February 2019
Dear Friends:
We have completed the second week of the 2019 Legislative Session. It has been hectic, but much has been accomplished. The first week, I had 9 bills go through committee, 8 unanimously. In week two I presented Senate Bill 134 (Campus Safety Amendments), which passed out of Senate committee unanimously. We are waiting for each bill passed in committee to be debated on the floor. Most of our floor time has been devoted to Senate Bill 96 (Medicaid Expansion Adjustments), the bill that is likely to replace the voter approved Proposition 3 - and pass with enough votes to be veto-proofed. I voted against this bill.
My Bills
Below are some of the bills that have successfully moved forward in the past two weeks:
Concurrent Resolution Recognizing Navajo Code Talkers  
Passed unanimously through both chambers and awaiting Governor's signature
SCR 2 - February 4th was Native American Caucus Day! I had the privilege of sponsoring a Concurrent Resolution, with our Legislature and Governor, which honors and recognizes the hard work and sacrifice of Navajo Code talkers. SCR2 was read on the Senate and House floors, where the President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez, Vice President of the Navajo Nation, Myron Lizer and several Navajo Nation Council Delegates were present.   
Joint Resolution Supporting the Study of Water Banking in Utah
Passed unanimously in the Senate, and House committee - heads to one last debate in the House
SJR1 - Requests recommendations on the development and creation of water banks which spawned from my 2017 instream flow bill. Since that time, I have been working with 55 water professionals to develop consensus-based legislation that now focuses on water banking which could encompass instream flows, split season leases and other concepts. The overriding principle has been to focus on agriculture and to minimize the need to convert agricultural water rights to supply growing and industrial needs. This effort parallels with some of the key recommendations from the Governor's 2017 State Recommended Water Strategy which identified Water Banking as a tool to address increased water demands and other pressing needs.  This resolution goes hand in hand with an Appropriation Request to fund pilot programs in Cache Valley, Provo River, and other areas in Utah. It also supports matching funds that could be used to secure federal WaterSMART grants, and serves as education for related legislation for the 2020 Legislative session.

Campus Safety Amendments
Passed unanimously in Senate Committee
SB134 - Drafts the provisions for campus safety plans, training requirements, and reporting requirements for institutions of higher education. This bill covers Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking (and other offenses covered under these umbrella categories defined in Federal law). My opening statement was inspired by those who have survived who wanted this to be a positive message of hope: " When we send our children to college, we want them to gain their independence, learn, get involved in activities and campus life, and build relationships that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, the unthinkable can happen and we need safeguards in place, so our children have a better chance at fulfilling those dreams." This was covered in other media outlets. 

Poll Hours for Early Voting
Passed unanimously in Senate committee
SB61 - Removes the poll hour closing requirement on the last day of early voting, to allow clerks the flexibility to have early polling locations open after 5 pm, as is available on other early voting days.
Campaign Finance Revisions
Passed unanimously in Senate committee
SB62 - Amends laws related to campaign finance and financial disclosures of candidates and officeholders. Allows for more consistency and understandability.
Utah Noxious Weed Act Amendments
Passed through the second reading calendar and moves to the 3rd reading calendar for final Senate debate
SB 65 - Amends the Noxious Weed Act regarding membership on county weed control boards. A county weed control board is responsible for the formulation and implementation of a county-wide noxious weed program designed to prevent and control noxious weeds. This is NOT a marijuana bill!
Native American Remains Amendments
Passed Senate committee
SB81 - Amendments create definitions for "partner agency" and "tribal consultation" as well as providing certain expenditures to be reimbursed from the Native American Repatriation Restricted Account to help with the repatriation of Native American remains.

