Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Session Update

2011 Session Update
What is more important than the Budget?

The Bill HB0221S01 Classic Car Inspections
(allowing some collector 30 year cars to qualify as vintage cars)
Passed both Houses and will be considered by Governor Herbert to be signed in to law.

The other 4 bills I personally sponsored are now listed on the Master Study List for during the 2011 legislative interim sessions. Many other bills were amended with my help. As I committed to do, I was not afraid to speak up which helped some bills to pass and others to fail.

For a great blog about the open atmosphere Speaker Lockhart created and what someone else said about me see:

I am currently on the following committees:
Infrastructure & General Government Appropriations Subcommittee
Public Utilities & Technology House Standing Committee
Judiciary House Standing Committee

The most important bills were the budget bills. Again, for the best description of what passed see:

Several Immigration Bills passed. I voted for most of them with the exception of HB 116 which included a guest worker provision that is likely to be contested in court and I do not believe was helpful to solving the problem.

The Governor signed the HB477 Grama bill. We extended the start date to solve coordination concerns. The press had left the impression they have not been willing to even make suggested changes, just delays. Perhaps this will help.

People agree or don't. It is sad, however that both sides are not being told. The pendulum between records access and the ability to function is important. The amount of public transparency of bills, committees, at the state level is amazing. That is not proposed to change. When I can't get all 5 bills through Leg. Research in over a month, partly because of GRAMA requests, the pendulum has moved too far.

Please also read this:

Also, one of the best articles on why HB 477 is a good bill, from someone that has since changed his mind is at:

If I find that this moves the pendulum too far the other direction in one area, it will be moved back. What isn't being discussed is that we haven't finished fixing the open meetings laws to match technology.

When the law was created, some forms of communications were not specific in the statute. The courts have ruled them included without asking.

provide lots of info, including votes, comments during committees, proposed bills, etc.
I like this quote:

We're big fans of Mark Twain around here. So it is with some trepidation that we ignore some of his most popular advice which is to "never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel."

What is in question are text messages, voice mail, etc. Are they a record or a conversation? They fit a conversation better in my mind.

What if a text occurs and is read during an open meeting? How do we know?

There was a bill by Rep. Powell that would have banned some text messages during an open meeting. It was amended to not solve that yet. I think Texts, if allowed during an open meeting, could be available if related to the meeting. If we ban them, then they need to be allowed to be checked for compliance. Instead of dragging Text messages into GRAMA, we could cover some of them re: an Open Meeting. I expect that should be the conversation for this summer.

For those keeping track, there were 504 bills passed this year.

For more information see:
The main site:
See also:

Fred C. Cox
Rep. District 32