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South Valley Riverton Journal

Riverton’s state representation reflects on 2022 legislative session

Aug 03, 2022 08:50PM ● By Michael J. Jewkes

By Michael J. Jewkes | [email protected]

This year’s state legislative session came with countless issues and bills. Many of which are just now going into effect.

In Utah’s state legislature, the residents of Riverton are represented by three people. Sen. Dan McCay represents all of Riverton on the State Senate, while Rep. Mark Strong and Candice Pierucci represent House District 41 and 52, respectively.

Of the Senate’s 29 district seats, 23 of them are held by Republicans, leaving only six to Democratic senators. Riverton’s representatives fall into a supermajority, making conservative legislation relatively easy to pass. Many of the 2022 legislative session’s most notable laws were sponsored, supported and opposed by Riverton’s state legislators.

McCay sponsored a number of bills, including SJR 3, which, together with Pierucci, terminated January’s county mask mandates in Salt Lake and Summit counties, as well as HB 313, which adds extensive security amendments for elections in the state.

McCay also opposed a number of popular bills. HB 428, for example, adds required training for school administrators on rights and prohibited acts under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. The bill also requires school staff to adopt a plan of anti-harassment and discrimination-free learning in schools.

The bill passed 19-10 in the Senate and 65-9-1 in the House.

SB 238, a Homeless Service bill that appropriates federal money, including from the American Rescue Plan, for affordable housing projects for many low-income residents, was also opposed by McCay. The bill passed 63-7-5 in the House and would go on to pass 25-1-3 in the Senate’s final motion. McCay was the only senator to vote “Nay.”

McCay did not agree to interview with the City Journals.

As for Riverton’s representatives in the House, both Strong and Pierucci sponsored several successful bills.

One of Pierucci’s most popular bills this legislative session was HB 341, a bill that limits the forms and paperwork required in hospitals for parents with newborns. The bill also limits the amount of information required of parents following the birth of a child. Furthermore, the bill aims to lower added fees for birth certificates.

The bill text reads, "the office shall submit a report…providing several options on how the office can eliminate or significantly reduce birth certificate fees."

The bill passed without any opposing votes in both the House and the Senate.

Pierucci also sponsored HB 90, a bill amending the policies and procedures for foreign entities that engage in lobbying efforts at the state level.

“There’s a loophole,” Pierucci told the City Journals. Foreign entities, including governments, can lobby for policies in state legislatures like Utah’s, and yet “…don’t have to register as lobbyists,” Pierucci added. These foreign entities can therefore avoid many regulations that registered lobbyists must follow.

The bill includes the provision that "an individual is required to register as a foreign agent…before engaging in lobbying on behalf of a foreign government."

The bill was signed into law following unanimous votes in both the House and the Senate.

Among the passed legislation, Pierucci also opposed a number of bills including SB 188, an energy efficiency bill that would allot the state of Utah to receive federal money for funding several energy efficient infrastructure projects. Alongside Strong, Pierucci voted “nay” to the energy efficiency bill.

The bill text states, "The department may accept federal money, including from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act."

“It comes with federal strings attached,” Pierucci said, regarding the proposed law. The bill includes multiple sections of dictation on specific federal grant spending options, excluding alternatives not included in the bill text. While the bill mentions possible grant recipient options like "installation of energy-efficient building envelope improvements at a dwelling" and "grant[s] for the cost of a new clean vehicle," the bill offers nothing regarding larger infrastructure projects involving commercial structures or specific clean energy options like wind or solar power.

SB 188 passed 49-24-2 in the House and 20-3-6 in the Senate.

Strong only sponsored five bills this legislative session; however, all but one were signed into law.

Most notably, Strong sponsored HB 182, which excludes state facilities and the Capitol Hill complex from the authority and jurisdiction of a local health department regarding constraints like face coverings. The proposed law also drastically limits the authority of the head of local health departments and mayors of cities and counties during future epidemics.

More specifically, the bill hinders the ability of mayors to "declare by proclamation a state of emergency in response to an epidemic or pandemic," the bill text reads.

Additionally, HB 182 removes the traditional mayoral veto power when a legislative body votes in favor of terminating a state of emergency.

The bill passed and faced little resistance with 47-19-9 in the House and 22-4-3 in the Senate.

Strong likewise did not agree to an interview with the City Journals.

All three Riverton legislators are up for reelection this November. Each has advanced past convention as well as the Republican Primaries. McCay will be running for the Senate’s 18th district seat against Democrat Catherine Voutaz and Jed Nordfelt of the United Utah Party.

Strong will be running for House District 47 against David Lundgren of the United Utah Party, and Pierucci will be running for House District 49 against Democrat Mike Pomeroy.

Riverton’s state representatives and senator will seek to defend their seats this November in the general elections.