Local legislators update public during weekly town hall meetings

Legislators meet with the public during weekly town hall meeting, Saturday, February 15, 2020

LOGAN – The fourth week of Utah’s legislative session begins Tuesday with lawmakers navigating through hundreds of bills.

During a weekly town hall meeting in Logan Saturday morning, local representatives updated the public on some of those bills and answered questions from residents, ranging from education to gun control.

Rep. Val Potter, R-District 3, said that he and Bridgerland Technical College President Chad Campbell met with legislators last week to discuss funding for a new nursing and healthcare building.

“At this point, the building looks reasonably good for funding. We’ll see what the budget comes up with,” Potter said. “I think it will be a real boost to Cache County to have that building available. There’s a huge demand for nursing in particular.”

Rep. Casey Snider, R-District 5, said lawmakers are working on appropriations to help out residents in the city of Millville.

“Millville is in a unique and unfortunate position relative to what I think was maybe some premature warning and push back from some of our regulatory agencies out of Salt Lake City,” Snider said. Millville is “stuck in the position of having to drill a new well and put in a sewer system at the same time, which is extremely expensive for that community.”

“I’ve been working to see where we can lessen that financial impact as best we can…hopefully we’ve got that project ranked up high enough and we’ve got the regulators to provide some additional options,” he added.

One town hall attendee wanted to know what was being done this session to help Utah teachers deal with disruptive students in the classroom.

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-District 4, said there are laws in place that define corporal punishment in the classroom.

“One of the things we have to do is review that law and make sure we are teaching administrators [and teachers] what they can do and how they do it,” Johnson said.

“Moms and dads do not want their child to go to school and be in danger because somebody is bullying them or being mean,” he said.

“The main reason teachers leave is money and the difficulty they have with all the things that are placed upon them. They feel like they are not supported and there’s nothing they can do and that’s a very terrible place to be in your job.”

Johnson continued, “We are putting together a group to study that and we will move out from there. We’ve got some work ahead of us and I’m going to champion that.”

There are several gun control bills being proposed in the Legislature. HB109 requires a background check for all firearm sales. HB115 provides a cause of action for negligent entrustment of a firearm.

Sam Palmer asked legislators to do everything in their power to stop those bills from progressing.

“I’m a concealed carry guy,” Sen. Scott Sandall, R-District 17, said. “I’m firmly on the side of the Second Amendment. I don’t agree with them (the proposed bills).”

Potter and Snider sit on the Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice Committee.

“The last two years we’ve done a good job to discuss and debate those bills and we as a committee overall support the Second Amendment and we are going to make sure that nothing gets through that affects it,” Potter said.

“I think we are thorough…and fair,” Snider added. “At the end of the day I think we are discussing a fundamental right. I think the preference of the committee has long been finding ways to enforce or reinforce existing statutes on the books rather than make expansions.”

Budget proposals for public education will be announced Tuesday, proposals in higher education on Wednesday.

Town hall meetings are held Saturday mornings in the Cache County Council Chambers in the Historic Court House located at 199 North Main St in Logan, from 7:30-8:30 am.

Each town hall is  live-streamed on the Cache County Facebook page.

To view the most recent meeting visit here.

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