By the Office of Representative Carl Albrecht, District 70
Rural Lawmakers Work Together for the 2021 Legislative Session
Approximately 12 rural legislators, led by Representative Albrecht, met with Speaker Wilson on Monday, Jan. 25. The representatives discussed top issues for rural Utah. The House Majority Caucus has many priorities that will benefit rural Utah, including job creation, education funding equalization and natural resource matters.
Revitalization of the Emery Town Pioneer Church
Representative Albrecht is collaborating with the Emery Town Heritage Council
, the Community Impact Board and the Eccles Foundation to revitalize the Emery Town Pioneer Church. This iconic building, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1960, is the oldest remaining community building in Emery County, constructed in 1902. The renovation will renovate the building into a welcome center and event venue, serving as a community asset. Representative Albrecht is happy to work on this project as it will stimulate rural Utah economy and attract visitors.
Mayor Amy Sundstrom of Emery Town and Mary Ann Wright, Chair of Emery Town Heritage Council, joined Representative Albrecht, virtually, Thursday morning in the Utah State Legislature’s Business, Economic, Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee meeting. Representative Albrecht explained that the project was approved last year, but the funding was taken away during one of the COVID special sessions.
“This has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember,” said Mayor Sundstrom. “To stand in this building and feel the history is something I would love to share with everyone.”
Emery Town wants to make the church available to the public so that all may benefit from this historic building.
Grazing Improvement Program
Representative Albrecht is representing grazers and sportsmen in rural Utah to fund $1 million to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The funding will help substantiate the ongoing funding for the GIP to complete improvement projects on the ground. Utah is experiencing an intense drought period, which has been a great setback for rural grazers. The Grazing Improvement Program will help tremendously during this drought period as the water development money has already been extremely helpful to Southern Utah.
HB 180 – Lieutenant Governor Conflict of Interest Amendments
This bill came to Representative Albrecht last year during the primary elections. It was a heated campaign, and he received several complaints about a possible conflict of interest relating to the campaign of a Lieutenant Governor running for state elected office. The bill creates the role of an Independent advisor who the governor will appoint to resolve complaints.
Week in Review
As of Thursday, Jan. 28, the House has passed 55 bills in total. Here are the bills that passed the House during week two.
HB 141 – Municipal Service Amendments
HB 60 – Conceal Carry Firearms Amendments
HB 42 – Education Agency Report Process Amendments
HB 30 – Tax Amendments
HB 34 – Medical Respite Care Pilot Program
HB 49 – Commercial Interior Designers Act Amendments
HB 50 – Government Insurance Amendments
HB 46 – Student Prosperity Savings Program Amendments
HB 131 – State Facility Energy Efficiency Amendments
HB 99 – Public Employees Health Program Amendments
HB 181 – Personalized Competency-based Learning
HB 7 – National Guard, Veterans Affairs, and Legislature Base Budget
HB 1 – Higher Education Base Budget
HB 8 – State Agency and Higher Education Compensation Appropriations
HB 6 – Infrastructure and General Government Base Budget
HB 129 – Office on Domestic and Sexual Violence
HB 15 – Controlled Substance Amendments
HB 4 – Business, Economic Development, and Labor Base Budget
This week, the House passed a base budget that included a $400 million increase in funding for public education, gave state employees a 3% raise and set the groundwork for next year’s state budget. Additionally, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee passed HB 85, which would provide our senior population with a social security tax cut. We have several important pieces of legislation to look forward to and many challenges to address in the coming weeks.
Richfield and Salina Sun Special:
$736K in Trust Land Funds for Sevier School District at no cost to Utah Taxpayers
Sevier School District, with an enrollment of approximately 4,548 students, received $736,008 in School LAND Trust Funds this school year. Trust land funds augment state education funding at no cost to Utah taxpayers. These distributions are the district’s share of $88.83 million in earnings from Utah’s $2.6 billion Permanent State School Fund.
Annual earnings are distributed to every Utah school based on a per-pupil formula. Each school’s community council, comprising parents, teachers, and principal determine the greatest academic needs of their students. Each school community council prepares and implements plans to improve student academic performance with their Permanent Fund distributions. Utah Treasurer David Damschen reports schools will receive a record $92.84 million from the Permanent State School Fund next school year, which is a 4.5% increase from this year’s distribution.
House Majority Newsletter:
During the second week of each session, the Legislature passed a base budget for the following fiscal year. This week’s podcast features Representative Brad Last, Chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee. Listen here to learn more about Utah’s base budget ,including why it’s important and how it came to be.
Additionally, SB 1 Public Education Base Budget Amendments passed both the House and the Senate this week. This is the single biggest investment for public education in state history with nearly $6.5 billion in funding for FY 2022 and FY 2023.
Resolution Recognizing Donovan Mitchell
This week, the House passed HR 3, House Resolution Honoring Donovan Mitchell over Shaquille O’Neal. Wearing her referee jersey, Rep. Kera Birkeland presented the resolution recognizing Donovan Mitchell for his indomitable spirit and dedication on and off the court stating, “The House of Representatives of the State of Utah recognizes the exemplary service of Donovan Mitchell Jr. to the Utah Jazz and to the people of the great state of Utah.”
Although Shaq may think otherwise, we think we are pretty lucky to have Spida represent Utah. Sporting his #45 jersey from the dais, Speaker Wilson said, “We’ll take Spida over Shaq any day! [Donovan Mitchell]’s greatness extends far beyond the court. He’s an example of service, dedication and selflessness and Utah is lucky to have him.”
Congressional Delegation Visits
We look forward to welcoming members of Utah’s congressional delegation each session. This week, we were joined by our newest representatives, Congressman Blake Moore and Congressman Burgess Owens. We discussed their roles in D.C. and how we can work together to better the lives of Utahns.
Freshman Highlight – Representative Mike Kohler
Representative Mike Kohler was born and raised in Midway, Utah where he and his wife, Laurie, raised their six children. The Kohlers now have 23 grandchildren. He attended Utah State University, studying Ag. Econ and Dairy Science for a few years before coming home to run the family farm. He later attended the University of Utah and graduated with a degree in Economics.
Since selling his part of the farm to other family members, Rep. Kohler has managed Midway Irrigation Company, which delivers irrigation water to 1,000 home connections and 300 shareholder ag users. He also works with Dairy Producers of Utah in government relations and public policy related to state and federal legislation, permitting, environmental stewardship, and sustainability.
Before coming to the legislature, Rep. Kohler was a Wasatch County Commissioner for four years and councilman for 12 more. He still farms about 150 acres and raises beef cows, just so his wife will let him have a tractor. Other experiences include coaching football and wrestling at Wasatch High School, working as an EMT, and being a member of Wasatch County Search and Rescue. Rep. Kohler also has a Utah Real Estate License. His favorite family pastimes are boating, four-wheeling, hunting and going to Disneyland with his grandkids.
COVID-19 Vaccination Questions
We are excited to see more and more Utahns receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. The Utah Department of Health has created a comprehensive document that answers many questions and provides in depth information on the vaccine. View the fact sheet by clicking here.
Thank you and stay safe. You may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also text or call me at (435) 979-6578. My intern is Chase Christensen, a senior at Utah State University. His email address is email@example.com. His telephone number is (385) 420-3096.
*Chase will be out of the office for a short period. In his absence, you can contact my new intern, Paige Laursen. Her phone number is (385) 420-3111. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org*