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Monday, March 30, 2009
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2009 Utah Legislature came to a close late this past Thursday night and I am sending you this email with the significant legislation that was passed during the session. I would like to express my “THANKS” to the many people from District 8 that have helped me in my work to make Utah a better place to live and work for us all. The issues involved were not always easy to resolve, but with your help and input, I was able to make better informed decisions on your behalf.
As I have stated many times, this is not a one-person job and this year certainly proved that point.
I have several issues yet to be resolved and I will need your help and support as we prepare for next year’s session and deal with issues left unresolved with the close of the 2009 session.
Thanks again and, as always, feel free to contact me anytime with your suggestions or concerns.
Ethics reform in the legislature has been a priority this session and several ethics reform bills became law this year.
H.B. 345, Elected Officials-Restrictions of Lobbying, places a one-year cooling off period before any legislator leaving office could register as a lobbyist.
S.B. 156, Gifts and Meal Provisions for Public Officials places new, lower limits on the disclosure of gifts and meals to public officials. Gifts greater than $10 and meals greater than $25 must be disclosed in quarterly reports. An exception provides for meals or events where an entire committee, task force, caucus, or other official body is invited.
S.B. 162, Use of Campaign Fund Amendments prevents any former public official from transferring any money remaining in their campaign account to an account for personal use.
H.J.R. 14 Joint Rules Resolution - Ethics Training Course Provisions enacts a provision for the development and completion of an ethics training course for legislators and lobbyists .
H.B. 64 authorizes the Office of the Attorney General to administer and coordinate the operation of a multi-agency strike force to combat violent and other major felony crimes within the state associated with illegal immigration and human trafficking. Passed both the House and the Senate.
SCR 1, Concurrent Resolution Requesting a Federal Waiver to Establish an Employer-sponsored Work Program urges the United States Congress to grant the state of Utah waivers to establish an employer-sponsored work program and other strategies to address illegal immigration in the state.
Budget: Despite having a budget deficit of $1 Billion this year, legislators have done very well to back-fill, use federal stimulus monies, and consider some revenue enhancements and bonding where possible to avoid budget cuts. Stimulus money has been specifically set aside for the rest of this fiscal year, specifically for areas such as Medicaid, food stamps programs, unemployment, law enforcement, and special education, among others.
Public Education: Lawmakers approved a $2.4 billion school budget for 2010 that will result in a net cut of about 5.2 percent to education, down from the original 17 percent. Public education is the first priority when it comes to State funding and every effort was made to backfill with stimulus money. The budget cuts shouldn't result in the loss of teachers in the classroom for next year. The State's rainy day fund is being held in reserve primarily to fund education needs in 2011.
Energy Development: H.J.R. 12 (substitute), Joint Resolution Supporting Hydrogen Power from Advanced Coal and Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technology passed both the House and Senate.
This joint resolution of the Legislature supports producing hydrogen from coal with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology.
Economic Development: One economic stimulus bill that passed the Legislature was S.B. 14, Financial Incentives for Motion Picture Productions. The bill enacts economic incentives to attract motion picture productions which bring millions of dollars to Utah's economy.
Health Care: Some large proactive steps toward comprehensive health system reform in Utah took place this session. Three bills were born out of last year's Health System Reform Task Force: H.B. 188, Health System Reform-Insurance Market, H.B. 165, Health Reform- Administrative Simplification, and H.B. 331, Health Reform- Health Insurance Coverage in State Contracts. These bills have been signed into law by Governor Huntsman. Utah is on the forefront of health system reform in our nation and we will continue to be pioneers in this area in the coming years.
Alcohol Law Reform:
H.B. 347, Alcoholic Beverage Control Act Modifications passed the Legislature this year. The bills provides for electronic verification of proof of age by restaurants and clubs; addresses the bar structures in restaurants, including limiting access by minors; and creates a new social on-premise liquor license, which allows for an establishment to function without private club memberships.
Other bills also passed to toughen penalties on drunken drivers and underage drinkers and increase the liability for bars that serve intoxicated patrons.
Here is an update on the status of each bill sponsored by Representative Gage Froerer:
HB 67, Public Hearings on Property Tax Increases: This bill simplifies the process for governments to post “Truth in Taxation” meeting notices and enables the public to more easily identify hearing dates and times. Prior to this week it had passed the House nearly unanimously. This past week it made it through the Senate with ease and is to be signed into law by Governor Huntsman.
HB 83, Property Tax Relief Programs: This bill would have amended the Property Tax Act to adjust the household income qualifying limits for both the homeowner’s credit and the renter’s credit. This bill was designed to help our citizens that have not previously qualified for property tax relief the ability to do so. It would have raised the income threshold to over $33,000 per year. It passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and went on to receive a unanimous vote in the House. It also received a favorable recommendation unanimously from the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee but unfortunately may not be funded this year due to budget constraints.
