S8 Ep4 – Full Episode: Utah Legislative Process – The County Seat

S8 Ep4 – Full Episode: Utah Legislative Process – The County Seat

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Hello everybody welcome to this week’s episode of the county seat I’m your host Chad booth we are at the Capitol today In one of the conference rooms that is usually very busy during the session it’s appropriate because this room is where weekly all the county officials from across the state meet the treasurer’s the recorders the Assessors the commissioners the sheriff’s to talk with legislators about pending legislation to make sure That the policies the state makes does not have a crippling effect on the counties, or you as its citizens So that’s the topic of our show today to see how important this relationship is between County elected officials and state legislators We’re going to start by trying to understand the mechanics of the process we will do that with this week’s tutorial with Brigham Larson Thanks, Chad over the course of the next few months if you visit your County Commission Offices or almost any other office at your county seat for that matter You might find them oddly empty, but I can tell you with all honesty That is a good thing From January through the start of March many of your county officials will be finding their way over and over again to Salt Lake City And Capitol Hill as the Utah legislative season moves forward, but don’t worry it isn’t parties or dinners bringing them It’s hard work to make sure that the legislature knows best how to help your local counties To understand why this is important, let’s first learn what it is that the legislature does? the Utah Legislature consists of two bodies the Senate and the House of Representatives together these two bodies of government work together to draft and approve new laws Ordinances and budgets what makes the Utah Legislature different from other legislatures across the country, it’s too simple but very Important details speaker the House Greg Hughes explained it to me when I met with him earlier this month our state legislature has been in In our state constitution we have 45 calendar days 45 calendar days actually include Saturday and Sunday, but we don’t really come in on those days, so we really have about 31 working days to put to review bills House and Senate and In committees as well as on the floor, and then put our whole state budget together, and so we are on a very fast-paced It’s one of the shortest General Sessions of any state in America Even the governor says the buzz on the L is because of this busy season here it’s a beehive of activity I don’t pun intended at the Beehive State but a lot of things will happen I know that they hear a myriad of pieces of legislation being talked about over 1200 pieces I expect they’ll pass around 500 the second factor ties in with the first the Senators and Representatives are part-time legislators these men and women while making sure laws are written and passed still have to eke out an existence just like you or I They’ve got jobs and businesses to get back to which motivates them to keep on pace and wrap up a session It also means that they know the struggles their communities are facing because they are there on the ground right along with you But how does all of that tie back to County leadership? On some level each and every law that is written and considered by lawmakers on Capitol Hill Will have an effect on your County? If that changes to medicating you talk you can count on the county needing to step in and help to administer those changes If the state level law is established such as new drinking limits It’s gonna fall on the sheriff to get involved and help enforce those laws To make sure that the right changes are made and the county’s concerns are heard state lawmakers rely on County leaders like commissioners to step up and make their voices heard That’s why on any given day most if not all of the county’s leadership can be found in Salt Lake talking with legislators Attending meetings and giving testimony on how a new law will affect their County So now you know why you might find your county offices empty during the beginning months of a year to help us understand better How counties in the legislature work together? We’ll be right back with our panel? Look south to adventure look south to beauty Look south to San Juan County Out here the road goes on forever, and what you’ll find will change. How you see the world Climb on your ohb and discover forgotten landscapes and vistas that challenge the imagination From Blanding in Monticello to the cliff faces of Monument Valley. We’re open and ready for you to explore San Juan County Utah’s canyon country 149 million years in the making dinosaurs once roamed this land Now they’re found at the Dinosaur National Monument Let’s take you beyond We call it Dinosaur Land you’ll find It offers adventures and sights not seen anywhere else in the world come to Dinosaur Land, Vernal, Utah You’ll want to stay forever the dinosaurs did All local products have a story of magical places real people and delicious recipes spanning generations So go ahead and discover Flavors you’ve never tasted and friends. You never knew you had Utah zone discover local food Welcome back to the county seat