Other Topics of Focus:
Transportation funding is becoming a bigger and bigger issue.
Here is an article that articulates how the federal transportation funds are focusing such urgency to the problem. http://www.sltrib.com/home/2206162-155/story.html The state director of our Department of Transportation, Carlos Braceras, testified before Congress this week about the need for a reliable long-term federal transportation plan and explaining our Unified Transportation Plan (which is quickly becoming a national model.) Because the federal government is becoming more and more unreliable in what they will fund, we need to prepare for our future transportation needs--which are outpacing our current funding sources. There are currently several proposals that would increase funding in different ways.
Religious liberties and justice are among the most discussed topics this session. In one sense, that may be particularly fitting for this year. 2015, marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, a document believed by many to be one of the earliest and most fundamental assurances of religious liberty, freedom and the limits of the rule of law. SJR 17 is a resolution, sponsored by Senator Howard Stephenson and co-sponsored by all 28 senators, that recognizes the anniversary of this important document.
Here are Senator Stephenson's thoughts on the Magna Carta:http://www.senatesite.com/home/magna-carta/
And here is a link to the resolution:http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/SJR017.html
Senator Madsen is proposing a bill that would make medical use of marijuana legal in the state. Some believe that legalizing the drug is bad public policy and others believe it will be very helpful in treating various medical conditions. I am interested in your thoughts.
Here is an article pointing out some of the problems with the idea:
Here is an article supporting the issue http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/pot-for-pain/Content?oid=2722718&showFullText=true
Here are a radio and a video segment of the senator and others explaining the issue. http://www.senatesite.com/home/madsen-marijuana/#more-12066
The Prison Relocation Commission met on Friday afternoon. There are now five approved sites to be officially considered. Through the past year, 45 sites were considered and now these final sites will continue to be evaluated in terms of things like ground issues, wetlands and utilities access. Ultimately, the decision will come down to cost effectiveness with the overall goal being to keep the facility away from the population and make it conducive to the topography of the land. The final decision is expected to be made by early summer.
Here are links to the reports and recommendations reviewed in the meetings: http://le.utah.gov/interim/2015/pdf/00001922.pdf
And here is some interesting information on what prison facilities have looked like historically and what our new facility might look like:http://le.utah.gov/interim/2015/pdf/00001934.pdf
I don't know if you have been watching the issue of whether the FCC should control the speed of (and therefore implicit access to) the Internet, but it looks as though the decision has been made. Here is a New York Times article with a video that explains what will happen.
And here is a link to the fact sheet released from the FCC:http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0204/DOC-331869A1.pdf