Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Week two of the legislative session is done and we’ve been quite busy. Appropriations subcommittees have been working on base budgets and will begin the work on the overall budget of the state. Of all the work we do here during the general session, the budget is one of the most important. We understand the enormous responsibility it is to manage the tax dollars collected from you, our constituents. It’s a challenge to balance the needs of the state against Utahns hard-earned money and I and my colleagues worry about the tax burden constantly. If things go according to plan, we should continue to see tax cuts over the next few sessions.
As always, I need your input and I greatly appreciate you checking in to tell me how you feel about the bills we are considering. Stay involved and pay attention to the work we’re doing up here. Access our legislative website here to follow standing committee meetings where we discuss legislation and appropriations subcommittees where the budget is discussed.
Utah Senate Passes More Than $160 Million Income Tax Cut for Utahns
On Friday, we passed more than a $160 million tax cut for all Utahns. S.B. 59 State Income Tax Rate Reduction reduces the income tax from 4.95% to 4.85%. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve pushed for less restrictions on businesses, creating an environment for Utah’s economy to thrive. The state’s strong economy makes it possible for the Legislature to cut taxes for the second year in a row. Because of conservative, fiscally sound policy, in addition to a tax cut, our state is also funding education and social services at a record high. By cutting income tax, we are helping ensure Utah remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. S.B. 59 passed in the Senate and will now be considered in the House. Learn more about the tax cut here. Watch the bill’s presentation on the Senate floor here.
In the News
- For 14 years running, Utah has been ranked with the best economic outlook. This does not happen by chance. Read more about why in the National Review here.
- Utah is one of only four states that recovered all the jobs lost at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about this in a Wall Street Journal article here.
Base Budget Bills
As a Legislature, our Constitutional responsibility is to pass a balanced budget before the close of the General Legislative Session. It is a responsibility we take seriously. As such, we spend the first few weeks of the session meeting in appropriations subcommittees to consider how we allocate money in each area, such as public education, social services and transportation.
Eight appropriations subcommittees prepare base budgets for their assigned subject area over the first couple of weeks of the session. These subcommittee base budgets are passed in the early weeks of the session, which allows the state to continue functioning at a basic level. This prevents the state government from shutting down. Then, typically during the final week of the session, we pass what is known as the “Bill of Bills,” which is the comprehensive budget bill that includes additional appropriations not included in the base budgets. You can learn more about the state’s budget here.
Nurse Apprenticeship Licensing Act
In 2020, in response to pressures on our healthcare systems, the state created a temporary nurse apprenticeship licensing program to increase the number of working medical professionals and give students a valuable introduction to their profession. This program allows nursing students who are in their final semester of an accredited program, are in good standing with their program and have permission from the program to begin working under the supervision of certain licensed professionals. S.B. 101 Nurse Apprentice Licensing Act makes the temporary nurse apprenticeship licensing program permanent. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee favorably recommended the bill, and it will now be considered by the full Senate. Listen to the committee discussion here.
Firearm Preemption Amendments
Our most important duty as legislators is to preserve freedoms, including the freedom to bear arms without unnecessary government interference. Utah code prohibits cities and counties from imposing regulations on the ownership, possession, purchase, transfer or transport of a gun. However, in recent years, local governments have attempted to exploit loopholes in state law to regulate firearms. S.B.115 Firearm Preemption Amendments clarifies that local governments do not have the authority to regulate firearms and protects citizens from local government gun regulations that contradict state law. This bill also provides civil action and remedies for violating legislative firearm preemption. The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee favorably recommended the bill, and it will now be considered by the full Senate.
S.J.R. 2 Urging Congress to Propose the Keep Nine Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
We passed a joint resolution urging Congress to propose the “Keep Nine Amendment,” which would amend the Constitution and require the Supreme Court to remain at nine justices. This amendment would prevent Congress or the president from undermining the independence of the Supreme Court, as it is vital in maintaining our nation’s checks and balances. Adding additional Supreme Court justices would result in an abuse of power in any party. This resolution had bipartisan support in the Senate and will now be heard in the House. Read the resolution here.
Honoring Utah Olympians
This week, we recognized members of the Utah Gymnastics team, including Olympic silver medalists MyKayla Skinner and Grace McCallum, bronze medalist Amelie Morgan and two-time World Champion Kara Eaker. Utah’s first Olympic swimmer and silver medalist Rhyan White was also recognized for her incredible athletic achievements. It was great to have these athletes join us in the Senate chamber!
I look forward to hearing from you!
I’ll continually keep you informed about my work on the Hill – likewise, please keep in touch – I’d love to hear your insights and opinions.
I can be reached by email at email@example.com. My mobile phone number is (801) 319-0170. You’re also welcome to join me at the Capitol any time.
If you’d like to meet with me in person outside of interim or the legislative session, you can reach Jason Gould at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll help us get in touch.
I’m truly grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve in this capacity. We live in a unique and special place. Thank you for all you do to make Utah the best state in the nation – and thanks for paying attention.
Until next time,
Senator Keith Grover
Utah Senate District 15