Rep. Watkins Reports on Third Week of 2019 Session

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Chairman Darren Parry presents before the Business and Economic Development and Labor Committee asking for assistance to build the Bear River Massacre Permanent Interpretive Center.

By Rep. Christine Watkins

Week three was very busy. We had committee meetings, passed bills and listened to people present to our committee requesting funding from the state. I also presented to other committees with people from my district who were requesting state funds. Tuesday afternoon, the Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriation Subcommittee will meet and finalize our appropriation requests. This is the committee that I am the House co-chair. We had well over 100 requests and, of course, there is not enough money to cover all.

In the Education Standing Committee, we voted to remove the A through F letter grade for schools. We are instead opting for a dashboard that has several different areas to look at. The House overwhelming passed the bill and it is now on the Senate side for hearings. A few years ago, the legislature thought this was a great way to show how a school was doing. It turned out not to be such a good idea and really didn’t do what it was hoped it would do. As a former educator, I know there are so many different ways to evaluate a school, and one letter grade is a very poor method.

The IHC Health Care System has finally given the green light for doctors to recommend cannabis to their patients. This has been a major problem for patients in this very large system. I am hoping that it filters down to all physicians and qualified medical providers. Cannabis does not always have to be consumed to provide relief from pain and other ailments. I am sure in the 2020 General Session we will see many bills introduced to loosen up some of the stricter rules that are now in place.

There is a move to redesign our Utah State flag. Many believe our flag is too busy and want to simplify its design. There will be a commission formed to study the idea further rather than a quick change for this session. It was proposed that the commission study and review designs that could be sent in by interested parties.

I had a class of students visit from Helper Middle School. I didn’t get to talk to them because the surroundings were less than ideal, but I know they had great time touring the Capitol. If you plan on bringing up a class next year, let me know as soon as you can. There are limited rooms available for reservations and I would prefer to speak to the students in a room. It allows the students the opportunity to ask questions.

I have sponsored many appropriation requests. There are a number of private/public businesses that want to work in our part of the state. These businesses want to train and provide real life training in light manufacturing. I am excited for the opportunities that can be given to anyone wanting to learn a  trade.

I have bills moving through the Senate and others still working their way through the House. I have a few that were filed pretty late and I think I will be running them next year. In order for a bill to make it through the process, I try to have it ready to go when the session starts. I apologize if you have emailed me and I have not responded. I am literally running from one committee to another presenting bills and attending other meetings. If you want to look at the bills I have filed, go to le.utah.gov and type in my name and it will bring the bills up.

Thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to work for you.

Email: christinewatkins@le.utah.gov, Cell: 435-650-1969, Facebook: Representative Christine Watkins District 69

 

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