February 2018

Dear Friends:

Only two weeks into the 2018 Legislative Session and it has been exhausting, exhilarating and exhausting! I have yet to complete a newsletter during session. The days and evenings are full, especially as we meet on the overall budget in Executive Appropriations Committee. Preparation for meetings and legislation, as well as emails and calls, extend the day into the wee hours. This long explanation is to let you know that I am working hard. Though intentions are good, I have not yet mastered how to provide regular newsletters - due to the time it takes and my inability to be succinct!

During the session, I serve on the following committees: Senate Rules Committee; Senate Education Committee; Senate Government Operations Committee; Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment Committee; Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands Committee; Legislative Management Committee; Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee; Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee; and Executive Appropriations Committee.

My Legislation

The sheer number of bills has been incredible and many bills are still being drafted in final form. Only two of my bills await final drafting, one dealing with retail bags and their specific impact on our 168 landfills and 2 recycling plants, and the other bill works toward making procedures fair and streamlined when a public employee goes through a grievance process.

I have a number of bills and appropriations requests on a wide range of issues. Virtually all legislation I am sponsoring this year has had some connection and/or input from our district.

This past week I had a number of bills pass through committees:

SB 57 - Police Service Animal Amendments
This bill is close to my heart. Millcreek suffered two canine police officer deaths. On April 27, 2016, Unified Police K9 Officer Aldo was shot and killed by a fugitive who had earlier tried to run down an officer with a car. He served alongside his handler, Officer Luis Lovato (now Sgt. Lovato, pictured left). Officer Benjamin Ricks was present that fateful night and heard the gun go off. He said that Aldo is a true hero. "If it wasn't Aldo going in then it would have been one of us."
On July 6, 2017, Unified Police K9
Officer Dingo was shot and killed during a fugitive arrest. The dog's handler was Sgt. Chad Reyes (now Lt. Reyes, pictured right). An ex-con, with an extensive state felony criminal history, ranging from robbery, aggravated assault, and in 2007, charged with first-degree felony attempted murder for a stabbing, was fleeing law enforcement near Brickyard Plaza shopping mall. Dingo was deployed with the intent of capturing the fugitive. Officers heard Dingo engage, followed by a multitude of gunshots. The fugitive was captured by officers. However, attempts to save critically-wounded Dingo were unsuccessful.
August 29, 2017, Tess, a 7-year-old police dog was shot in the head following a violent carjacking, high speed chase through residential neighborhood, and an extended armed standoff, in Santa Clara, Washington County.
Under present law, if you steal (theft of value over $5,000) a police canine, it is a second degree felony, but if you intentionally kill a police canine officer, it is a lesser third degree felony.
Testifying on SB 57 in committee with Lt. Chad Reyes (Dingo) and Sgt. Luis Lovato (Aldo)
The bill I am sponsoring will
it a second degree felony from a third degree felony when a perpetrator intentionally or knowingly causes death to a police canine officer.
The value of a police canine goes well beyond the substantial monetary value. Most importantly, they protect their officer's lives, and our lives. They stop those who have already hurt or destroyed human lives, and they avert imminent and future risk, and injury and death to ourselves and to those we love. Valuing our police animals most certainly is valuing human lives, as well.

On January 29th, SB 57 was heard before the Senate
Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee and passed, with one dissenting vote. There were many canine handlers and law enforcement officers in the room, along with Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, Mayor Jeff Silvestrini, Mayor Rob Dahle and so many others. Lt. Chad Reyes and Sgt. Luis Lovato sat with me during our main presentation. Salt Lake County Undersheriff Scott Carver, who was former director of the Utah Sentencing Commission, also testified in support of SB 57. And thank you to Lisa Bagley of East Mill Creek Community Council for coming to testify. This bill has now been placed on the senate floor calendar.

Listening to educators talk about the teacher shortage, I met with administrators, teachers and attorneys representing the retirement system. SB 95 hopes to bring one tool to address Utah's teacher shortage. This bill modifies the Postretirement Restrictions by allowing retired educators to be reemployed with a participating employer. Specifically,
  • Ability to return after 60 days of retirement
  • Receive salary and retirement (pension) but no additional retirement accrual of service credit or 401K contribution, to enhance pension
  • Must be employed by different participating employer - other than the retiree's employer at the time of employment
  • Re-employed as an educator
  • A Local Education Agency (LEA), pays an additional surcharge and amortization rate (not stressing the fund)
  • Rural area accommodation
  • 5 year study
This is a "user fee" approach. If the LEAs, for example, don't want to do it, it will not cost them.

Supportive testimony on my postretirement employment legislation - SB 113

Senate Bill 95
passed unanimously on January 31, before the Senate Retirement and Independent Agencies Committee. Senate Bill 113 is a companion bill which covers Public Safety employees, who also feel the shortage stress. This bill is being amended to include remaining public employees. Senate Bill 113 passed out of the same committee, unanimously, and now goes to the floor of the senate.


I will be presenting an appropriation request for a statewide pediatric trauma network, the first of its kind - see companion Senate Joint Resolution 6 which explains this request in more detail.
This important appropriation request is to ensure that every child and youth injured in the State of Utah receives the most appropriate care at the right place and at the right time, utilizing a systems approach to care delivery and evaluation. Thank you to Dr. Steve Fenton and Kris Hansen, and others, for their work on this very important effort for our state's children and youth.