Navajo Code Talker Recognition
Passed unanimously in Senate committee
SB101 - Recognizes Navajo Code Talker Day every year and names SR 162, SR 163, and SR 191 in San Juan County as Navajo Code Talker Highway.
Crime Victims Restitution Amendments
Passed unanimously in Senate committee
SB88 - Amendments modify restitution criteria to include expenses for security measures put in place by a victim in response to a criminal offense. When a victim installs security measures because they feel vulnerable after a crime and the offender is either convicted or pleads guilty, the defendant should pay to help restore the victim's sense of security.
Conflict Disclosure Amendments
Passed unanimously in Senate committee
SB89 - Amends provisions relating to disclosures of potential conflicts of interest by state elected officials by requiring the Lieutenant Governor to establish a website to house conflict of interest information. Provides for increased understanding, ease and transparency to candidates and the public.
Motor Vehicle insurance Minimums
On Hold in Senate committee per my request
SB126 - Amends the motor vehicle insurance minimum coverage and clarifies that a "bodily injury" includes Loss of Consortium. Utah's threshold for the injured spouse is by far one of the most severe in the country.
Peace Officer Certification Amendments 
Waiting to be numbered
Lowers the age for correction officers in jails from 21 to 19. Many safeguards in place, as well as being a three-year pilot program. This will help alleviate the shortage of officers in our jails.
Retail Bag Reduction Bill
Next Year
I have introduced this bill twice in our legislature with the intent of reducing the number of single-use plastic bags and encouraging the use of reusable bags. There are hundreds of these bills across our Nation and the World. Many local municipalities are passing retail bag bills or are in the stages of doing so. I support their efforts and have been in contact with them. I have decided to hold this legislation and wait until next session. I will stay in contact with municipalities during the coming year. It is exciting to see change. Moab recently passed a plastic bag ban bill. Last week Logan presented the plastic bag ban bill with hundreds in support, attending. Logan City Council plans to make a decision on March 19. Good Luck, Logan City Council and sponsor Herm Olsen!!!
Medicaid Expansion
In November, Utahn's voted for Proposition 3 to expand Medicaid. This would fill the gap of individuals who go uninsured every year without Medicaid expansion. On the first day of the General Session, Senate Bill 96 was introduced. This bill proposes a cap on Medicaid enrollments and require a federal waiver which would significantly reduce the benefits of Medicaid expansion. I voted 'no' on this both in committee and twice on the Senate floor.

See committee votes here.
See second reading calendar vote here.
See third reading calendar vote here.
See voting calendars here to watch future votes live.

The first day of the session was marked by a rally for Medicaid expansion in the Capitol rotunda

Meeting with Constituents
Town Hall
I had the opportunity to meet with a number of my constituents at the town hall meeting at Holladay City Hall. We discussed things to expect in the upcoming session, including issues like air quality, the inland port, and Medicaid Expansion. I always learn some much and am uplifted by my constituents' engagement.

Meeting with Granite Education Association Teachers and Principals
One of the greatest honors is being with educators and listening to their concerns. They know what they are talking about and care deeply for their students!

Meeting with constituent Brandy Olsen
I loved meeting with constituent Brandy Olsen at her job at Sprouts - with Avery Pince Hyder of the advocacy organization Utah Development Disability Council, of which Brandy is a board member; Hillari Pendergast from Department of Workforce Services; and Marcelo Garcia, Brandy's job coach! Brandy loves her job and it's obvious that patrons love her!

Women's March 2019
2019 Women's March at the Utah State Capitol!

Utah Military Academy Intern
Cadet Haley Slater will be joining me every Friday through the session! She is a sophomore at the Utah Military Academy. Haley is the captain of her school's soccer team, was Miss Pioneer Valley's Outstanding Teen and will compete again at Miss Utah's Outstanding Teen pageant. Haley is excited to learn more about the law-making process.

Connect With Me
I have always been committed to responding to every email and call. However, 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 with your email, call or text: 
  • 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. 
These steps will assist me in replying to you as quickly as possible. I will do all I can to respond in a timely fashion even with the pressures of a general legislative session. I will read and consider every email.  My email address is:  jiwamoto@le.utah.gov. You can also contact me by phone but my phone tends to fill daily due to the volume of messages.
Please visit during the session. The Capitol itself, is abuzz with displays, activities and visitors. If you would like to show your support or opposition to any bill, you may testify during public comment at a committee hearing.  
I hope to provide you with informative updates regarding legislation I am sponsoring, as well as other pertinent legislation and activities during the upcoming Legislative Session. I appreciate your thoughts about pending legislation. Your input is invaluable and makes a difference. And as always, know that I realize the gravity and honor of representing our community. I will continue to work very hard for you, our district and our state. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the Utah State Senate. 
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. You can interact with me on my Facebook!  
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This Senate seat includes the following house districts: District 36 (Rep. Patrice Arent), District 37 (Rep. Carol Spackman Moss), District 40 (Rep. Stephanie Pitcher), District 46 (Rep. Marie Poulson) and District 28 (Rep. Brian King). To see who your Representative is click here!
Jani Iwamoto
Senate District 4

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