• 2016 Session Recap

    Overview of 2016 Session

     

    Most Utahns enjoy a pretty high quality of life. We live in a state with one of the strongest and most diverse economies in the nation, very little unemployment and high wage growth. Our population is young, our families are large and though our state government has the ability to tax only about one-third of our land, we continue to grow and prosper.

     

    We are consistently able to do more, with less, than most other states. The credit for this goes to a hardworking populace that values productivity and a Legislature made up of people who believe that individuals do best when allowed to regulate themselves, while acknowledging the crucial role of government in providing certain protections and basic services.

     

    Funding for education consistently takes priority in the Legislature and this year $445 million in new money was directed to public and higher education, amounting to 2/3 of new spending. This included a Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) increase of 3 percent, an amount comparable to another ¾ percent WPU for equalization, $15 million for technology programs in the classroom, an expanded emphasis on school readiness for at-risk children and a number of new buildings on university campuses. Additionally, nearly $60 million was placed into the state’s Education Rainy Day Fund this year.

     

    During the 2016 legislative session, there was significant focus on keeping our communities safe and improving quality of life as lawmakers looked to more effectively deal with increasing levels of homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse and criminal recidivism within our state. A number of bills were passed this year to help with better integration of services for those dealing with these problems, and additional money was appropriated to support state workers in areas such as corrections, law enforcement and probation & parole.

     

    A new system will allow for the tracking and sharing of data among various agencies and localities in order to more effectively and efficiently help those who need it, with the goal of saving money and improving lives. Success in these areas will lead to safer communities, less dependency and higher workforce participation, which benefit all of us.

     

    There was also a notable focus on preparing for future growth and the many challenges that come with it, especially in the middle of a desert. Water infrastructure, once the funding domain of the federal government, has now shifted to the state as demands for everything at the federal level have increased. Utah this year set in place a funding mechanism to facilitate financing of future water projects, while at the same time establishing a system for gathering better data to allow for more effective water conservation and planning.

     

    Air quality bills were also again on the radar of many in the Legislature. A fund was established that would allow taxpayers to make voluntary contributions to be used for clean air projects, and it became easier for individuals to choose to use solar power to provide energy for their homes. There was also additional money appropriated for construction of a technical support center for the Department of Environmental Quality and for additional air quality monitoring, research and awareness.

     

    Even as we deal effectively with the inevitable difficulties that come with the dynamics of a state like Utah, we learn that there is always more that can be done to improve our quality of life. At no point in time do we stop trying to improve, to innovate, to seek out new solutions to old problems. Hopefully this year that is exactly what we were able to accomplish.

  • 2016 Budget Highlights

     

    • Total Budget: $15.1B, balanced
    • State Funds: $6.4B
    • Debt and Savings
      • Paid down $335M in General Obligation debt
      • No new debt authorized this session
      • Total formal budget reserves of $491M
    • Public/Higher Education
      • $445M combined = 2/3 of new revenue
      • $60 million into Education Rainy Day Fund
      • $1.7M for additional staff at the State Office of Education
      • Up to $4.4M for new financial management system at SOE
      • WPU increase of 3% + .75% equivalent for equalization
      • $16.8M for technology in classrooms (k-12)
      • $17.2M for early learning initiatives
      • $6.4M for arts programs
      • $$7.2M to support targeted at-risk or rural student populations
      • $2.5M ongoing for applied technology college campus program expansion
      • $800,000 increase ongoing for applied technology college equipment
      • $42.5M for SLCC Career and Technical Education Center
      • $8M for SUU new Business Building and repurposed building
      • $38M, funded over two years, for USU Biological Science Building
      • $32M, funded over two years, for UVU Performing Arts Building
    • Criminal Justice
      • $2.4M new for Corrections
      • $1M for Guardian ad Litem
      • $1M for Highway Patrol
      • $600,000 for State Court Judges
      • $1.75M for 15 additional Adult Probation & Parole agents
      • $5M in increases for county jails
      • $1.5M one-time/$500,000 ongoing for Indigent Defense Commission
      • $2M one-time to begin development of a statewide data coordination system to support JRI
    • Social Services
      • $10M to address homelessness
      • $500,000 toward drug overdose programs
      • $951,000 for increased monitoring of substance abuse treatment fraud
    • Air Quality
      • $6M for construction of a technical support center
      • $1M for air quality monitoring
      • $400,000 for research and awareness
      • $150,000 for clean fuel conversion grant program
  • 2016 Key Issue Summary

    Education

     

    Funding for Utah’s school children and college students once more dominates the $14.5 billion budget for 2016. The total increase for both higher and public education was $445 million – over $20 million more than originally sought by the governor.

