Utah Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson (left) and Representative Christine Watkins (right).
By Representative Christine Watkins, District 69
As of this writing, the legislature has passed 369 bills. We have five more days to get bills through committee and passed. I have two bills waiting for the governor to sign and one on the board in the Senate. I am also the House Sponsor on a couple of bills with Senator David Hinkins. One of those is dealing with the Navajo Water Rights funding that serves as Utah’s portion of money dealing with the Utah Navajo water infrastructure.
HB365 combines the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services. This is going to be a great help to people who interact with these departments. This will create a seamless process instead of the “go to this department and then go to that department” process.
Three bills that will help families, veterans and elderly citizens are SB153, SB11 and HB86. These three bills help lower income families. I have previously written about two of these bills, the Veteran and Social Security Tax bills.
SB168 deals with UTV noise in resort towns, very specifically Moab. The city council really wants to outlaw UTVs. They complain because of the noise the vehicles make inside city limits. The problem comes from people that live out of the area; the local citizens follow the local laws to help reduce noise. There are many local people who have businesses dealing with UTVs and the city found it difficult to deal with people. The City of Moab is asking the legislature to fix a problem they should fix. The bill was voted down in the Senate by one vote and has not come back yet. I would not support this bill if it makes it to the House.
SB85 is a needed and good bill. This bill statutorily disinherits a person who commits certain felony offenses against a vulnerable adult. If a person either harms or causes the death of a vulnerable adult and it is a felony offense, they cannot inherit any of the property of the vulnerable adult. There are too many cases where vulnerable adults (elderly, disabled, etc.) have been murdered and the person doing the crime was legally able to inherit money and property. I supported this good bill.
HB257 passed and has been funded with $25 million. This bill funds and creates the Utahraptor State Park north of Moab. This area is being used and abused by campers. It has no public facilities and needs to be built up and used wisely. This bill will also ask the Bureau of Reclamation to officially designate the Lost Creek State Park in Morgan County. The use of the state parks has exploded since COVID-19 came into existence. This bill will allow these parks to become economic drivers. We also funded extra money for all state parks to continue to improve their facilities.
I am relieved to be heading into our last week on the hill, looking forward to coming home and spring. Thanks for your emails and text messages.
Facebook: Representative Christine Watkins
Cell: (435) 650-1969