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Front Page » February 8, 2011 » Opinion » Guest column: Legislature week two
Published 1,268 days ago

Guest column: Legislature week two


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By By CHRISTINE WATKINS
District 69 representative

Another very busy week at the State Capitol, HB 44, Italian American Heritage Month, passed through the senate and is now on its way to the governor.

On Feb. 9, HJR 9 will be presented to the senate. This resolution will honor World War II Navajo Code Talkers and ask for support from the federal government for their new museum. There should be a couple of the Navajo Code Talkers in attendance when the bill is presented. The new Navajo President, Ben Shelley, thanked me for running legislation that is so important to the Navajo Nation.

On Monday HB 98, Capital Outlay Funding Modifications, will be heard in the House Education Committee. This is a bill which will allow school districts with an enrollment of less than 2,500 students the flexibility to use capital outlay monies to pay for maintenance expenses like custodian's salaries and benefits from the fund that normally would not allow this type of expenditure. I have other bills in process and will write about them later. You can go to the Utah State Legislature home page and click on bills and type in a specific legislator or key word and you can see what bills have been filed and track their progress.

My first team meeting with governor was very informative and personal. His base budget is certainly more in line with how those of us in southeastern Utah think.

Congressman Jim Matheson visited our caucus meeting on Thursday. He talked to us about the Wild Lands designation and answered many questions. He also spoke to the both houses about issues facing the federal government. The Wild Lands designation is still a hot topic on the hill.

I was so pleased to meet with county commissioners, council members, and county officials from all four counties on Friday, which was Rural Day at the legislature. I love seeing a familiar face and hearing about the area of the state that I represent. We discussed a lot of issues. I had to leave to attend another meeting when Senator Hinkins arrived, so everything worked out great for the officials. They got to talk to each of us separately and explain their concerns.

We've been told that there are over 1,200 bills filed, which is a record. It is a daunting and near impossible task to keep well informed on all filed bills, but with the help of our caucus and the added assistance of interns, we do our best to be informed prior to voting.

If you have a concern about a bill please email me at cwatkins@utah.gov, and if you need me to call you, give me a phone number and I will call. I have tried to email or call constituents who have contacted me.

A very special thank you to the men and women who have worked hard with their snowplows to keep Highway 6 open, I really appreciate it!

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