February, 2016

Dear Friends:

We have completed almost two weeks of the 2016 General Session. For some reason, it feels like the last weeks of the 2015 session! It was reported that we have a record number of bills being drafted--1197 to date. This is not necessarily a good thing!
I have heard from many of you. Although I have always been committed to responding to every email and call, it can be challenging due to the high volume and because of our meeting and floor schedules, as well as the time spent reading and preparing legislation. It would assist me if you could provide the following information:
  • Your full name, home address and telephone number
  • The bill number and title
  • Whether or not you need a response
  • If you are waiting to receive a response from me, your email may be accidentally lost or in junk mail etc. Please try again. 
The above will assist me in replying to you as quickly as possible through the most appropriate means. The session may be so hectic that I may not have the chance to respond to all emails. However, please know I will read and consider all emails.
I will spend the majority of my time during this session on the following committees:
         Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment (standing)
         Economic Development and Work Force Services (standing)
         Public Education Appropriations
         Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations
         Senate Ethics Committee
One of the most important tools is the legislative website . You will be able to track legislation, livestream committee meetings, etc. It is an amazing tool. 
In our first week, we have seen many important and impactful bills including SB 80 (Infrastructure  Funding Amendments) sponsored by Senator Stuart Adams. This bill provides the funding mechanism for various water infrastructure, but primarily to fund the controversial Lake Powell and Bear River pipelines. (See the Deseret News article, and my previous newsletter), See the Performance Audit of Projections of Utah's Water Needs, which provides a number of ways to conserve our precious water. I have received hundreds of emails from constituents opposing these water projects.

I am sponsoring legislation for an independent Redistricting Advisory Commission (SB 81), which passed through the Rules Committee to the Government Operations standing committee and is awaiting being placed on the agenda. I believe it is an important piece of legislation. The public perception that maps are drawn behind closed doors and that it is an insider game, is pervasive. Look at the recent poll which was in the Salt Lake Tribune. Government works best when the voters select their representatives, not the other way around. This is not a partisan issue. My bill creates an independent advisory redistricting commission. SB 81 is fashioned after an ordinance passed in a bipartisan manner while I was on the Salt Lake County Council.  
Another bill to note is SB49, Statute of Limitations on Environmental Code Violations, sponsored by Senator Luz Escamilla. The bill would have extended the statute of limitations on environmental violations from one year to five, giving the Department of Environmental Quality more time and opportunity to seek action against environmental offenders. Because of the lack of votes for a five year or three year solution, I moved to amend the Statute of Limitations from one year to two years. The motion passed and will be heard on the Senate floor shortly (see this article from the Salt Lake Tribune).

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, we adopted on the senate floor a concurrent resolution honoring the efforts of retired Marine Corps sergeants and multiple Purple Heart recipients John Cole and Jay Wells who have helped Korean War veterans receive the "Ambassador for Peace Medal" from the South Korean government. I sponsored this resolution (with all members of the Senate, co-sponsoring) in concurrence with the Office of the Governor to acknowledge and recognize all Utah combat veterans of the Korean War, often described as "[T]he Forgotten War", for their sacrifice. Approximately 17,000 Utahns served in the Korean War. Since 2013, Cole's and Well's efforts have enabled about 1,000 Utahns to receive the Republic of South Korea's "Ambassador for Peace Medal." In addition to the honorees and other Purple Heart recipients and Korean War Veterans, Tuesday's session was attended by Gary R. Harter, Executive Director, Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, and Mike Mower, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor.

I truly enjoyed visiting with the many students presenting personal research during Research Day on the Hill.

(Pictured left: Molly Davis- University of Utah; Pictured right: Cedric Shaskey- University of Utah)

School Visit

Last week, House Minority Leader Brian King
and I met with engaged second graders
from Beacon Heights.

Officer Doug Barney 

Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to Officer Douglas Barney who was killed just blocks from our home. Officer Barney was a fixture of the Unified Police Department who survived two bouts with cancer before being shot during what appeared to be a routine traffic stop. I would like to offer our deepest condolences to his wife and children he leaves behind, and thank Holladay City, specifically Mayor Dahle, City Manager Randy Fitts and staff for their leadership and all they did to honor the lives of Officer Barney and Office Jon Richey. I also send our gratitude for the sacrifice of Officer Richey, who survived three gunshot wounds. We are grateful for all those who put their lives on the line for our safety. 

Officer Jon Richey


As always, I appreciate your input. Your voice is critical. If you would like to volunteer, PLEASE contact me, I can be reached at jiwamoto@le.utah.gov (legislative matters), iwamoto.jani@gmail.com (personal matters), by mail to 4760 S. Highland Drive, #427, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117, or by phone at (801)580-8414. Check out my website here, or you can interact with me on my Facebook!  
This Senate seat includes the following house districts: District 36 (Rep. Patrice Arent), District 37 (Rep. Carol Spackman Moss), District 40 (Rep. Lynn Hemingway- welcome back!), District 46 (Rep. Marie Poulson) and District 28 (Rep. Brian King). To see who your Representative is click here!
Jani Iwamoto
Senate District 4

To visit my website, click here. To visit my facebook page, click here.