Sunday, January 27, 2013

Keith Grover, R, House 61, 2013 survey

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this quick 16 question survey. Your responses and input will be invaluable to me as I continue serving you in the 2013 legislative session.

To begin the survey, click on the Continue button below.


Keith Grover

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Keith Grover drafting bill to end IProvo fees for non-users

Provo residents may be freed of the burden of paying for the bond taken out to cover iProvo should one legislator get his way in the upcoming session.

Rep. Keith Grover has a bill, House Bill 273, that would ban municipalities from charging a fee to those who aren't receiving cable television or telecommunication service from the city.
"If this bill passed, it would be the end of iProvo," Grover said.
The Provo Republican said one of his constituents had contacted him to run the bill. The constituent told Grover that he was concerned about Provo's practice of charging a fee of every utility customer to cover the cost of the bond taken out to pay for Provo's fiber-optic network, even though every Provo City utility customer is not an iProvo customer. Grover thought the idea was worth addressing with legislation and opened the bill to see if he can free residents from paying a fee for a service they don't use.
Provo City officials were unaware of Grover's plans until contacted by the Daily Herald for a comment on the proposal. Deputy mayor Corey Norman said city leaders plan to sit down with Grover in the coming days to discuss the bill. Norman argued that if Grover understood Provo's situation, he'd see the fee on the utility bill is the best option for Provo residents.
"Every time we come into a room and provide the information about what we are doing with the network, everyone always comes to the same conclusion that we did," Norman said. "It was the best of the possible solutions out there."
The Utah Taxpayers Association agreed with Norman's assessment of the iProvo situation in August 2011. It called Provo's plan to buy back the network and then charge a fee on residents' utility bills to cover the cost of the network "the least bad way forward." However, they also praised Grover for his bill, saying it would prevent similar situations from happening in the future.
"I think Rep. Grover wants to make it that much more clearer that government should not get into the business of being in business," said Royce Van Tassell, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association. "Government shouldn't be in the business of business and the taxpayers association supports policy to prevent that from happening."
Grover's bill may reach further than just Provo if enacted. His bill also may impact municipalities that are involved with UTOPIA.
"I would anticipate if something like this were to move through the Legislature that it would affect municipalities that are a part of the UTOPIA network and somewhat impact any community that operates a service like UTOPIA," said Jamie Davidson, assistant city manager of Orem.
Currently Orem does not charge a fee to residents who do not use UTOPIA. However, Orem has attempted to raise taxes to pay for UTOPIA, which could be a strategy Provo could look at if Grover's bill is approved.
Grover's bill will be considered in this year's legislative session, which begins on Jan. 28.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Minneapolis DFL Sen. Scott Dibble is sponsoring a bill that aims to make ALEC disclose

The national organization American Legislative Exchange Council has members of the legislature from all 50 states.  ALEC promotes and distributes model legislation that is proposed and written on a national level, not in any individual state.  The bill sponsored in Minneapolis, below, is designed to give the people in the state more control of their legislation and diminish the power of out of state groups promoting and distributing model legislation.  (This bill will not apply to Utah)

2012 Utah Legislators with ALEC Ties
House of Representatives
   Rep. Roger Barrus (R-18), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[1]
   Rep. Melvin Brown (R-53) [2]
   Rep. David Clark (R-74), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[3]
   Rep. Bradley Daw (R-60), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[4]
   Rep. Brad L. Dee (R-11), ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Member[5]
   Rep. Julie Fisher (R-17), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate[6]
   Rep. Gage Froerer (R-8), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member [7]
   Rep. Keith Grover (R-61), ALEC Education Task Force Member[8]
   Rep. Chris N. Herrod (R-62)[9], ALEC State Chairman[10] and International Relations Task Force Member[11]
   Rep. Eric K. Hutchings (R-38), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force[12] Member and guest at the December 2010 meeting of the International Relations Task Force[11]
   Rep. Ken Ivory (R-47), ALEC International Relations Task Force Member[13]
   Rep. Todd E. Kiser (R-41), ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Member[14]
   Speaker Rebecca Lockhart (R-64), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[15]
   Rep. Michael T. Morley (R-66)[9], ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[16]
   Rep. Paul Ray (R-13), ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [17]
   Rep. Dean Sanpei (R-63), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[18]
   Rep. Jennifer M. Seelig (D-23) - Member of ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force [17]Rep. Seelig contacted ALEC to confirm that her membership has lapsed and will not be renewed on April 9, 2012.[19] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
   Rep. Christine Watkins (D-69) - Alternate member of ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force[20] - Rep. Watkins withdrew her ALEC membership publicly on July 16, 2012.[21] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
   Rep. R. Curt Webb (R-5), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate[22]
   Rep. Ryan Wilcox (R-7), ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Member[23]
   Rep. Carl Wimmer (R-52)[9], ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [17]
   Rep. Bill Wright (R-69) [24]
   Sen. J. Stuart Adams (R-22), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member [7]
   Sen. Curt Bramble (R-16)[9], ALEC State Chairman[10] and International Relations Task Force and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member[11][7]
   Sen. Margaret Dayton (R-15), ALEC Education Task Force Member[25]
   Sen. Lyle W. Hillyard (R-25) [26]
   Sen. Scott K. Jenkins (R-20)
   Sen. Peter Knudson (R-17), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[27]
   Sen. Daniel Liljenquist (R-23), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force member[28] and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate[29]
   Sen. Mark B. Madsen (R-13), ALEC International Relations Task Force Member[30]
   Sen. Wayne Niederhauser (R-9)[9], ALEC State Chairman [10] and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force[31] and International Relations Task Force[11]
   Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R-24),[32] ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[33]
   Sen. Stuart C. Reid (R-18), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Member[34]
   Sen. Howard A. Stephenson (R-11), ALEC Education Task Force Member[35]
   Sen. Stephen H. Urquhart (R-29), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member[36]
   Senate President Michael G. Waddoups (R-6), ALECCivil Justice Task Force Member[37]

