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Guest column

By By CHRISTINE WATKINS
Representative District 69

First week of 2012 legislature is now history

The 2012 Legislature has begun and things have been moving along nicely.

I presented in committee a bill that would require the University Hospital and Miners Hospital to present an annual accounting of money the hospital receives to the Natural Resources Sub-appropriation Committee. The Miners Hospital is required to serve disabled miners from anywhere in the state of Utah. The bill passed out of committee and is on the board waiting to be heard on the house floor.

I also presented three bills dealing with family rights and DCFS. One passed out of committee and is headed to the house floor. I am working to strengthen families and parental rights. I will say that after a year and a half of working with families, DCFS and the Juvenile Courts I urge everyone to steer clear of illegal drugs, prescription drug abuse, and domestic violence. Not one of those activities has a positive outcome for children and parents.

Friday was the Annual Rural Legislative Day on the hill. I was privileged to be asked to speak to the leaders and citizens of rural Utah. Did you know that over three out of every four Utahns live in the four most populous counties? These counties are Salt Lake, Utah, Weber, and Davis. That means we in the rural counties are greatly outnumbered. We are all going to have to fight to have our share of state revenues to educate our children and grandchildren and keep economic development in our area progressing. I believe that as rural Utahns we are living the American Dream. We breathe clear air, we have free spaces to live, work, and enjoy recreational activities, and a less stressful lifestyle.

I told the rural leaders that the wilderness ads on television are deceiving. Wilderness is not readily accessible, close to amenities, or someplace to which all children are going to hike. If all of the urban people who feel like they need to get away would travel to one or more of our Utah State Parks, it would solve their anxiety problems and help solve one of our state problems as well. I will continue to fight to keep our parks open.

My new legislative email is cwatkins@le.utah.gov. I appreciate hearing from you about the legislative bills that you are concerned about.




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