HB 86, Division of Real Estate Related Amendments: This bill is designed to increase the hours of education necessary to obtain a Realtor license. Such training would help to assure that people involved with mortgages and property transactions have received adequate training. This bill would also impose greater penalties for violations of real estate law and for loan fraud. This bill will increase the professionalism in the industry and better protect the public. It has passed both the House and Senate and has been signed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House and has been forwarded to the Governor for his approval.
HB 201, Municipal Disincorporation Amendments: This bill sought to modify a provision relating to the disincorporation of a municipality. This bill was designed to make it so that a district court would not have jurisdiction to consider a petition seeking disincorporation of a municipality if the petition is filed within two years of the incorporation of the municipality. This bill would have had major impact for the citizens of Ogden Valley and the State that are impacted by the bill passed last year that allows town incorporations. Thanks to Darla VanZeban for her efforts on this bill. It passed the House and was transferred to the Senate. However, the Senate failed to pass this bill prior to their adjournment sine die. We will be working on a new version of this bill to bring back and pass in 2010.
HB 243, Rental Restriction on Condominiums and Common Interest Communities: The purpose of this bill is to create reasonable restrictions on the number and terms of rental units in condominium associations or common interest communities and provides for procedures to track these units. It would require HOA’s to recognize our military and other groups that are unable to sell their existing units and give them time to complete a sell while maintaining some rental income. Members of the House Business and Labor Committee approved this bill and then passed the House unanimously. It has since made it through the Senate Business and Labor Committee and the Senate floor unanimously and will be prepared for enrolling and signature by the Governor.
HB 246, Property Tax—Residential Exemption: This bill amends provisions of the Property Tax Act relating to the residential property tax exemption by amending the size of residential property that may qualify for this exception. A very important bill for the Ogden Valley for those with lots that do not qualify for green belt that currently do not receive the residential exemption on their primary residence. This bill passed the House after an intense debate on the floor. However, after consideration in the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, it narrowly died with a 4-2 vote. The design of the bill was to substantially reduce the property taxes for those that own homes situated on lots over an acre but those that do not qualify for green belt. Rep Froerer will be working with the Senate over interim to address this subject and come to a consensus for the session next year. He will be heading up a task force on this issue as we bring all parties come together to resolve this long-standing problem.
HB 266, Wrongful Lien Amendments: This bill simply amends the wrongful lien definitions and makes technical corrections. The House Business and Labor Committee saw this bill favorably and unanimously recommended it and it passed with a unanimous vote in the House. This bill passed the Senate unanimously and will now be transferred to the governor.
HB 299, Unlawful Detainer Amendments: This bill requires the court to hold an evidentiary hearing, upon the request of either party, within ten days for an action involving unlawful detainer. The bill clarifies for the court what authority they have in other than a tenant/landlord relationship. It came out of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee with a favorable recommendation and passed the House unanimously. It was transferred to the Senate and passed on the last day of the session. It will now be prepared for enrolling for the approval of the Governor.
HB 342, Disproportionate Rental Fee Amendments: This bill modifies the Utah Municipal Code regarding disproportionate rental fees imposed by municipalities. It would require that municipalities imposing such disproportionate fees for the first time to establish a good landlord program. This would allow for the landlord to qualify for a reduction in the disproportionate rental fee. It received a favorable recommendation from the House Business and Labor Committee and was unanimously passed by the House. This bill passed the Senate on the second to last day of the session and will be presented to the Governor for his signature of approval.
HB 418, Delinquent Property Tax Amendments: The intent of this bill was to provide that the penalty for delinquent property taxes is only 2.5% if paid within 45 days. It also provides that the interest rate that attaches to delinquent taxes and the penalty be no more than 12%. It passed the House unanimously but did not make it through the Senate prior to their adjournment sine die. This will be a priority bill for the 2010 session and will be a much needed piece of legislation for the entire State of Utah.
Representative Gage Froerer
Sunday, March 22, 2009
We have only heard bits and pieces of rumors (from reliable sources) at this point, but we invite you to click on the links below to refresh your memory of the saga that has been a hot news story the past couple of years.
Click on all of the links, watch the videos and read the stories. Get informed and updated and wait for more news.
Powder Mountain Protest Leads To Boycott
Ogden Valley Citizens Take The Fight To The Streets
Aspen Utah Denied By Supreme Court
Powder Mountain Update - Next Stop Federal court
Lawsuit Seeks Powder Mountain Election
Powder Mountain Township Issue Heading To Court - Standard Examiner Article
Opposition To Powder Mountain Incorporation Petition
Ogden Valley Forum Exclusive - The Powder Mountain Press Release
And we saved the most important for last:
An Important Letter To Residents of Powderville and A Warning To Potential Powder Mountain Investors
We realize there is information-a-plenty, but be sure to click on the links and stay informed.