     

    The legislature is appropriating $94 million to accommodate growth for a projected 9,700 new public school students this fall, as well as a nearly $74 million expenditure representing a 3% increase to the Weighted Pupil Unit, (WPU). Monies headed to public education also include $20.4 million in ongoing funding for Charter School equalization and almost $17 million, $10 million of that ongoing, targeted to improve technology in our schools.

     

    Construction on Utah’s college and university campuses is another big-ticket budgetary item, including more than $113 million approved for new buildings at Utah State and Utah Valley Universities and the West Point campus of Salt Lake Community College.

     

    In 2015, the Legislature took a major step toward equity in public education by bringing up districts with a lower property tax base in line with others around the state having a much higher property tax base, with the passage of  S.B. 97. This legislation sought to make the school funding formula more fair and provide greater opportunity for all children, wherever they might live throughout the State of Utah. Charter schools were left out of that.

     

    Last year the Legislature established the Charter School Funding Task Force to look at this issue and investigate possible solutions. The task force was given the responsibility of studying charter school funding provisions and the method for determining their enrollment for funding purposes.

     

    The culmination of the research and review of the task force has come in the form of S.B. 38, which includes a number of the task force recommendations including: continuation of grade-level weighting, changes to school district allocations for students enrolled in charter schools and the inclusion of recreational facilities in the local replacement formula for those schools.

     

    The State of Utah is constitutionally mandated to provide a free education for all of its children, and it has chosen to do so through both traditional and charter schools. It is incumbent upon the Legislature to ensure that all of these students are given an equal opportunity for success.

     

    Additional education-related bills include SB 101, High Quality School Readiness Program Expansion, which establishes a school readiness program for students deemed eligible for an Intergenerational Poverty program and creates the Intergenerational Poverty School Readiness Scholarship Program. HB 201, removes SAGE scores from teacher evaluations.

     

     

    Medicaid / Homelessness / JRI

     

    Homelessness, justice reform and Medicaid were all addressed this year in a comprehensive fashion with HB 436, HB 348, HB 437 and HB 328. This new structure will allow the state to more effectively assist those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, while also reforming our justice system.

     

    This year’s Medicaid expansion (HB 437) will provide a program of coverage through an expansion of traditional Medicaid that will preserve services and benefits to the core group of over 300,000 current Medicaid recipients, including children and disabled adults.

     

    Newly-covered populations will include the chronically homeless, individuals involved in the justice system and those in need of substance abuse and mental health treatment. A new data system will also be implemented to allow the state to align programs and track and share information to more efficiently use resources.

     

    The 2016 budget also fully funds consensus Medicaid growth estimates for the traditional Medicaid population of over $40 million.

     

    The Sixth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants legal representation and Utah is one of only two states that leaves funding up to the counties. Some claim that this has led to ineffective legal representation.

     

    A state task force has been studying the issue for four years and their recommendations are the basis for SB 155. It creates the Utah Indigent Defense Commission and gives the Commission authority to collect data to study the provision of indigent criminal defense services statewide. It also authorizes them to assist local jurisdictions to meet minimum standards of effective representation and establishes an account to provide financial assistance to indigent defense systems throughout the state that are underfunded and unable to adequately protect the rights of those accused of committing a crime.

     

     

    Drug fraud prevention / treatment center reform

     

    As the need for substance abuse and mental health treatment escalates, it is incumbent upon the state to ensure that limited dollars are being used appropriately and those seeking help are actually receiving it.

    SB 123 and HB 259 will go a long way in helping to detect and weed out fraud and abuse surrounding these types of facilities. Those seeking services, as well as those paying for services, will have greater assurance that suitable treatments are being administered, and in an appropriate manner.

     

    SB 123 permits a local government to request that the Office of Licensing for the Department of Human Services notify that local government of any new human services program license applications within their local jurisdiction. In doing this, a local governmental entity will be more aware of the programs administered within their community and thus, better able to monitor where necessary.

     

    HB 259 requires that rules be made to define what constitutes an outpatient treatment program and to develop minimum standards for licensed providers of substance abuse and mental health services. In order to address existing problems, the bill also requires the establishment of a procedure for insurer access to licensee records regarding services or supplies billed to the insurer, and to set in place procedures for the investigation and processing of complaints against licensees.

     

     

    Other Social Services

     

    HB 149, Death Reporting and Investigation Information Regarding Controlled Substances, requires the medical examiner to provide a report to the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) when it is determined that a death was as a result of poisoning or overdose involving a controlled substance. Each practitioner who may have written a prescription for that controlled substance will then be notified.

