The County Clerk has posted times and locations for early voting.
Yesterday President Obama created a new national monument in Utah. This reckless decision to tie up land larger than Rhode Island is a travesty. This is an abuse of the Antiquities Act and Executive over-reach, and I agree with the sentiments of the Speaker and the Commission for the Stewardship of Federal Lands.
Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands Statement about Bears Ears National Monument Designation
Salt Lake City Today, the Obama Administration used the Antiquities Act to declare Bears Ears area a national monument. Chairs and members of the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands, Rep. Keven Stratton – Chair, Sen. David Hinkins – Chair, Rep. Mel Brown, Rep. Ken Ivory and Rep. Mike Noel, issued the following statement regarding the monument designation:
“Like the unilateral tyranny exercised by the King of England against the American colonies two and a half centuries ago, our President has exercised an unconstitutional unilateral exercise of the Executive power to establish a monument greater in size than a number of the original thirteen states. Our children are the biggest losers and our Federal Executive Branch is well aware that this designation goes against the voice of the American Citizens living within the boarders of the State of Utah and an overwhelming super majority of those elected to represent them. This Bears Ears designation will not survive a constitutional review by our Judicial Branch and we pledge to take and support every lawful action available under the rule of law to overturn this act of repulsive political cronyism.”
Speaker Greg Hughes Statement about Bears Ears National Monument Designation
Salt Lake City Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes issued the following statement regarding the Obama Administration using the Antiquities Act to declare 1.35 million acres of the Bears Ears area a national monument:
“We are truly disappointed that President Obama today chose to use the Antiquities Act to unilaterally declare a 1.35-million-acre Monument in Utah. The Antiquities Act, created by Teddy Roosevelt, was never intended to be used in this way and only the smallest area necessary for the purpose of protecting significant archaeological or historical sites is allowed. Not only is that clearly not the case here, but this administration has had no real conversations with those who will be affected by this designation, let alone any study of what “antiquities” they are attempting to protect.
Adding to a long list of executive actions that threaten the sovereignty of the states and the citizens of this nation to chart their own course, our president has chosen to once again subvert the will of the people. Earlier this month, nearly all elected officials who represent the area, from local to federal, assembled at the Utah State Capitol to plead with President Obama to resist the temptation to grant these types of political favors. This action betrays the interests of Utahns, stands in the way of better stewardship of the land we all love and cherish and ultimately amounts to a blatant federal land grab.
Our democratic republic is designed to be most effective and accountable when major decisions are made closest to the people but President Obama has chosen to circumvent all democratic processes and lock up nearly one and a half million acres of land from use based solely on ideological principles.
Nearly 70 percent of Utah is under federal management and control and 90 percent of our population lives on just 1 percent of our ground. Nothing about this is even remotely reasonable, and that is why we in the Utah Legislature have been pushing back for decades. This designation makes that effort even more important and we will do everything within our power to seek to overturn this action once President Obama leaves office next month.”
The Legislature is off to a great start as members of both the House of Representatives and Senate have rolled up their sleeves and gotten to work. In fact, with a full reading calendar meant for two days worth of work, the House was able to adjourn early after getting through every one of the bills posted.
These bills were debated, voted on and passed out of interim committees since the end of the last Legislative Session, and rather than adding to current code, many were repealing language that was confusing or unclear in the law. Every one of the bills considered and passed today came out of an interim committee with unanimous, bipartisan support and no fiscal note.
We accomplished many major reforms during the 2015 General Session and the work that our interim committees did over the past year has allowed us to start off with a momentum that should lead to another successful session. Click here to watch the full video.
I want to hear from you on this issue. Please read through this information and e-mail me back your thoughts on a sales tax on internet purchases.
A proposal gaining support in many states across the country is a law requiring the collection of sales tax by the merchant, at the specific tax rate where the buyer lives, for all purchases on the internet or by mail order. Marketplace fairness legislation has already passed in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington. Utah is among the states looking at options to reclaim the lost revenue that currently is required to be paid by the consumer, but seldom is.
Justice Kennedy has said that a previous Supreme Court decision, in Quill Corp v. North Dakota, “ . . . now harms states to a degree far greater than could have been anticipated earlier,” finding that Congress needed to act to allow state collection of the sales and use tax. Congress has failed to act, in which case it is incumbent on states, as sovereign entities, to exercise their constitutional right to act.
