve on five committees, three standing committees and two sub appropriation committees. Natural Resources, Workforce Services and Economic Development, and Retirement and other Independent Entities are the standing committees to which I have been assigned. I am also on the Natural Resources and Retirement and other Independent Entities sub-appropriation committees. I have discovered that many legislators are on two or three committees. I am pleased to be on so many committees knowing that I can provide my constituents advice and influence in varied areas of interest and need.

I have filed four bills and one resolution. The bills are HB 96 State Retirement Participation for Charter Schools, HB 134 Recall of Unsafe Products, HB 255 Repeal of Sales and Use Tax Relating to Mining, HB 420 Carbon Emissions Reduction Provisions Amendments, and House Joint Resolution five supporting needed improvements in the Navajo Nations ability to collect and track child support payments.

HB 96 will be heard in committee this week, HB 134 died in committee with a vote for four to four. HB 255 is being held in committee, HB 420 is in the Rules Committee waiting to be sent to committee. HJR5 was passed in committee and on the house floor and is on its way to the senate floor for approval.

There have been a number of controversial bills that have added drama to the legislative process. A large number of constituents have come to the capitol to voice their opinions.

Several District 69 county commissioners have come to visit, along with members of the San Juan Senior Citizens Center. A new citizen of our country, a teacher from Grand County, sat on the floor with me while visiting the capitol. What a great honor for me to acknowledge her new citizenship.

One of the negative things for me is being away from the people that I love to see and talk to. I really appreciate the visits, emails and phone calls from the part of the state that I represent.

I have really enjoyed being on the Natural Resources Committee. I believe that I am having an impact on our part of the state by standing up for what we need in harvesting our natural resources. People who live on the Wasatch front have no clue as to how we live, work, and play. I have stood numerous times to point out the defects of a bill as it relates to rural life.

Many times I have voted against a bill because I believed it was an unnecessary regulation.

I am appreciative of the people, who entrusted me with the responsibility to be their voice in the state capitol. I am always reminding myself that I was put in office to be that voice; that government is for the people and by the people, not to do to the people.

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February 24, 2009
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