Friday, March 20, 2009
the demise of HB 201 regarding the Powder Mountain
incorporation. The editorial is concise and instructive on how
important legislation can be sidetracked and defeated by
special interest groups in the legislature.
Gage Froerer and Allan Christensen did a terrific job getting
this bill through the House and Senate committees, but were
stymied by the gamesmanship so often seen in our legislature.
Your VCRD Staff
Be sure to read Rudi's review of the Standard Editorial. Also, don't miss this March 17, 2009 Standard Article:
Town Dissolution Bill Gets No Hearing
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The underdog Snowcrest Skyhawks started today where they left off last Friday. For sixteen minutes, the Lady Skyhawks offered a fast break shooting clinic to the much taller Titans from Orion, ending the first half with a commanding 27-4 lead. The run and gun, 'everything they put up dropped' offense served them well, but a different team came out of the locker room.
An early fourth foul kept 9th grade star Cheyenne Tanner out of the game thanks to a change in plans on Orion's part and some inconsistent calls from the officials. Much like a linebacker, a scrappy Orion girl was continuously permitted to lower a shoulder and drive into the Snowcrest defender to create contact. Time after time, Snowcrest was called for the foul, but we are sure Dick Bavetta would have seen things much differently.
In the end, four Skyhawk starters fouled out and watched an entirely different game the second half from the bench. Shot by shot, free throw by free throw, Orion battled back holding Snowcrest to just 6 second-half points to come out on top 39-33. Snowcrest was outscored 35-6 in the long, last sixteen minutes.
The Lady Skyhawks have had a storybook season and have nailed in the final peg of a new school record. For the first time in Snowcrest history (and probably Valley Jr. history prior to Snowcrest), the Skyhawks reached the playoffs in three sports; boys and girls basketball along with girls volleyball, and baseball tryouts start next week.
While they should have won it all, our girls will be a huge part of the Weber High team for years to come.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Last Friday, the Underdog Snowcrest "Lady Skyhawk" Basketball team earned their spot in the Weber School District Championship game following an incredible, last second buzzer beater by 9th grade superstar Cheyenne Tanner. We are calling it one of the most exciting games of the year, pro, college or otherwise, and hope to obtain and post a video of the last few seconds soon.
Trailing the entire game with the more experienced and undefeated Rocky Mountain Junior High School team, but always within striking distance, the Skyhawks battled to within one point with a little over five seconds remaining. An errant Rocky Mountain inbound play turned the ball over to Snowcrest at Rocky's end of the court with 4 seconds remaining. Snowcrest protested and an additional .8 seconds were added to the clock, leaving them with 4.8 seconds and the monumental task of running the length of the court and getting the shot off before the buzzer.
The Skyhawks got the ball to Cheyenne Tanner who dribbled down, split defenders in true John Stocton-esque fashion, and launched an eight foot layup just ahead of the clock. Miraculously, the shot dropped and the large Rocky Mountain crowd was silenced as the Skyhawks won 38-37. Tanner led all scoring with 28 for Snowcrest.
The road the the finals has been exciting. Last Tuesday, Snowcrest knocked off Sandridge in another exciting game to earn the fourth place seed in the playoffs vs. the first place Grizzlies from Rocky Mountain. Then on Friday they defeated Rocky, a large school with some 1200 students compared to Snowcrest's measly 300 students.
The Lady Skyhawks face the girls from Orion Junior High Tuesday, March 17th at 3:30 PM in the Weber High School Gymnasium. The Skyhawks lost a heartbreaker to Orion during their only match this year after leading by as much as nine points most of the game. Tomorrows game is bound to be an exciting match up!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
• HB 122 - Government Records Access and Management Act Amendments (Rep. Aagard): GRAMA Bill failed, Senate sent back to House with amendments not acceptable to House. Note: Utah Association of Counties supported this bill. - Good for citizens! Retains open Government access.
• HB 187 - Recreational Use of Public Water on Private Property (Rep. Ferry): Bill failed; never made it out of the House. Note: Utah Association of Counties took no position on this bill. - Unknown impact.
• HB 201 - Municipal Disincorporation Amendments (Rep. Froerer): Our friends at the Weber County Forum www.wcforum.blogspot.com said it all! Note: Utah Association of Counties supported this bill. - Bad for Powderville homowners.
• HB 246 - Property Tax - Residential Exemption (Rep. Froerer): Bill never made it out of the House. Note: Utah Association of Counties opposed this bill. No relief for mandatory 3 acre owners in OV.
