Category Archives: Staff Report
ULCT’s Lincoln Shurtz and Cameron Diehl spent most of October serving with the University of Utah’s Moran Eye Center at the Himalayan Cataract Project in Phaplu, Nepal. The Moran Eye Center surgeons regularly travel to the developing world to perform cataract surgeries. Moran’s Dr. Geoffrey Tabin co-founded the Himalayan Cataract Project which partners with the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology and the local doctors and nurses in the Phaplu Clinic to conduct an annual Eye Camp. Lincoln and Cameron helped serve over 1000 Nepalese ranging from ages 18 months to 95 years. The doctors, Dr. Geoffrey Tabin and Dr. Alan Crandall, performed 90 cataract surgeries, including on people who had been blind for decades. People walked for up to 3 days to attend the clinic, and some people even carried their elderly relatives on their backs so that they could receive treatment. One lady had been blind in both eyes for 46 years. After a 20 minute surgery, she could see. What a miraculous, humbling, & inspiring experience. (see pictures below) We appreciate the Moran Eye Center for extending the opportunity and will cherish our memories.
During their time abroad, Cameron and Lincoln also observed municipal government and noticed which municipal services were lacking. Check the blog in the days ahead for examples of municipal services in Nepal (or lack thereof) and thus gain a greater appreciation for how Utah cities truly make life better. For today, enjoy the pics from the Eye Camp!
By now, we hope that your city has evaluated the environmental conditions within your city and taken appropriate steps to inform the public about your city’s restrictions (if any). ULCT met with Governor Herbert on Thursday afternoon and again yesterday afternoon (Monday) to discuss the legality of municipal restrictions. The Governor seems comfortable with most of the actions taken by municipalities to date. We don’t expect a special session on fireworks but the Governor is willing in January to reevaluate the existing statutes and clarify city authority over fireworks. Please let ULCT know if you need additional assistance on fireworks either for this week or for the Pioneer Day time period.
Additionally, ULCT met on Monday afternoon with shooting sports representatives, legislators, the state forester and his attorneys, and the governor to discuss potential restrictions on firearms discharge due to the hazardous environmental conditions. Cities already have the authority to restrict firearms discharge within city limits. Meanwhile the governor, the state forester, and state attorneys believe that current law grants authority to the state forester to temporarily limit firearms discharge in certain areas. In order to implement a temporary restriction, the area’s environmental conditions must meet certain hazardous standards including low humidity, high temperatures, high winds, and lack of moisture. Likewise, state law currently empowers the state forester to restrict certain types of ammunition and targets that are scientifically proven to cause sparks and potentially cause fires in the dry conditions. The entire group was supportive of the state forester’s efforts to educate residents on what types of ammunition and targets to use as well as enforcing illegal discharges. The group also approved of the state forester taking necessary and limited steps to restrict firearm discharge in unincorporated counties in targeted areas per the standards listed above. As with fireworks, we do not expect a special session to address potential firearm discharge restrictions.
FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING:
Last Wednesday night (June 27), House and Senate conferees signed off on a two-year transportation authorization bill, which would fund federal surface transportation programs at current levels through September 2014. Senator Hatch and Congressman Bishop were both on the conference committee and were instrumental in including policies in the bill that are favorable to Utah and to local government. The previous surface transportation bill was set to expire on Saturday, June 30. On Friday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 373 to 52 and the U.S. Senate voted 74 to 19 to approve the bill. Utah’s Representatives voted in favor of the bill (HR 4348). The transportation bill also includes an agreement on interest rates for student loans and the National Flood Insurance Program.
The final transportation authorization bill includes key provisions for local governments:
- An off-system bridge set-aside for local bridges not on a federal-aid system
- Maintains the threshold for Metropolitan Planning Organizations at the current level of 50,000 in population and provides new authority in rural regions in the planning process
- Replaces the current Transportation Enhancement, Safe Routes to Schools, and Recreational Trails programs into one new Transportation Alternatives Program; cuts total funding by 34%, and makes MPOs responsible for administering half of the new program
- Makes changes to project delivery, increasing the threshold for “categorical exemptions” and defines certain activities as categorical exclusions under NEPA
- Creates a streamlined approval process to accelerate project delivery for transit
- Funds transit at $10.584 billion in FY 2013 and $10.701 in FY 2014
Please let ULCT know if you have any questions about any of the 3Fs. Have a Happy and safe 4th of July!
The 2012 Utah Legislative Session has officially begun and the fast-paced run toward the finish line is well under way. This week the ULCT successfully sponsored another Local Official’s Day on Capitol Hill event with over 950 people in attendance for our luncheon speaker and renowned business expert, Clayton Christensen.
This week also ushered in many of the bills we have been working on during the interim period, with several of our proactive land-use bills already being scheduled and heard in committee. The compromise transfer of development rights bill (SB115), compromise historic districts bill (SB118) and our development standards bill (HB273) have all had their first committee hearing and are on the reading calendar for full consideration.
Each bill has been modified to address the concerns of the ULCT… Read More
In our effort to better prepare you for the session we figured we would spend much of our energy for this week’s legislative update discussing significant dates and key resources that can be used by you during the upcoming session to better track the ULCT and our efforts as well as the legislature generally.
So, while brief, here is the outline of meeting dates and times for your review. We will be providing daily updates and bill status/tracking sheets for you each day. Please use our website or email distribution list to keep up to date on all of our musings.
Significant 2012 Legislative Dates
– Jan 23rd: Opening Day of Legislative Session
– Jan 25th: ULCT Local Officials’ Day on Capitol Hill (7 am – 2 pm)
– Jan 30th: ULCT Legislative Policy Meeting (Room W30 — Noon)
– February 6th: ULCT Legislative Policy Meeting (Room W30 — Noon)
– February 13th: ULCT Legislative Policy Meeting (Room W30 — Noon)
– February 20th: NO MEETING (PRESIDENT’S DAY)
– February 27th: ULCT Legislative Policy Meeting (Room W30 — Noon)
– March 5th: ULCT Legislative Policy Meeting (Room W30 — Noon)
– March 8th: Last Day of the Session
– March 28th: Last Day for Governor to Sign or Veto Bills
– ULCT Bill Tracking Service: www.ulct.org or via email distribution
– Municipal Bill Committee Schedules: ULCT email distribution
– Utah Legislative Website: www.le.utah.gov
– 2012 Utah Bill search page: http://le.utah.gov/~2012/2012.htm
– Utah State Code: http://le.utah.gov/Documents/code_const.htm