Legislature Week 1

davidwicaiBlog

The first week of the Legislature, thankfully, had very little excitement.

Legislators opened Tuesday under a state of emergency because of possible threats from extremist groups, which meant the Capitol remained closed to the public throughout the first week.

Despite the strange opening — in an obviously already strange year becausde of the pandemic — legislators were able to focus on the typical first-week items. Specifically, that meant bills previously discussed during interim meetings and budget presentations from state agencies.

For our department, the biggest news was the confirmation by senators for Jill Love to continue as executive director under Gov. Spencer Cox. The confirmation is required for every appointee of Cox, regardless of whether they had already been previously confirmed.

During her statement to the confirmation committee, Jill highlighted the department’s work on funding for the cultural sector, outreach to multicultural communities, educational programs, and efforts to protect the state-owned historic artifacts and art.

No senators opposed the confirmation, and in fact, multiple senators on the committee took time to praise Jill and the department as a whole. You can listen to the full confirmation hearing on the legislative website.

As for legislation, a couple of smaller bills that are important to the department did begin moving.

A bill authorizing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force for a second year passed the House Thursday and is expected to pass the Senate this week. This is a very important issue for American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

Another task force that is looking likely will design a new state flag. That bill passed a House committee Friday and will now move to the full House.

This week, the department will make its budget presentation on Tuesday to the Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee. The meeting will be streamed.