• HB 418 - Delinquent Property Tax Amendments (Rep. Froerer): This bill passed the House unanimously and the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee gave it a unanimous favorable recommendation. But the Senate leadership sat on the bill from March 5 sending it back to the House on March 12 at end of session. Per the Fiscal Note done for the legislation on this bill it would have increased statewide county revenues up to $50,000,000 annually! Note: Utah Association of Counties took no position on this bill. Don’t we all wonder what they were thinking? The only people impacted by this bill would have been the deliberate delinquent tax payers. This allows the tax loophole for fat cats to continue for another year at least!
Our experience with our Weber County leadership on this issue has indicated that the leadership is embarrassed by the facts of the delinquent tax amount in Weber County ($13 Million) and the unfair burden these delinquent taxpayers place on most of us who pay our taxes on time.
Weber County has tried but failed to downplay the amount of money involved in unpaid, delinquent property taxes and the negative impact for other taxpayers. They have not supported any state legislation that would reduce these millions of dollars in uncollected and delinquent property taxes from their favorite charity, the business/developer interests.
The County leaders do not want to answer the questions, how long has this been going on, and what are they doing to lead the effort to end this tax loophole? All three Weber County Commissioners have been in office for at least four years, long enough to be proactive in legislation to reduce these delinquencies.
The Board of Directors for the Utah Association of Counties currently includes three individuals from Weber County, Commissioner Jan Zogmaister, County Treasurer Nila Dayton and Recorder/Surveyor Ernest Rowley.
Larry and Sharon Zini
On another relatedPowderville note, they have seemingly been trying to improve their public perception as we were recently forwarded this message touting a generous food drive at Powder Mountain.
Powder Mountain will be hosting a food drive on April 1st along with The Ogden Rescue Mission. Each person that donates at least five (5) non-perishable food items will have their choice of either a $40 all area adult lift pass for that day (a $16 discount) or a single-ride Lightning Ridge Snowcat Pass ($12 value).
The idea for a food drive arose shortly after the resort’s successful Stoked on Socks event, where 550 pairs of socks were donated to give to the homeless. All donations will be given directly to the Ogden Rescue Mission. The Ogden Rescue Mission prepares more than 100,000 meals each year for those in need. It also distributes over 1,500 food boxes for local families during the holidays.
What say you about this generosity? Have a great weekend.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
If you know of anyone planning a wedding and in need of a ring, Belliston's are offering their first ever DesignYour Own Ring contest. First prize is a generous $1000 in store credit towards the purchase of the lucky couples ring. $1000 will go far at Belliston's.
Click on the Belliston Jewelry Ad on the left sidebar for more details and good luck!
Editor's note: As of March 10, 2009, Senate Majority Whip Scott Jenkins from a west Ogden district was waffling on the bill and still needed some arm twisting.
If you have friends or family in West Haven, Plain City, Roy, Hooper, and Marriott-Slaterville, please have them contact Senator Jenkins immediately and encourage him to support HB 201. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you may wish to include something like "constituent input on HB201" in the subject line.
Also, be sure to have them include their address.
Time is of the essence as the 2009 legislative session is about to end.
Friday, March 06, 2009
I was able to pass HB 201, Municipal Disincorporation ----out of the House today with a vote of 52-17 and it will now be transferred to the Senate for consideration. This bill modifies a provision relating to the disincorporation of a municipality. It would allow the residents of the impacted incorporation the ability to ask a judge for disincorporation without having to wait 2 years as currently is required by law. It would greatly benefit the residents of Powder Mountain by permitting them to ask the judge to hear a petition for disincorporation immediately following incorporation. This bill will have major impact for the citizens of Ogden Valley and the State that are impacted by the bill passed last year that allows town incorporations.
I ask for your support and assistance with this bill. It will be heard on the Senate floor next week. Please email or otherwise contact Senators urging them to vote in favor of HB 201. Thank you for your help and efforts with this bill. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
I want to Thank Darla VanZeban, Jim Haley and many others from the Ogden Valley that have given me their full support on this important issue.
Representative Gage Froerer
We have made contacting the Senators Easy. Simply click here to view their email addresses, complete with clickable links.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Froerer estimated that the large-lot owners would benefit by an average $160 tax decrease and other property owners would pay an extra $1.50.The bill faced opposition from many fronts, with the Tribune penning an editorial opposing the bill in its February 16, 2009 issue calling the bill a "Manor Exemption." Four days prior, on February 12, 2009, the Tribune mentioned the bill had passed committee 11-1 and was heading to the full house - the sub title read 'Assessor says the measure would shift burden.' The bill ultimately died in the house but was revived in the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, where it failed today 2-4.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, opposed the bill on that basis.
"This is both class warfare and bad policy," he said.
We applaud Rep. Froerer for his efforts this legislative session.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Also, don't miss Rudi's review of the Standard Examiner guest commentary by Larry Zini that we pointed out on Thursday.