today. We are answering the question Why do County officials spend so much time at the legislature where there are other elected officials? Doing the business of the state well We’re going to continue that conversation and answer the questions on how important it is for County officials to be Engaged with the legislature to make sure both sides are represented joining us today is a sheriff from Weber County Terry Thompson we have representative Lee Perry district 29 in northern, Utah from the House of Representatives here at the Legislature, and we have Breton Coburn who is a Davis County Commissioner gentlemen. Thank you for taking the time I know this isn’t at your leisure, but it’ll be a good conversation That’s somebody else’s leisure. I’m sure Exact and we start with you Lee as to how important it is for you to get input from these guys when you are working on legislation Well as a member of the house representatives one of the titles in front over the speaker’s desk says Vox Populi which is voice of the people in order for us in the house to do our job right we have to be in touch with the people and in order to do that you have to reach out to county officials city and mayor’s and Reach out to the citizens as well But these folks in the county are as close to anybody in our communities as we can get Specific to law enforcement and the things that go on in individual counties, and I represent two counties Weber in boxelder So I have to reach out to my commissioners in both areas the sheriff’s in both areas and long as the mayors of City Council and it’s critical because Otherwise we wouldn’t be doing what we’re committed to do and that’s represent the people But there would be an argument that would say okay. Well if it’s Vox Populi You’re representing the people your constituents getting in touch with you they complain about something And then you respond and build a law so aren’t you fulfilling your obligation there. I am but quite often They’ll go to the sheriff or the commissioner and say oh, this is this is something we got to fix and sometimes It’s not something that can be fixed just in the county level it has to be fixed to the state level And then that’s when we get involved so what happens Just the sausage come out, right Boy, and all the times I’ve had people come to me and say that Lee Perry’s got this all wrong And I’m just teasing and Lee and I have a lot of things we discuss and we occasionally have We occasionally look at things differently right and have different perspectives, but really on Lee’s part and really with all of our representative Weber County I can’t tell you how really wonderful they are Because they’re open they allow us to come visit with us to let us sit down with us And they get pulled in a thousand different directions up here particularly this time of year and so What I’ve tried to do in my area is try to keep in touch with them all year long, right? I don’t try to wait until you know the legislators come and I need to talk to him and so Occasionally Mae Lee may have accused me of being just a little bit annoying or obnoxious Because he gets emails from me all year Every week sometimes several a week because I want him to know what’s going on We were counting what’s important to us And how can he make really informed and educated? Decisions here if he doesn’t know that one of the recurring themes that has come up is this a good point One of the recurring things that comes up that I’ve heard a lot from Counties in the decade that I’ve been working closely with counties and these programs is you know the legislature? you know they they will put passed a new law and give us a requirement and And they look good because they cut their budget and then we have to pick up the slack in our County revenues And we have unfunded mandates never happens Just like it happens from the federal government and that and that’s the trick and that’s we’re listening to the county officials and Hopefully they see these bills coming and that’s why we tell the public as well as especially the county officials watch the bills There’s a lot of them come up. I mean I’ve seen bills even right now as a state representative I’m like wow this is a bill that somebody’s running I they start to get numbered and I don’t get to see them and tell they’re numbered until they’re out there, so It can be a little bit of a shock for me to all this in a way that wait a minute And that’s where I reach out to Ricky hatch and and Marla young our Recorders up their inbox that are in Weber County about things that have to with election law I reached out to the sheriff and say Sheriff how’s this gonna affect your Jail he and sheriff Thompson is by far one of the best sheriffs I’ve ever seen the state for communicating with legislators like he said he sends his emails noxious thing I mentioned It’s good, and I’m I’m grateful I work in law enforcement Full-time and so I see a lot of the things and I know a lot of the things that he’s sending to me But I can tell you knowing my counterparts aren’t in law enforcement and the information he’s providing to all those legislative leadership and leaders is Critical for them to understand and know so that when they hit this session if somebody throws a bill out, they’re not caught off guard So I love the communication