     

    HB 245, Local Health Department Amendments, allows for the option within a county to combine the local health department with the mental health and the substance abuse authorities. It also permits multiple counties to join together to form a multicounty united health department.

     

     

    Law Enforcement / National Guard

     

    The long-awaited body camera bill finally came to fruition with the passage of HB 300. It establishes minimum guidelines for the activation or use of cameras and makes most recordings public record. It protects as private those recordings that take place inside a home or residence except for those that depict the commission of a crime, record an encounter that results in death or injury or is the subject of a complaint or legal proceeding. It also requires the officer, when entering a private residence, to give notice of the use of the camera.

     

    HB 98, National Guard Death Benefit Amendments, provides for a $100,000 death benefit for the next-of-kin of a National Guard member who dies while on state active duty.

     

     

    Water / Infrastructure

     

    The Legislature took action this year to look ahead and plan for future needs with the passage of SB 80. It provides appropriations from the Transportation Fund to be deposited into the Transportation Investment Fund and the Water Infrastructure Restricted Account to pay for future water needs. According to UDOT no currently programmed projects will be impacted, and current funding for the Transportation Fund will be maintained.

     

    SB 251 funds the establishment of criteria for better water data and reporting to allow for the creation of new water conservation targets. As our desert state continues to expand, along with our water needs, we must prepare for the future as we look for solutions that allow us to sustain our present trajectory of growth and prosperity.

     

    SB246, a controversial bill in the media, would allow for investment in a port from which to export clean coal to China. The money for the port ultimately will be paid from the Permanent Community Impact Board (CIB) with money from mineral royalties, not from state tax dollars.

     

    China’s coal is notoriously dirty, while Utah’s is unusually clean. Though there is a push in much of the developed world to move away from the use of coal in the generation of power, many countries still rely heavily on it. With this dependence comes pollution and the cleaner the coal, obviously, the less it pollutes. China is interested in our cleaner coal and there should be little controversy surrounding this port as the fact exists that if our state were able to meet all the demand for coal in China, that country could reduce their power-plant emissions by half.

     

    We must also remember that many rural Utahns work in the energy industry and despite demands from environmentalists that we abandon them and the clean coal they produce, the state recognizes the benefit we derive from them. We all enjoy lower electricity rates because of the role of coal in our own economy and our state as a whole benefits from the jobs and tax dollars that industry provides, not to mention that the more of our coal the Chinese have and use, the cleaner the air.

     

     

     

     

     

    Air Quality

     

    HB 237, Income Tax Contribution for Clean Air, allows anyone filing an income tax return in Utah to designate a contribution to the newly-established Clean Air Fund.

     

    HB 244 allows solar energy companies to sell power directly to a residential customer who participates in a net metering program. This reduces the upfront costs to customers who have, in the past, needed to either purchase or lease equipment. The solar company and customer enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), whereby the consumer agrees to purchase power directly from the solar company.

     

    There were also additional resources invested in clean air projects and initiatives with $6 million appropriated for the construction of a technical support center for the Department of Environmental Quality, a $1 million appropriation for air quality monitoring and $400,000 for air quality research and awareness.

     

     

    Additional Legislation

     

    HB 251, Post-Employment Restrictions Amendments, which would place reasonable restrictions on the use of non-compete agreements, passed with 27 House Co-sponsors. Non-compete agreements have been shown to limit entrepreneurship and impede innovation, restricting the free flow of labor and reducing the need of companies to stay competitive and treat their employees well. This bill should help reduce abuses surrounding the use of non-compete agreements and add to the vibrant and growing economy found in Utah today.

     

    HJR 20 – gives approval for the construction and operation of a new commercial, nonhazardous landfill – Promontory Point Landfill. The landfill is still subject to the approval of Box Elder County, the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control and the Governor.

     

    HB 67 eliminates the prohibition of lawfully carrying a firearm on a bus.

  • Nolan Karras Endorses Mike Schultz

    NolanHandshake“Mike Schultz has the experience and leadership to make an immediate impact in growing our economy, creating jobs in Weber and Davis Counties and improving the quality of our education system.”

    -Nolan Karras, former Utah Speaker of the House from Roy, UT.

     

  • Veterans & Military

    I’ve been honored to be a proud participant and sponsor of the SFW Sportsmen for Warriors Organization.   As your legislator I will work to identify key policies and initiatives to show the gratitude and respect that we, as citizens, feel for our military men and women. They give so much to protect our freedoms and we should do all that we can to provide opportunity for them and their families when they return home, as well as take care of them when they are in need of assistance.

