Rep. Keven Stratton - 2018 Legislative Survey
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Help me represent District 48 better at the Utah Legislature by sharing your opinions.
1- As a result of an escalating number of fires and noise problems resulting from fireworks, the Legislature is looking to make some changes to state law. The number of days fireworks could be discharged would be reduced and the fines for illegal discharge would be increased. Sellers would also be required to post maps indicated areas where fireworks are prohibited. Do you support such changes?
If no, why not?
2- Last year, Utah passed the nation’s strictest DUI law by reducing the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for driving to .05 percent. Some feel this standard is too harsh but would support the implementation of a two-tiered system, similar to what Colorado and NY have, where .05 to .08 is treated less harshly than higher BAC. What is your preference?
3- This past year, Congressman Chaffetz announced he would be stepping down from Congress mid-term, requiring a special election to replace him. Utah has no statutory provisions for holding a U.S. House of Representatives special election. Utah’s Legislature only meets in session 45 days per year and if issues arise outside of that period, they are unable to act without the governor choosing to call them into special session. Would you support a constitutional amendment giving the Legislature the power to call itself into special session in very specific and limited circumstances?
If no, why not?
4- Utah is facing a rapidly growing population with limited transportation options. There is currently a proposal in the works that would change the governance model of UTA, giving more oversight to the state in exchange for state money to fund expanded services. The 16-member UTA Board of Directors would be replaced with a three-member, full-time Transit Commission. Do you support a proposal that uses taxpayer funds to expand public transportation, while increasing state oversight and UTA accountability?
If no, why not?
Do you feel that local influence and accountability will be lost with this model?
Do you support expanded transit solutions?
If no, why not?
With the passage and implementation of federal tax reform, Utah could receive an additional $75-$150 million in new revenue. If the state does receive new revenue, what would be your top priority?
Every winter along the Wasatch Front, we experience inversions where cold air becomes trapped in the valley along with all of our pollutants. The state has been making great strides in reducing pollution, which in fact has seen steady declines over the last few decades, but the harmful effects of inversions are difficult to avoid. What do you think the state should do to mitigate this problem?
Utah’s suicide rate has been growing over 20% annually since 2011 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended changes that could be made to programs used in Utah schools. Which of the following do you support?
Societal consumption patterns that have shifted from goods to services have had a negative impact on sales tax collections, which are declining relative to the economy as a whole. One proposal to offset these losses is for the state to not only tax goods, but to also tax services. Would you support such a proposal?
If no, why not?
The Trump administration has said that they will allow states to implement Medicaid expansion with work requirements for able-bodied, working-age adults and with cost caps to prevent massive budget overruns, things the Obama administration would not permit. Would you support Utah expanding Medicaid under Obamacare if the program has a work component and limits state liability?
If no, why not?
More and more states are passing “constitutional carry” laws, which allow for the legal carrying of firearms without a permit. Do you support constitutional carry in Utah?
If no, why not?
Many people have been led to believe that e-cigarettes are not harmful and are a good substitute for nicotine cigarettes. Recent scientific information has exposed myriad negative health impacts including lung-cell damage, impaired wound healing, chronic bronchitis and exposure to cancer-causing substances. How do you believe the state ought to address this problem?
The Our Schools Now ballot initiative seeks to increase Utah sales tax by 9.5%, combined with an income tax increase of 9%, and is intended to generate over $700 million in additional revenue annually for education. If this were to pass, the average family of four in Utah would pay approximately $650 in additional taxes each year.The current language of the initiative states that new money raised may be used for any purpose “reasonably designed to improve student performance that is approved by the local board.” In 2013, the Utah Legislature increased public education spending by 2% to improve education, yet most of the money went to pay for teacher/administrator pensions and health care.Would you support the proposed Our Schools Now ballot initiative to increase state income taxes by 9% and sales taxes by 9.5% for education?
If no, why not?
If yes, would you support the establishment of requirements for how that money is spent (i.e. teacher pay, merit pay, technology) or would you support that money going directly to the districts to use how they prefer?
This year, a Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative will appear on the ballot. The fact is, medications in the U.S. undergo a rigorous process prior to approval in every other case, yet some would argue that marijuana shouldn’t be subject to the same scientific scrutiny as every other pharmaceutical. Additionally, in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, recreational legalization soon follows. Do you support legalization of medical marijuana in Utah?
If no, why not?
In December, President Donald Trump came to Utah and announced reductions to both the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments. Both were created unilaterally by Democrat presidents through the authority of the Antiquities Act, which states that monuments are to encompass “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” The combined size of these two monuments was previously 3.3 million acres, which was reduced to approximately 1.2 million acres combined. Do you support these monument reductions, which will allow for more diverse use of the land while still protecting sacred sites and antiquities?
If no, why not?
After the creation of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in 1950, it was agreed that the state would no longer be subject to the Antiquities Act. This means that designations of protected places in that state need to be done through a process of study, public input and legislation, as opposed to presidential fiat. The Antiquities Act was created to protect antiquities in imminent danger but has been abused, especially in recent years, and has been used designate large swathes of land, with or without any antiquities, and often in opposition to the desires of the people of the area. In a state that is already home to 45 state parks and five national parks, would you support an effort to exempt Utah from the Antiquities Act?
If no, why not?
Utah has been hit especially hard by what has been called the most devastating drug epidemic in our nation’s history. Every week, six Utahns are lost to opioid overdose and four of every five heroin users started with prescription opioids. For years, manufacturers have misrepresented the risk to medical professionals and consumers, and distributors have repeatedly been found to have failed to follow federal law in the distribution of these dangerous substances. Do you support the state filing a lawsuit against manufacturers and/or distributors who have failed to disclose important information or failed to follow the law with regard to opioid prescriptions and use?
If no, why not?
Utah could choose to join a multi-state lawsuit against opioid-related companies which will likely lead to a settlement. This path would allow the state to collect money more quickly, but would most likely not allow for discovery that could help guide necessary changes in future behavior at those companies that intentionally placed profit over people. Another option would be to file a lawsuit on our own. This avenue would take longer, but would provide a greater chance of the state not only receiving a higher award, but uncovering information through discovery that could lead to important changes at those companies going forward.
Last summer, Operation Rio Grande began. The operation included three phases: 1. Public Safety and Restoring Order, 2. Assessment and Treatment and 3. Dignity of Work. As a result, workers and visitors in the area now feel much safer, as do those down on their luck and seeking services. Those ready for work are being given opportunities, those in need of mental health and substance abuse counseling are being put into programs and those who want to deal drugs and commit other crimes are being arrested and held accountable for their choices. Do you support the work being done by the state, county and city to focus on providing targeted services and cleaning up the Rio Grande area?
What are YOUR priorities for Utah? What is right and what needs changing in our state government? Please take a minute and let me know what is on your mind.
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