we have because it helps not get these unfunded mandates funding and obviously is a big deal And we’re trying to be a fiscally responsible state I just can’t I just Imagine that the pressure on the legislature from from groups that want their own bidding and their own piece of legislation some of it Protectionists, I want to keep other people out of my trade and something. I just imagine it’s a huge amount of pressure How do you sort through it? That’s difficult That’s where I reached out to constituents in that’s where having expertise in the field comes in It’s having people I can reach out to and talk to because on my own It’s just like you said you can’t be a jet you can’t know it all and if I don’t have good Sources to reach out to and that includes lobbyists sometimes they bring information to me that it’s beneficial even though sometimes They’re representing a need and they want to go for that specific need hearing from their side and then hearing from the opposite side is always beneficial to kind of way out and the thing I always put the back of my Mind what is best for the taxpayers and all the citizens of Utah so? That leads me to an interesting point and all of you can Pass judgment on this or putting your two cents worth When you say lobbyists the general the general reaction of people is that oh my gosh what horrible despicable scum-sucking people they are but but you bring up a good point is that that in certain areas they bring a level of expertise and connection to Things that might be a problem Are they value are they a valuable resource other than for campaign and contributions I? Think so I mean I think they I think they bring information and whether it’s them themselves or they bring us the people that have the information we need I think they do bring a value to the Table, and I think they’re a conduit for a group You know you’ve got a whole group of folks who you know Lee can sit down with all of us And so you have that representative and yeah? That lobbyist that can sit down and convey you know your your interest and your concerns one-on-one with them and There’s some value in that well the the importance that I find in the lobbyist and I think the Sheriff would probably agree here is Is we still have? Things that we’re doing every day in administering our respective offices back in our counties Yes, you know the county work still goes on and that that needs to be taken care of we can’t be down here every moment of that 45 days and Addressing and taking advantage of you know these folks are so busy That you only get them in real quick snippets of time and having that lobbyist here to convey that message and have them be here to walk these halls and be Ready to convey that message So you guys are thinking in terms of like represent ative or the sheriffs Association and Utah sociation and counties tell? From a state legislator standpoint, I know you were interrupted getting here and and so I know how valuable your time is how can this process improve with constituents and And and they’re trying to access and how the counties work with you. How what would make your life better as a legislator representing them Well if people would would look at the things before they come That’s the honest truth is we realize there’s lots of bills out there Find out what your expertise in areas and watch the legislative website and and mark in there and say hey I want to track anything that deals with this particular area and then reach out to us and let us know and Know that your county officials are watching out for this so if you see it, and you say hey Maybe representative Perry won’t respond back to me. I try to Represent them and respond back as best. I possible, but I also have you know not everybody you may have my phone number But I guarantee it sheriff Thompson does So they have my ability to reach me and they’re good conduits So if you see it reach out to the sheriff reach out to the commissioners reach out to those those leaders and say hey We got to get this message to represent in Perry that this is a big deal to us in Weber County Box Elder County Davis County wherever we are in the state of Utah, that’s a great cause make an example of that So we’ve got we’ve got an organization Weber County that is absolutely critical to and we think goes goes it was As far as I’m concerned my 30 years of existence and law enforcement There’s no other organization that does more for the demographic that we deal with Our past offenders and getting them back on track and addressing that recidivism It’s called cottages of hope Not to most people and I was a little skeptical years ago when I first heard it kind of sounds generic like other places This group does more for our community, and we could do a whole segment on it but but they What they do is they they have all the community resources under one roof a lot of these folks even if you’ve got resources You can’t get them there We we have we get them through one door and we deal with everything from financing budgeting We get them into in some really good paint not just minimum wage some good jobs, and we get them You know we work on on their on their tax returns that many haven’t done for years their credit scores We get them in transportation housing and then we plug them in we have good