"In a measure aimed at making the American Legislative Exchange Council reveal more, DFL senators on Monday proposed  expanding who is a lobbyist and what lobbyists need to disclose.
If the measure became law, anyone who promotes or distributes model legislation would be required to register as a lobbyist. Under the measure, lobbyists and lawmakers would have to disclose any scholarship funds they get to attend events or meetings.
"It is aimed at ALEC," said Minneapolis DFL Sen. Scott Dibble, the bill sponsor. "ALEC is a very strong influential entity."
The measure would also apply to other national groups that push model legislation, that is, bills that are proposed and written outside of Minnesota and then tailored to the state. Dibble said a coalition of lawmakers interested in environmental issues would also be forced to disclose more information in the bill became law.
Conservative and business-funded ALEC works with Republican lawmakers to craft measures for them to introduce in their states. For the last two years, when the GOP was in charge of the Legislature, Republicans introduced several measures that mimicked bills that ALEC had proposed.
Republicans have said there is nothing unusual or wrong about participating and gaining ideas from like-minded national groups but their proposals were based on what they believe is best for Minnesota."

John Swallow target of FBI investigation for intervening in a Salt Lake County bid process. ROBERT GEHRKE. The Salt Lake Tribune. Jun 13 2012.

Note:  This story ran in the Salt Lake Tribune June 13, 2012, and the political mailer was sent to Republican voters prior to the 2012 Primary election.

A political ad that will hit Republican voters’ mailboxes this week makes a dramatic allegation — that GOP attorney general candidate John Swallow was the target of a federal investigation for intervening in a Salt Lake County bid process.
But the Utah attorney general’s office says that accusation is wrong, calling the flier a malicious hit piece and a potential violation of state law.
The Swallow camp also is firing back. "He [Swallow] talked to the FBI," said Jason Powers, a consultant for the candidate’s campaign. "He wasn’t the target of an investigation. He was supporting an investigation."
The mailer says Swallow, as chief deputy attorney general, intervened in a contract on behalf of a company in which he held a personal financial stake — a charge Powers also denies — was investigated by the feds last year and "could potentially be indicted at any time."
No source is cited for the allegation, but Dimitri Moumoulidis, a Democrat in charge of Ute PAC, which sent the mailer to 30,000 likely Republican voters Wednesday, said he has been told the information by reliable sources.
"John Swallow is a bad fit for this state," said Moumoulidis, "and I think there are things we haven’t been discussing about John Swallow that probably need to be discussed before he’s anointed as the Republican Party nominee."
The flier, coming two weeks before Swallow’s June 26 GOP primary against attorney Sean Reyes, raises the issue of a contract dispute involving Salt Lake County and California-based Worldwide Environmental Products, which sought to provide emissions-testing equipment to garages in the county.
Awarding the three-year, $12 million contract turned into a bitter fight. Worldwide alleged the bid was rigged, and the attorney general’s office and, eventually, the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office became involved, according to interviews and records obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.
A grand jury was convened to hear testimony relating to the contract. Swallow, Assistant Attorney General Alan Bachman and Bachman’s paralegal were subpoenaed to testify. But the case was apparently scrapped at the last minute; the grand jury did not convene.
The target of the investigation is unclear. The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office would not comment.
Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Utah attorney general’s office, said the federal authorities were investigating the contracting process.
"[Swallow and Bachman] were told they were not a subject, that they were looking at [the contract dispute], and they were being asked to testify on behalf of the FBI on what their interactions were with Worldwide," Murphy said Wednesday. "Swallow did not receive a target letter. He has a peripheral role on this, so this flier is so outrageous. It’s an absolute lie."
Murphy also said Swallow has no stake in Worldwide.
Nate Sechrest, an attorney who represented Worldwide in the contract dispute, said he never understood what the FBI was investigating.
"I just have no idea," said Sechrest, who was also subpoenaed to testify. " ... I don’t know that we’ll ever actually know what happened."
In 2010, Worldwide, based in Brea, Calif., lost a bid to provide emissions equipment to garages in Salt Lake County. The company protested, arguing it was the only bidder whose equipment met state standards and alleged that two county councilmen — Randy Horiuchi and Joe Hatch, who was on the bid-review team — conspired to steer the contract to another company.
Horiuchi and Hatch say that allegation is absurd and that they never even discussed the contract. They never met with the FBI and were not subpoenaed.
Worldwide’s protest was rejected. The company, through lobbyist Nancy Sechrest, Nate Sechrest’s mother, repeatedly pushed for an inquiry, according to emails from Nancy Sechrest to Swallow.
Bachman, who specializes in contracting, contacted the county’s attorneys, T.J. Tsakalos and Craig Anderson. Both said Bachman threatened the county with a criminal probe if Worldwide didn’t get another hearing on its protest.
Bachman told The Tribune that there was a misunderstanding and that he made no such threat, pointing to an email after his call in which he stressed that the state may investigate, not that it would.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said it was "bad pool" for the attorney general’s office to insert itself into a county bid. And, if there was proof of a crime, it needed to be investigated, instead of just demanding another hearing for Worldwide, said Gill, so he called the FBI.
"If there’s corruption, we want to find it. We want an objective, transparent look at this," Gill said. "If you call here and make such accusations, then you know what? Be prepared. We’ll pick up the phone [to the FBI] and say, ‘Investigate us, investigate them, investigate everyone else, whoever is involved in this process.’ "
The FBI investigated and, in April 2011, issued a series of subpoenas, ordering several individuals involved to appear before a grand jury. But the grand jury was called off for reasons that are unclear. Carlie Christensen, who was the acting U.S. attorney at the time, would not discuss the case. An FBI spokeswoman said agency policy prohibits confirming or denying the existence of any investigation.