This past Friday, Rep. Paul Ray and I recognized the University of Utah John R. Park Debate Society (HCR 3) for their championship honors. "Go Utes!"
Honoring John R. Park Debate Society  

I also presented in committee, SCR 6 - Concurrent Resolution Recognizing Utah Honor Flight, which after passing unanimously, will be heard on a time certain on February 13, 2018 at 11:15 a.m. (time certain). I had the privilege to join the Honor Flight in Washington, D.C. this past year. East Mill Creek resident Robert Gallagher, a fellow Lion and dear friend, was honored for his service in WWII. Please come and join Robert Gallagher and other veterans, as we recognize the sponsors of Utah Honor Flight and our veterans!
SCR 7 - Concurrent Resolution Honoring Firefighters and Fire Prevention Efforts is a companion effort to the fireworks bill (HB 38 - Fireworks Restrictions) that I have worked on
Presenting fireworks legislation in committee with Rep. Jim Dunnigan

  months with Rep. Jim Dunnigan, and which I will present on the senate floor in the very near future. While working on HB 38, I learned that those in the fire prevention field, both locally , throughout the state, and federally, have never been recognized. It therefore seemed appropriate to honor those working in fire prevention, including fire fighters, for their service, especially highlighted because of last year's challenging and treacherous fire season. SCR 7 passed unanimously in the Senate Government Operations Committee and is now on its way to the Senate Floor.

I also presented SCR 10 - Concurrent Resolution on the Topaz Internment Camp, which passed the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services unanimously and will be heard on the Senate Floor on February 20, 2018, at 11:15 a.m. (time certain).

This Tuesday, I will also support former state Senator Karen Morgan in her effort to request funding for the successful and critical University of Utah Reading Clinic Distance lab.
Note: The difference between a joint resolution (house and senate) and concurrent resolution is that with a concurrent resolution, Governor Herbert has joined onto the resolution.
Bill Tracking
For updates on my legislation, visit this link and check the box next to the bill number. You can also set up email notifications in real time!
Town Hall Meeting
Events at the Capitol 

Weekly Leadership meeting with
Governor Gary R. Herbert
Day 1: Leadership meeting, and prayer by Elder Michael Ringwood, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee
Meeting with educators at the Capitol

Honoring former Chief Justice Christine Durham

Disability is not inability! Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities Reception.

Democratic house and Senate Caucus following Governor Gary Herbert's State of the State Address
Session Team
Jon Hennington is the Executive Assistant for the Senate Minority. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Jon made Utah his home in 2003. Prior to joining the Utah State Senate staff, Jon served as Associate Public Information Officer and Citizen Advocate for Salt Lake County. He has also been a part of the leadership and management team for both Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation and the City & County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation. This will be his fifth session.
Sylvie Wanlass is the Legislative Assistant for the Senate Minority. She started her time in the Senate as an intern for Senator Patricia Jones during the 2014 Legislative session and was hired back full-time shortly thereafter. She has a Bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of Utah. This will be her fifth session.
Jim Braden directs communications from our office. He assists in the composition of press releases and media advisories from the Senate Minority.
Jen Willden, far right
Jen Willden is a senior at Weber State University studying Public Relations. Jen has previously worked in local government, as an intern for Syracuse city. She is eager to learn the ropes and work hard this session.
"I feel fortunate to work with Senator Iwamoto, the Caucus Manger for Senate Minority Leadership. I know that I have so much to learn from her and it is amazing to be a part of such a hard-working and intelligent group of people." -Jen Willden
Amanda Hansen is a law student at the University of Utah. She also serves as a Warrant Officer in the Army Reserve at Fort Douglas and is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is looking forward to delving into the complexities of the legislative session and to contributing in any way she can to support Sen Iwamoto in representing the interests of Utah's 4th Senate district.

2018 Legislative Session concludes on March 8, 2018. There is still time to visit the Capitol where activities abound! Please visit our website . You can follow (and track) all bills, including bills I am running. If you feel compelled, please come and testify in support (hopefully not in opposition!) during public comment. You can attend Senate and House meetings, and watch floor debates from the gallery. If you do not want to visit the Capitol physically, you can "attend" committee meetings by watching or listening live, or when convenient, by watching or listening to prior recordings. This award-winning website has many options and features.

We literally receive hundreds of emails each day. Please make sure to identify yourself and provide contact information since I respond by email and phone, depending on my time restraints. Emails are by far the best way to contact me. My email address is
jiwamoto@le.utah.gov . If your preference is to call, my cell number is (801) 580-8414. You can also text. Please know that it is difficult to take calls while in meetings or on the floor. My cell is full most days due to the volume of messages.

Please be involved because your voice does matter.
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 newsletter is for legislative and related matters only . Many of you are receiving my newsletters because you have donated, volunteered etc., on my prior campaigns. If you are not on a prior list for campaign purposes and would like to be updated on campaign efforts, please email me at iwamoto.jani@gmail.com to be included.
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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. Lynn Hemingway), 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.