  • Representing our shared values comes naturally to me

    AS YOUR REPRESENTATIVE, I’LL TAKE SOMETHING OF YOURS WITH ME TO THE STATE CAPITOL:

    YOUR PRIORITIES.

    • Economic Development
      So much hangs on a strong economy. Working with state and local officials, I can play a tangible role in bringing more high paying jobs to Davis and Weber counties and the state through regulatory reform, tax cuts, and innovation. Count on me to fight for Utah business owners, employees and their families.

     

    • Education
      Education requires funding, but what it really needs today is more innovation, autonomy from federal programs and a new era of fresh thinking. I’ll fight to reward education in Utah for working harder and smarter.

     

    • Energy
      From oil, natural gas and coal, to solar hydroelectric and wind power, increasing energy production is critical to every aspect of life in Utah. Though our state is rich in natural resources, our ability to develop them is being hampered by federal red tape and environmental agendas. It’s time for Utah lands to be Utah lands. It’s our energy and our right to develop it.

     

    • 2nd Amendment
      Our Founding Fathers got it right the first time. There is no wiggle room in our right to bear arms. Utah will not join the federal government in facilitating the current gun grab. I’m an avid hunter, gun owner and strong defender of the 2nd Amendment. If you are too, I need your support.
  • About Mike

    A life-long resident of Hooper, Roy and West Haven, Mike Schultz is running for House seat 12 out of a commitment to public service, limited government and personal liberty.

    Mike grew up working on his grandfather’s cattle farm and learned from that experience one of life’s greatest lessons—the value of hard work.  “Nothing in life is handed to you,” said Mike.  “You’ve got to earn it.”

    With this mind, and with the help of his parents, Mike began his career as an entrepreneur when he started a business selling worms to fisherman at the ripe age of 10.  At 12, he took his first job milking cows at his neighbor’s dairy farm.  By the age of 16 Mike started a hay hauling business and was sub-contracting with a ward member to roof houses.  At the early age of 20, Mike earned his general contractor’s license and started building homes.

    Since that time Mike has built and sold over 2,000 homes, developed and sold over 1,600 lots and created hundreds of jobs.  Mike currently owns and serves as President for Castle Creek Homes, headquartered in Roy, Utah.  Under Mike’s leadership, Castle Creek Homes was a top six builder in the state of Utah from 2009-2013.  During that same period, Castle Creek Homes built more homes in Davis and Weber County than any other builder.  In 2010, Castle Creek Homes was the winner of the Northern Wasatch Home Builder’s Association’s (NWHBA) Home Builder of the Year Award.  Mike currently serves as the NWHBA President.

    Mike’s greatest accomplishment, however, is marrying his wife, Melissa, and being the proud father of five children.

    When not busy with work or family, Mike can be found in the great outdoors hunting, fishing, cattle ranching or snowmobiling.

  • Attend your caucus meeting

    Legislative House District 12 Neighborhood Caucus Meetings:
    Thursday March 20th
    7:00 PM

    CL03 Clearfield High School
    WP02 Clearfield High School
    WP07 Clearfield High School
    HPR001 Hooper Elementary
    HPR002 Rocky Mt. Jr High Room 138
    HPR003 Rocky Mt. Jr High Room 140
    HPR004 Rocky Mt. Jr High Room 139
    HPR005 Rocky Mt. Jr High Room 142
    HPR006 Hooper Elementary: Cafeteria
    ROY001 Roy Elem. Room 32
    ROY002 Roy Elem. Room 33
    ROY003 Roy Elem. Gym
    ROY004 Roy Elem.  Room 34
    ROY005 Midland Elem.   Library
    ROY006 Midland Elem.   Room 118
    ROY007 Rocky Mt. Jr High  Room 144
    ROY015 Roy Elem.  Room 35
    ROY016 Roy Jr. High
    ROY017 Roy Jr. High
    ROY018 Roy Jr. High
    ROY019 Municipal Elem. Gym
    WCR001 Roy Elem. Room 36
    WCW001 West Weber Elementary  Library
    WHV001 Rocky Mt. Jr High Choir
     

    Every two years you have the freedom to make your voice heard. The neighborhood caucus elections serve as an important opportunity to meet with your neighbors to discuss important issues related to our state and nation. You will be able to express your opinion on these issues and play an integral role in choosing our candidates for elected office.

    Click here to find your Neighborhood Caucus Elections and to Pre-Register

    Click here to see who is running to represent you in the Neighborhood Caucus Elections

    Click here to verify your voter registration 

    Watch the Utah Republican Party’s Caucus Commercial Here: