Mar 29 2019
During the Senate’s state work period last week, I was able to visit 7 of Utah’s 29 counties. Listening to the diverse perspectives found in our great state helps me to better represent the people of Utah in the US Senate.
Here’s a recap of some of my visits.
Meeting with Carbon County Leaders
We had a great discussion in Helper with various city, county, community, and business leaders. We discussed a number of issues facing the people of Carbon County, including the opioid crisis and its impact on the community, the future of coal mining in the area, and economic development.
For some great talks and resources on solutions to the opioid crisis, visit utahsolutionssummit.com, which has full video from my 5th annual Utah Solutions Summit.
Castle Dale Town Hall
One of the concerns brought up was the Emery Lands Bill which was recently passed as part of the Natural Resources Management Act. Many of those in attendance have serious concerns with the impact on Emery County, as do I.
While there was much good included in the bill, overall it moves federal lands policy in the wrong direction by failing to reform federal land acquisition programs and adding new restrictions to how Americans are allowed to use land already under federal control.
This bill created 1.3 million acres of wilderness area in the West, with half of it in Emery County. At first blush, wilderness designations sound like a good thing. And sometimes they are. But this highly restrictive designation limits far more activities than is necessary to actually protect the land. A wilderness designation prohibits almost all activity, including all commercial activity, all infrastructure development and any travel by car or bicycle. And in a place like Emery County, where the federal government owns about 92% of the land, these designations have big consequences.
Salina & Nephi Town Halls
I enjoyed visiting with the good people of from Sevier and Sanpete Counties at our Salina town hall meeting as well as the fine folks of Juab County at our Nephi town hall.
One of the questions asked was why I voted in favor of the resolution to terminate the emergency declaration.
I introduced the ARTICLE ONE Act earlier this month, a bill that would take back significant legislative powers given to the executive branch by the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Specifically, the bill would automatically end all future emergency declarations made pursuant to the NEA after 30 days unless Congress voted affirmatively to extend the emergency. Currently Congress can cancel an emergency declaration only by passing a resolution that can withstand a presidential veto.
Congress is supposed to be the first among the federal government’s three co-equal branches. For decades, Congress has been giving far too much legislative power to the executive branch. While there was attention on the issue I had hoped the ARTICLE ONE Act could begin to take that power back. Unfortunately, the bill did not have an immediate path forward, so I voted to terminate the latest emergency declaration. I hope this legislation will serve as a starting point for future work on this very important issue.
Employee Town Hall — Walker Edison
I had the opportunity to spend some time in Salt Lake City at the headquarters of one of Utah’s great success stories.
Walker Edison was founded 12 years ago by Brad Bonham and his father Scott. They have since grown it into an innovative e-commerce based furniture manufacturing giant that has been one of Utah’s fastest growing companies for several years running.
As part of the visit, I held a town hall with Walker Edison employees. They asked questions on a range of topics including immigration policy, working across the political divide, and Supreme Court nominations.
CRADLE Act Roundtable
It’s important to me to hear a wide range of viewpoints on issues I’m working on in Congress. As part of that effort, I hosted a roundtable discussion on a flexible and budget neutral parental leave bill I’ve introduced alongside Senator Joni Ernst known as the CRADLE Act.
The CRADLE Act would allow parents to receive one, two, or three months of paid leave by giving them the option to postpone activating their Social Security benefits. The plan provides every new mom and dad the flexibility to stay home with their newborns during the critical first months after birth, without creating another massive mandated government program or adding to our ever-growing deficit.
Additional ways to engage
My office is here to serve the people of Utah. If you have any comments or questions, please contact one of my offices. If you need help with an issue you’re having with a federal agency, please contact my Salt Lake City office and a member of my staff will assist you.
In addition, my staff holds mobile offices throughout the state of Utah. You can find more information as well as the schedule on my website.