Clean-up crew in Salt Lake City

Legislature Week 3: Cleaning Up

davidwicaiBlog, Legislature

The third week of the legislative session slowed down for the department, primarily because all of the expected presentations have been completed. But the week still proved active.

Appropriations remain a focus for the department, and this past week proved notable for the proposed Artifacts & Arts Center. Although it wasn’t funded — nor was it expected to be funded — it was on the ranking list for the Infrastructure and General Government subcommittee. While it doesn’t mean much this year, it does illustrate the committee recognizes the necessity of a proper storage facility for the collections and is ready to give it serious consideration.

The most important bill for the department, HB224, passed a House committee and was even placed on the consent calendar. That basically guarantees the easy passage of this clean-up bill for the department.

Another important bill for the department, SB81, moved easily past the Senate. This bill amends the current rules for the burial of ancient human remains to allow for tribal consultations on possible state park lands for the burial sites. It passed the Senate unanimously and now moves to the House.

Other bills making progress this past week include SB25, which creates the State Records Management Committee with the director of State History serving as a member. It also removed the requirement that the director serve on the State Records Committee. That bill, which had already passed the Senate, was amended by the House before passing that body. It is up to the Senate to concur with the changes to pass it.

A few resolutions also moved forward, including a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike (passed a House committee) and a resolution honoring Navajo Code Talkers (passed the Senate).

Finally, of interest to many in the department, two bills that would seek to create a new state flag are currently held up in a House committee. It seems that the committee is leaning towards the bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Handy that would create a commission to design a new flag. The other bill already has a proposed design.

This week, the big news is going to be appropriations — specifically, the $6 million grants funding proposed by the Governor. The Business, Economic Development, and Labor subcommittee will prioritize their spending on Tuesday afternoon. As soon as details are available, they will be posted on the intranet.