Week 4 Of The Legislative Session Recap

Below is the recap from my Week 4 Newsletter. View the email in your browser here.

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Week 4 Recap

This week certainly contained some challenges! On Tuesday I presented Lauren’s Law (HB 190), my bill that emphasizes responsible gun ownership, to the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. I was disappointed and surprised by the lack of questions and discussion, despite testimony both in favor and against the bill. As a legislature, we’re missing the opportunity to have a hard, but crucial, conversation. The bill was ultimately held by the committee, and I hope to work with my fellow legislators and stakeholders in reaching a compromise that moves the bill forward. Another difficult hurdle came on Thursday, when I presented HB 111, a bill that would work to hold repeat Domestic Violence offenders more accountable under the law, to the House of Representatives after a favorable recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee. Despite bipartisan support, the bill was voted down by the majority and will not go any further this session. I believe deeply in the importance of this legislation for providing safety and justice to survivors, and I plan on continuing to tackle this issue in my work to combat domestic violence in our communities.

On a positive note -- HB 184 Civil Air Patrol License Plate  is coming along well, as we have worked to gather the necessary funds to support the creation of the new license plate. Now it's just a matter of getting back on the committee calendar! I also spoke with Lauren McCluskey's mother, Jill McCluskey, today about her views and goals for HB 190, Lauren's Law. Lauren's friends and family have been incredible advocates in her memory, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help honor her legacy through real, concrete change. Finally, my most recent bill, HB 400 Murder Mitigation Amendments, was released today to House Rules Committee. I am also proud to co-sponsor a number of exciting bills with representatives from both parties. You can see all of my legislation here. 

While running for office I grappled with the fact that, as a Democrat in a legislature held overwhelmingly by Republicans, sometimes things would feel like an uphill battle, and issues were going to fall along partisan lines. What I believed then, and what I continue to believe, is that there are nonpartisan values and issues that need to be discussed and dealt with. The vast majority of issues we’ve faced as a legislature have been managed in a bipartisan and united fashion. I feel honored to work alongside my Republican and Democrat colleagues, and I look forward to the next three weeks.

Legislation Spotlight: Lauren's Law

Legislation Spotlight: Lauren's Law

On February 14th, America recognized the one year anniversary of the Parkland High School mass shooting. In the past year Utah has experienced its own tragic events related to gun violence, including the January 2019 shooting at Fashion Place Mall and the October 2018 murder of University of Utah student, Lauren McCluskey. In the past year we’ve seen brave young Utahns join a national movement towards ending gun violence. Utahns have called for the legislature to work toward safer schools, secure public spaces, and initiatives curbing Utah’s suicide rate, and the wealth of gun legislation up for consideration this year shows that Utahns are ready to have these conversations. 

In direct response to Lauren McCluskey's murder, I am sponsoring HB190 (Liability of Firearm Custodians) to create the opportunity for civil liability when firearm owners recklessly lend their guns to other individuals. Lauren's killer was not legally allowed to own a firearm, and had he not been able to borrow one from a friend, he may have been slowed or even stopped and Lauren could still be alive. This bill is supported by the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah as well as several other gun violence prevention organizations, as well as Lauren's family. 

I am pleased to report that HB190 was moved out of the House Rules Committee today, and should be heard by the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee next week. I believe in the value of this legislation, and I hope my fellow legislators will be willing to have the crucial conversation about ending gun violence. This issue is important to Utahns, and it’s important to me.

Note on Prop 3

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has reached out to express concerns about legislative attempts to repeal Proposition 3. Please know that I am actively working to ensure that Medicaid Expansion is upheld and implemented. Your comments, and your votes, matter to me. Thank you for staying active in the process and advocating for issues that matter.

FOX13: Worried about the financial impact of Prop. 3, Utah lawmakers are planning to modify it

While the legislature has the right to change the law, including initiatives, they should not change more than necessary to make the law work. The people have spoken, and it is the legislature's job (me included) to figure out how to make these initiatives successful. Instead of looking to cut the number of people covered, we should be looking at how to provide complete funding to make sure that we are covering those who need it most.

Honoring Lauren McCluskey Through Action and Legislation

Today, my alma mater The University of Utah released the findings of an independent investigation into the murder of student Lauren McCluskey. I am grateful for the actions of the investigators and public servants who performed a thorough review of this tragedy, and have provided recommendations as our community moves forward.

I am proud to have opened two bill files today that I hope will play a part in the journey ahead. The first will seek to address the state public safety retirement system -- specifically the "Tier 2" structure -- which was implemented by the legislature in 2011, and has been repeatedly identified by public safety leadership as a hinderance to productive hiring and retention. I heard a great deal about this on the campaign trail, and heard about it again today in the identified areas of improvement surrounding Lauren's death. It's time that the legislature come together to support our our public servants, and strengthen the safety of our communities.

The second is the beginning of an effort to expand the potential for civil liability for firearm owners in cases like Lauren McCluskey's. Lauren was not killed by accident or in self-defense -- she was the victim of a brutal, calculated murder, by an individual who never should have been in possession of a gun. Firearm ownership is a great responsibility, and should be taken very seriously. It is my hope that passing #LaurensLaw will signal Utah's commitment to responsible firearm ownership.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me regarding these measures and other ideas for legislation. The legislative session will be here before we know it, and I will make sure to provide updates as often as possible. Addressing the epidemic of domestic and intimate partner violence here in Utah was at the top of my list on the campaign trail, and will remain at the top of my list throughout my time as a legislator.