Under current law, sales and use tax is already required on all sales but if a Utah resident doesn’t pay the tax at the time of purchase, it must be remitted when filing their Utah income tax return. Unfortunately, few people actually do this, leading to an estimated $190 million uncollected this year. Art Laffer has estimated that Marketplace Fairness legislation would lead to the creation of 16,961 new jobs in the state and an increased state GDP of $5.2 billion by 2022.
Unless we address this issue, we can expect to see problems in adequately supporting our public universities and transportation needs, as both are partially funded through the sales tax.
Right now, over 2,700 businesses in more than 4,300 taxing jurisdictions are using free software that allows them to collect those taxes and dozens of software and web applications exist to easily, quickly and affordably calculate, collect and remit the sales tax for these online purchases.
Rep. Mike McKell will be running Marketplace Fairness legislation this year that allows the state to require online retailers who do business in Utah to comply with our tax law. It will require the State of Utah to reduce the state sales tax rate when the collection of remote sales tax begins, which will lead to revenue neutrality. The Utah Taxpayers Association has publicly declared support for a Utah solution that is revenue neutral.
This legislation will allow both businesses and consumers to more easily comply with existing law, it will extend a tax break to all — even those buying locally — and it will treat all businesses, consumers and transactions equally.
Utah House of Representatives welcomed Congressman Chris Stewart and Congressman Rob Bishop. Congressman Stewart discussed three issues the United States faces: economic growth, national debt and national security. Click here to watch his remarks, it starts at 13 minutes. Congressman Bishop and former Utah Speaker of the House discussed public lands and military during his visit to the House. Click here to watch his remarks, it starts at 42 minutes.
The Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands announced key findings from a comprehensive legal analysis performed by legal scholars and practicing attorneys from across the country. These experts conducted a rigorous objective legal analysis to determine if there are legitimate legal precedents and historical principles for the State of Utah to challenge the federal government’s permanent ownership of the majority of the land within the State. The conclusion of the legal analysis is that compelling legal basis does exist for the State of Utah to challenge federal ownership of public lands in the state. The findings identify three primary legal theories as having merit:
1. The Equal Sovereignty Principle, which mandates that the States in the U.S. Federal system be equal in sovereignty with one another.
2. The closely related Equal Footing Doctrine, which requires that States admitted to the U.S. subsequent to the 13 original colonies should receive all sovereign rights enjoyed by previously existing states in the U.S., including the right to control land within their borders.3. The Compact Theory, which posits that Utah’s acceptance of admission into the U.S. entailed explicit and implicit promises that the federal government would “timely dispose” of public lands in Utah’s borders, as it had done with the states admitted prior to Utah.
I serve on the following committees in the Legislature:
It is a pleasure to serve you in the Legislature. Please let me know which issues are important to you.
Representative Kay Christofferson
Utah House of Representatives | District 56
This last week the House of Representatives voted on HB 96 – “Utah School Readiness Initiative”
It was a bill that attracted a lot of attention. I received close to 300 emails, for and against this bill. I also spoke with many people about the details of the bill and the pros and cons. We debated the bill on the House floor for over an hour and amended it to improve the language. The vote was 49 for and 24 against with 2 who did not vote. As I read and studied the bill the following points stood out to me:
I understand that there are risks in any program. Some of you mentioned that it is similar to the Head Start Program and why do we need another program? I look at it as less expensive to the State because if the students don’t improve their performance, as expected, the provider of the program doesn’t get paid. I’m sure there may be some adjustments as the program develops.
HB 96 has been passed by the House but still has to be vetted by the Senate. If there are concerns with areas of the bill it can still be amended before being voted on. Please let me know if you can recommend other changes to the bill that would improve it. I am more than happy to pass information on to the Senate as they vet the bill. Also, please let Senators Madsen and Valentine know your thoughts.
H.B. 275 – Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day
Vietnam War Veterans being honored in the Utah House of Representatives Gallery.
This week the Utah House passed a bill that designates March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day. Representative Oda sponsored the bill in an effort to honor those that served in the Vietnam War by creating a day in which all Utahns could show their gratitude for the Veterans’ sacrifice.
Be sure to contact me with any questions comments, or concerns. Your feedback and participation is always welcome.
Representative Kay Christofferson
Utah House of Representatives | District 56