2017 Legislative Forum

The 2017 Legislative Forum by the AAUW and League of Women Voters drew more than 100 guests. The four legislators attending answered many questions that were both pointed and topical. Following is a list of questions, some of which we ran out of time to pose. 

FEDERAL LANDS:

  • The two senators who co-chair the committee exploring the proposed takeover of federal lands have refused to share the Duvalier law firm’s report with Democrats on the committee. Since the taxpayers paid for this report, why is it not made public?

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS

  • What will the Legislature do to assist Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City with the housing/homeless crisis?
  • Salt Lake officials announced sites for four new homeless shelters under the leadership of Mayor Jackie Biskupski. The site locations are controversial. What are your thoughts? What’s the role you are currently playing on behalf of who you represent?
  • I‘m concerned about how the Legislature will respond to the challenges Salt Lake City and County face in regard to homelessness. Can you talk about that?
  • As population in the Salt Lake area increases, what are your thoughts about how to provide affordable housing and address pollution issues?

 CLIMATE:

  • How can we support a climate change resolution in the Legislature?

 CLEAN AIR/ENVIRONMENT

  • My son and his girlfriend have been students in Seattle for three years. When they visited here over the holidays, we talked about whether they might move to Salt Lake when they finish school. They said they love it here, but probably don’t want to live their lives in a place with such bad air. My point: There needs to be a long-term plan. Please talk about this.

 GUNS:

  • Why can people bring guns into classrooms but not to the University of Utah football games?
  • Will Utah outlaw open gun sales/markets especially assault weapons – AK7 – or any multiple-bullet weapon?
  • Can we talk about reducing gun violence?
  • What if any justification can there be for “permitless carry” and what is the chance that Gov. Herbert will maintain his 2013 position on this?

DABC

  • Any thoughts on letting go of the DABC and letting it be privatized?

 MEDICAL MARIUANA

  • What is the outlook for legalizing medical marijuana?
  • Rep. Froerer – are you sponsoring any legislation on cannabis (derivative of marijuana)?
  • What is your position on medical marijuana?

HEALTHCARE/ACA/Planned Parenthood

  • Is there any hope for Medicaid expansion with the anticipated repeal of the Affordable Care Act?
  • What are the reasons for abolishing Obamacare rather than fixing it? Just political rather than throwing or healthcare system into chaos?
  • What is the future of health care for everyone in Utah?
  • What are you willing to do to support women’s health issues?
  • Will funding for Planned Parenthood be continued? If not, is it politics or science?
  • Is there some other reason than just politics to vote for defunding Planned Parenthood? Scientific (the report stated the agency had done nothing wrong.)

 EDUCATION

  • Your thoughts on “Our Schools Now? movement. Is compromise a possibility?
  • Is there hope for an increase in education enough to keep teachers?
  • Can somebody please justify the billions of dollars in the SITLA fund that are not funding our schools? Why does the governor use funds to sue the federal government instead of putting money into schools?

 GAS:

  • Could the gas, coal and other extractive industries be required to pay higher fees, which would be designated to education?

REDISTRICTING

  • Some states have decided to put redistricting in the hands of an independent commission. Arizona has done this. In order to ensure more confidence that there is not partisan districting or the appearance thereof, is there legislative support for this?

PROPERTY RIGHTS

  • Can you explain the disconnect between private property rights and historic preservation?

PUBLIC DEFENSE

  • Will you be willing to fund public defense for rural communities?

LEGISLATURE

  • What do you believe will be the hot topics this year in the Legislature?
  • How much money is in the state’s rainy day fund?
  • Do you consider your primary responsibility to represent your constituency or your party?

WOMEN

  • With your re-election this year, what are some projects or initiatives that highlight women empowerment and progress in Utah?

 DIRECT ELECTION

  • Direct election of U.S. senators – 17th Amendment – why did one senator vote to repeal the direct election and two of voted against?

 WOLVES

  • How can you justify the money the state gives to Don Peay to keep out wolves when there are so many more needs such as education and healthcare?