Preparations for Utah’s 2020 General Legislative Session, which starts on Monday, are coming together hastily, and Rep. Val Potter, R-North Logan, said he is busier than ever.
Potter is preparing eight bills for this session, each addressing very different topics relating to Cache Valley residents and other Utahns.
One of his bills is a phased retirement amendment for law enforcement. The goal is to give more opportunities for officers to work on a part-time basis, which Potter said will help with a statewide shortage.
“This is becoming critical,” Potter said. “It will be important for all law enforcement in the State of Utah.”
The other high-impact bill that Potter is working on concerns housing affordability.
Last year, the legislature passed a bill that allows cities to follow certain steps and ultimately open more housing options within their boundaries. However, Potter said, there wasn’t any funding for some of the housing authority’s needs. Potter is the House sponsor of the bill, working with Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi.
The bill, S.B. 39, would offer more funding in housing and rental properties to boost opportunities for people in lower income areas to get into a house.
Another action item for Potter is follow-up amendment to a teacher salary supplement bill that passed back in 2018. This new bill would open the door to more funding for special education, science and math teachers because the funds from the previous bill are maxed out.
“It is kind of a cleanup bill but it also helps enhance things to help teachers,” Potter said. “It makes it easier and better for the teachers, which is always a good thing in my mind.”
However, with the recent announcement that the state’s controversial tax reform will be repealed following a widespread signature campaign, Potter said the number of programs that will be funded this year is uncertain.
“We can’t budget according to what we had planned, and that’ll put us on hold for a lot of plans we had for the basic services for the state,” Potter said.
Potter said the services in question are transportation, social services, higher education and others.
Cache Valley legislators will be hosting town hall meetings every Saturday morning during the 2020 Legislative General Session, starting on Jan. 25 through March 7. The meetings will go from 7:30 — 9 a.m. at the Historic Cache County Courthouse, 199 Main St., Logan.