relationship with adult probation parole Weber Human Services Midtown clinic people helping people and we bring it all under one roof I mean, it’s just unbelievable what they do for folks in Ogden is a unique community And they do more for that community than you can possibly imagine and and we brought we got this from the Bay Area Which is an area that you know something’s gonna work? You’re gonna find out. It’s gonna work. They’re not it’s phenomenally successful So I brought all my legislators together most all of them and Leaves very familiar with it brought them all together last week set him down brought them all up to speed and said here’s the problem They’ve they’ve primarily existed off of funding that has passed through federal funding state grants, but for some reason And we don’t know why it’s starting. It’s starting to dry up well Who’s the guy? That’s gonna figure that out, or who’s the people the folks are gonna Help us figure out where the problem is to keep this funded because it is so critical to the community Lee and other state representatives They’re the ones that can dig into it and help us provide that ongoing funding to keep it Effective and and and so that’s just a good example of how I could work with my local officials bring them together set them down Bring in those folks have them run up the give them a a A good up-to-speed here’s what’s going on this what we’re doing this We’re saving the the community in the state millions by getting people back on track and productive and contributing How can the legislature and not necessarily an individual representative but as a system? Help you be better informed to get things pre-planned a little bit better I you know Bill’s surface all the time and they just appear out of nowhere. They don’t really seem an interim committee Is there is that like the biggest problem the constituents and counties have is not knowing what guys are thinking so? It boils in my mind it boils down to a simple thing is communication and having the relationship and I think generally speaking you know speaking from a body perspective It’s there, but folks get so busy, and you’re and you’re running a million miles an hour and sometimes you might They might not think to bring somebody in or whatever But but just keeping an open dialogue in the having trust with one another and being being very candid on On issues gentlemen this has been a great conversation. Hope it’s helped you at home Thank you for joining us for this part will continue by taking a personal look at what it takes to actually navigate the legislature From a legislators perspective when we come back get your track shoes up Let’s be honest you don’t know much about Beaver County well. Let me tell you about it It’s the birthplace of outwalk Butch Cassidy and adventurer Philo T, Farnsworth Some of the best seen in Utah is at equal point you’ve got camping Canyon breeze golf course crusher in the touchers beaver territorial courthouse snowmobiling renewable energy pioneer Car Show squeaky cheese goes down six-four best water in the country by ATV trails old frisco killed for Suri’s flooding fishing Place to live beaver county mountains. Have fun. I could tell you more. What are you gonna see it for yourself? Welcome back to the county seat. We’ve gotten ourselves up to speed and had a really good conversation I would like to add that if you would like to see the long form version of the conversation we just had on the show you can go to our Website you can go to our youtube channel or our Facebook page and watch the entire Conversation we had with the sheriff the Commissioner and the legislature Right now we want to let you see the personal side of what it takes to make the legislature move So we decided to put a secret camera in behind one of the state legislators on a typical day Early in the session before it gets too crazy. Just to see well. How busy and what it is they do I’m Kevin Stratton. I represent House District 48 That’s northeast pro-bowl northeast Orem and the East half of Glendon. Oh good to see you always Yeah, only 40-watt forty three and a half days level now yeah I’m on the road at six. We have some coalition’s and caucuses generally by seven o’clock And then we move into committee meetings as we begin the session we begin to set the tone for the 45 days our legislative session at 45 days the shortest in the nation yet we have the best manage state then so we’re running very very fast as we go through that process we need to make sure we Establish a good foundation rhythm to build upon we work on our budget. That’s the first priority We started the day in in some caucus some Coalition meetings great different stakeholders and issues related to the family issues related to social concerns within our state there’s a great foundation to build upon and the things are taking place there and then we have our appropriations main team the first thing that we do as a Legislature so our first order is to balance the budget so we have beginning of this session fairly intense appropriations, hearings right now For example it’s our gold by the end of January to have our base budget completed. We really scrutinize How we’re spending the money now? To make sure that we’re affecting the fishing and all that we’re doing take care of what