Today's Vote on Proposition 2

On today’s Prop 2 vote: I stand with my fellow House Democrats on supporting the ballot initiative, and opposing the compromise. As an attorney and prosecutor, I am well aware of the problems with the proposition as written. I would have voted for and still support a bill that fixes those problems while remaining true to the vision of the strong majority of Utah citizens voted in favor of it. (For example, the bill Rebecca Chavez-Houck proposed, which was voted down along party lines.)

The lame duck legislature, including your former house district 44 legislator Bruce Cutler - who was defeated by my campaign while I ran on the issue of supporting Prop 2 - passed a major rewrite of Prop 2 that makes it work much less well for the patients who need it without really addressing the problems.

My thoughts are with the patients, families, volunteers, and voters who were let down by their representatives today. Many of you are disappointed, scared, and deeply saddened, as am I. As soon as I am sworn in, I will work to correct this undemocratic action by your former legislator and restore the will of the people.


Final Votes in HD44

As the final votes are tallied the margin of victory grew to over 10% and over 1,500 votes. We are so proud of our family, friends, staff, and volunteers who made this possible, and in awe of the overwhelming support of the people of this district.

Our goal was a resounding victory that did not rely on a partisan wave- and we accomplished our objective. This victory is owed to the way Andrew's vision for this community resonated with each of you; a community that works together to ensure that Utah's prosperity leaves no one behind. Andrew is so excited to work with each of you in the coming years to ensure that his vision becomes our reality.

Here's to hoping your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with peace and plenty. As we are filled with gratitude for our family, friends, and community- we are also so grateful for your continued support.


Support The Road Home this holiday season!

There are so many ways to help out this holiday season! The Road Home is an important part of Midvale City and I am always grateful for opportunities to support their work. As we move into colder months, they are in need of blankets for the adult men and women they serve!. Donate online using smile.amazon.com/ch/87-0212465 to have part of your purchase come back to The Road Home or bring donations to 210 S. Rio Grande Street, Monday through Sunday, 8am-7pm. Thank you!


Note on Prop 2

The voters of HD44 elected me to protect their interests, and one I heard about overwhelmingly on the campaign trail was Proposition 2. Fittingly, one of my first meetings on my very first day on Capitol Hill was about the future of Prop 2.

From my view, there are far too many unknowns in this compromise to consider its current form as a reasonable alternative to the ballot initiative voted for by the people of Utah. I will continue to watch for updates, but I am determined to ensure that Utahns receive the treatment and resources they need.

Thank You, House District 44!

With all precincts reporting and our team holding steady at a 1,001 vote lead, I have accepted the concession of my opponent and am proud to be your next Representative. I would like to thank current Representative Bruce Cutler for his service to the district and for a respectful, clean race.

This victory was never a guarantee, and it truly belongs to you, the voters of House District 44. You turned out in historic numbers -- over 50% of registered voters cast a ballot this year -- and that increased participation is an encouraging victory for all of us. Our government is better when everyone plays a part.

Thank you for the passion you hold for our shared community. One look at the vote report is all I need to see that this win would not have been possible without people from every corner of this district coming together in pursuit of a shared vision for their future. I look forward to hearing from you in the coming days, weeks, months, and years, and working together to continue building better communities.


Election Night Returns

Well folks, the final canvass won’t be until November 20th, but the numbers are looking great for us. There are still uncounted votes out there, but I’m hopeful that you have chosen me to be your next representative. It's such an incredible honor and privilege, and a heavy responsibility which I will attend to with the energy and commitment we brought to this campaign.

I want first to thank my wife Rachel - the spouse of a candidate sacrifices more than you'll ever know, and she has made those sacrifices willingly and without ever wavering in her support of my vision for this district. I must also thank my campaign manager, Madalena McNeil. Without these two women working so hard and giving so much of themselves, I could never have achieved this victory.

I also want to thank all of you- so many staff and volunteers worked round-the-clock to make this victory a reality. Whether you gave of your time or your money, I owe you a debt I can never hope to repay. I would like to especially thank Christine Passey, the Democratic candidate for HD44 in 2014 and 2016, who was an inspiration for me and so many others to jump into the fray of difficult elections.

Very soon, we will start the business of governing- I'd love to hear from each and every one of you in this district about what matters most to them, what they think of bills I'll hopefully have the opportunity to vote on, and anything else that matters to this community. Thank you for your support, and I hope to soon be able to call myself your representative.


Commentary: We must not be victimized by the silence of the culture

In the midst of Election Day chaos, I want to acknowledge my Campaign Manager, Madalena, for this thoughtful piece about the death of Lauren McCluskey. My work with survivors of domestic violence has always been a core motivating factor in this campaign. Regardless of what happens tonight, there is work to do here in Utah, and I intend to be part of that progress. #Utah1in3

Thank you to our printers! #UnionStrong

We wanted to take a moment to thank our printers, who worked tirelessly to meet demanding deadlines for our campaign and many others. These are just a few samples printed by local 7704 members, like Shane Lyon and Rudy Chacon.

Supporting unions is about better wages, benefits, and hours for each and every Utahn. We’ve been putting our money where our mouth is since day one of this campaign- and we’ll be committed to defending the labor rights of everyday Utahns from day one in office.