Murray legislators’ score cardApr 03, 2022 04:53PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Legislators representing Murray at the Utah State Capitol wrapped up their 2022 session on March 4. However, Murray’s all-Democrat slate of legislators ended up with a mixed bag of results in getting their bills through the Republican-dominated statehouse and onto the governor’s desk.
Sen. Jani Iwamoto
Sen. Jani Iwamoto was by far the most active of Murray’s legislators this year; 12 of her 13 pieces of legislation passed. After five amendments, Iwamoto’s Driver Speeding Amendment bill delivered, defining how motorists caught driving more than 105 mph will be charged with reckless driving.
On a more personal note, Iwamoto’s Day of Remembrance Observing the Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II bill passed without receiving a single nay vote. The bill recognizes Feb. 19 as a day in which Utah residents and students are encouraged to learn about the history of Japanese Americans incarcerated solely due to their ethnicity.
Her other bill, which went through several iterations, was the Correctional Officer Eligibility Amendment. This changed the law to remove the prohibition on 19-year-olds working as correctional officers for the Department of Corrections.
Iwamoto also proposed the creation of the Office of American Indian-Alaska Native Health and Family Services within the Department of Health and Human Services, and it passed.
Sen. Gene Davis
Of the six bills presented by Sen. Davis, four passed. One bill that Davis succeeded in passing commissions a study on how medical cannabis is governed in Utah. The study will likely result in further amendments on how the program is administered in the state.
Sen. Kathleen Riebe
After presenting four numbered bills, Sen. Riebe was able to get one through the legislature: the Grow Your Own Teacher and School Counselor Pipeline Program. The bill permits a local education agency to select certain teachers as candidates for a scholarship award from the same-named program. The program allows school districts to help school staff and community members become licensed teachers.
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss
Rep. Moss, along with Murray Reps. Gay Lynn Bennion, Karen Kwan and Mark Wheatley, helped co-sponsor a bill creating Utah’s newest official holiday, Juneteenth. The bill, whose lead sponsor was Sondra Hollins, designates June 19 as a date commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth was recently made a national holiday.
Spackman Moss sponsored four house bills, one of which passed: a bill transferring the State Small Business Credit Initiative Program Fund from the Department of Workforce Services to the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.
Rep. Gay Lynn Bennion
The creation of the Watershed Restoration Initiative is one of Rep. Bennion’s two bills that were passed by the legislature. The bill creates new Department of Natural Resources policies and objectives to manage, restore and improve watershed ecosystems throughout the state.
Rep. Andrew Stoddard
Stoddard sponsored six bills and two resolutions; two passed. His Inheritance Disqualification Amendment updated the law to clarify provisions related to the disinheritance of an individual who committed the homicide of a decedent. It also allows the victim’s estate to petition a court to preserve the assets and property of an individual who committed the homicide.
Rep. Karen Kwan
Rep. Kwan sponsored one bill and one resolution, which was the only one that passed. Her resolution calls for the federal government to responsibly fund the protection of archaeologically significant sites on lands managed by the federal government. It also calls for the Department of Cultural and Community Engagement to work with other government agencies to protect archaeological sites on state lands.
Rep. Mark Wheatley
Of the five bills Rep. Wheatley sponsored, one passed. His Law Enforcement Recording Release Amendment went through three changes before it was ultimately voted on. This bill requires the release of the recording of a law enforcement incident that resulted in death or bodily injury or when an officer fired a weapon in certain situations.
The status of all legislators’ bills can be found online at le.utah.gov.