I say every penny now We’re going to the House floor to take care of some Daily business will potentially hear a few bills we’re moving bills out of drafting into sighting into committees and then passing some of our legislation over the Senate as well I Had several meetings with individuals Ivan I’m working on others with some of the agency heads that I share a natural resource environment and the agricultural committee we don’t want to punish I Certainly the the very thing where we value and desire we can do that sometimes with the policies so Thank You mr. Chair This afternoon there’s more committee meetings appropriations meetings and Standing Committee meetings So we just need to be prepared to answer those questions and give an accounting yes recognized especially in the house We are the voice of the people Government is not over people but government is by the people and In order to for us to govern all three plus million of us in the state you thought we need to have a good understanding Good transparent communication on once what’s taking place the directions are being pursued it’s such a smorgasbord of just fascinating issues certainly, but behind those issues are people and People’s lives and so it’s really the relationships and interacting with wonderful great the great people of the state of Utah And those that are seeking to promote the good the things that are there we have Everything that we need we can recognize certainly What we’ve been given the stewardship spur for us and we build a wonderful foundation for the future those that are here and the rising generation I Don’t know about you, but right now. I’m feeling like I need to put on running shoes. Just to keep up anyway We will be back with our closing thoughts here on the county seat in just a minute. There’s a little place all the Utah man four hours raised Where my heart say? where the sagebrush grows wild in high The stars come out Faced with the Ute reservation scheme starvation that deucing family The Utah Farm Bureau began as a collection of farmer supporting each other to raise the food we enjoy today Farm Bureau membership Encompasses everyone whether ranchers growers or just everyday folks like you and me Members enjoy discounts on items like vehicles and ATVs or insurance that’s very affordable You don’t have to be a farmer to join and dues are small But together we make a big difference in keeping our food supply local and abundant join, Utah, Farm Bureau The Layton Hills Mall offers more than just shopping bring the whole family and enjoy Seaquest interactive aquarium to feed the fish and exotic birds hold live reptiles and even swim with the stingrays or Pump up the action to visit dart side Utah’s premier soft foam dart tag arena and don’t forget the great room escape where you can Challenge your friends to solving mysteries Inside themed rooms so come and experience great fun at the Layton Hills Mall and visit playing Davis comm for other great activities Welcome back to the county seat let’s recap our show so far for this week first off. We learned the relationship between the counties and The legislature and how the mechanics of that all works in our tutorial then we looked at some of the examples in our conversation of How it has done well and where we’ve missed the boat in certain examples of the importance of counties working together with state legislators Then we took a personal look at how much work Actually takes place in a very short window of time up here by following a state legislator around for half a day And I point out that was only half a day So what do we take away from all this? There’s one element in the process? That’s still not being dealt with and that is you and me as citizens we Rely on people to make best decisions in our interest when legislation is being passed But we do have access to the legislative process And it’s just like the political process of electing people we complain about the problems in our electoral process in our legislative process But we ourselves Do not get engaged until it’s just a matter of a slogan a phrase or a concept What’s really important for us to be more engaged in the beginning levels of this to actually go on to the legislative site like? representative Perry said and as citizens take the time to try and understand the impact laws have before they’re passed and Make our contributions and our thoughts these guys are all at the legislature lay legislators They are not professional policymakers. They are they are law enforcement officers and attorneys and salesmen and Housewives in some cases. They’re just the entire spectrum of population that do their duty to try and pass laws and Represent you your input is very important That’s my two cents worth is we need to get more engaged you can go to the Senate site You can go to the legislative site at the Utah gov and you can start the process of learning more Thank you for being with us as always on the county seat remember that you can share us on social media You can interact with us on social media during the week and you can follow the a county seat on Facebook will try and give you updates of things that are happening during the week as news breaks Thanks. We’ll see you next week on the county seat

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