The Utah State Legislative Session begins Tuesday, January 19th and the Utah State Board of Education meets February 5th. Utah Parents United is committed to monitoring these meetings and updating you on what is happening. We will promote policies, legislation, and curricula that support the parent-child relationship and update you on anything that undermines your role as a parent and let you know what you can do about it.Please sign up here for updates.
Two pictures will appear. One is your House Representative and one is your Senator. When you click on their pictures their email addresses will appear. Email them and tell them you are a registered voter in their district and you want them to represent your voice. Tell them how you want them to vote.
HB 93Suicide Prevention Programs It introduces suicide programs to elementary schools, where suicides are not happening. It's not age appropriate and it's not a topic we need to introduce into the minds of young children. This bill further ignores the science behind family involvement in preventing suicide and cuts out promoting family relationships to decrease suicide. Instead, the state is introducing a program that proposes that they are the best institution to prevent suicide.
This bill is still being discussed and reworked, so it's possible a substitute bill may be presented that addresses some of our concerns. But the current state of this bill ignores science and family.
HB 117 - Vaccine Registry It's on its 3rd substitute, meaning it has gone through several revisions. We were originally opposed to the bill, but since it has been revised to give parents the choice to opt out, we are now neutral. We had physician review the bill for us and there are good arguments on both sides.
This bill ultimately creates a state wide registry that gives the state control of your medical information. Although it gives parents the chance to opt out of the registry, the state will know who has opted out and those parents may have to prove that their children have those vaccinations. A central registry does provide convenience for parents and houses all medical records in one place, but the government is not immune from data breeches.
Further, parents need to decide who they want to be in control of their medical information. Do they want to relinquish that control to the state for convenience, or do they want to retain that privacy and responsibility? On principal, this grows government and gives government personal information that can later be used against constituents. For example, Hitler and Mao Tse-Tung both created registries for their constituents.
There are components of this bill that are better than current law, but as parents we need to decide if we want the government to be in charge of our medical information or if we want the responsibility to take care of our private personal medical records and keep that between our family and our medical provider.
SB165 Sex Offender Amendment After a molester or kidnapper has served their sentence and the required time has elapsed, this bill would require the Department of Corrections to automatically remove individuals from the Sex and Kidnap Offender Registry at the taxpayer's expense. It removes the requirement for the molester/kidnapper to comply with a request for removal and puts the burden and cost on the state instead of the perpetrator. It also removes the requirement for the molester/kidnapper to request removal from the sex registry. We should never allow the perpetrator to be promoted at the expense of the victim.
We believe in redemption, however, as these individuals have committed a serious crime, it should be their financial responsibility to remove themselves from the registry, when legally allowed, and the initiative should come from the perpetrator. Parents, victims and taxpayers should NOT incur the cost and consequences of the perpetrator's actions. This is not a good use of taxpayer money when funds are already tight.
HB302 Preserving Women Sports Requires schools, local education agencies, and institutions to designate athletic activities by sex; prohibits a student of the male sex from participating in an athletic activity designated for female students.
No matter what side of the fence you are on, this is going to affect athletes in school. States that have allowed athletes of the male sex to compete with athletes of the female sex have shown that female sex athletes are no longer competitive and can no longer attain scholarships because male sex athletes have a biological competitive advantage. In order to be fair to male and female sex athletes we need to make legislation based on biological sex instead of gender fluidity.
HOW TO TESTIFY AT A HEARINGHearings are open to the public. You can attend, even if you don't plan on testifying (speaking/voicing your opinion) on a bill. If you do plan on speaking on a bill, you will be asked to "sign in" on a sheet of paper located at the entrance of the room. Once you have signed in, you'll take a seat until the legislators are ready to hear public testimony. Once they are ready for public comment, they will open up the microphone, at which point everyone who plans on speaking will get in line to give comment. When it is your turn, you will approach the microphone, give your comments, then return to your seat. You are welcome to leave the hearing at any time.
Here are some tips on making your testimony effective:
Plan on speaking for two minutes. If there are a lot of people the chair of the committee hearing may ask you to limit your comments to 1 minute. Respect the time limit. You will hurt yourself if you try to push for more time. If the chair asks you to wrap up your testimony, finish promptly.
Be kind and courteous! The legislator is not your enemy. They are there to do their job of listening to their constituents. Don't be afraid to share your personal opinions, but do not make your comments about the legislator and do not attack them personally. You will hurt your cause more than help.
Keep your comments factual and about the specific bill. If you start to wander off topic, you will lose credibility.
Your legislator will respect you, if you respect them!