Utah is one of only 15 states that doesn’t prosecute cockfighting as a felony. David Montero. Salt Lake Tribune.

                                                    Senator Gene Davis

Humane Society Executive Director Gene Baierschmidt said surrounding states have already made it a felony and participants in cockfighting come to Utah because they know the penalties are more lax.
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states, and Baierschmidt said the practice of strapping razors to roosters’ legs so they can slash each other to death is "barbaric" and also said it encourages illegal gambling.
Davis said the bill to protect dogs from being tied up for long periods in yards stemmed from complaints that those animals often engage in excessive barking and suffer harmful physical effects.
Dogs sometimes arrive at the shelters with collar marks embedded deep in their necks and often have a hard time socializing after being tied up for long stretches.
"A life of being chained up isn’t good animal husbandry," Davis said. "If you have your animal and it’s a pet and is a part of your family, then make it a part of your family. You have to spend time with the animal and not keep it tied up all day."
The bill would restrict the amount of time a dog could be tethered outside to 10 hours. Currently, there is no restriction on tethering. A violation, under the proposal, would cost the owner $250 and be a misdemeanor.
Baierschmidt said the Humane Society would like to see the law closer to what California has on the books — an anti-tethering measure that allows dogs to be tied up only temporarily when the owner is engaged in an activity that requires it — such as painting a fence or performing other outdoor chores.
The other bill Davis will carry would restrict people from selling puppies in parking lots of big-box stores or in parks.
He said the proposal isn’t aimed at professional breeders or legitimate pet sellers who ensure the animals are spayed, get proper vaccinations and don’t have diseases. Baierschmidt said Utah shelters, which see more than 10,000 animals a year, often end up being the safety net after people who make spur-of-the-moment purchases decide they don’t really want animals and abandon them.
He also said puppies are sold in these unregulated areas with diseases that could be harmful — including parvovirus, which can lead to rashes and arthritis in humans.
Diseased dogs often end up at shelters and must be euthanized, Baierschmidt said. Approximately 150 dogs a year suffer that fate, Baierschmidt said.
Baierschmidt said he expects some controversy on the proposals — especially on the anti-tethering bill.
Oda said he hasn’t seen the measures by Davis, but he was cautious about them when told about their broad outlines. He said the state already has "too many felonies on the books" and believed the regulations against chaining animals could lead to neighbors reporting neighbors without knowing the circumstance why a dog was chained up.
"Tethering is a natural part of owning an animal and, by definition, animals and pets are not considered human beings — they’re considered property," Oda said. "So if they want to change how animals are going to be treated overall, they’ll have to change the definition to say animals aren’t property."  David Montero. Salt Lake Tribune.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mike Larsen, Director of the Department of Public Safety, Orem City is retiring after 16 years as Director on January 16.

OREM -- Thirty-five years ago, when Mike Larsen become a police officer for Orem, he never imagined being the director of the Department of Public Safety. Now Larsen is retiring after nearly 16 years in that position.
"I thought maybe someday I would be a captain and when the director's position opened up in 1997 I didn't think I had much of a chance, but I decided to apply and see what happened," Larsen said. "I wanted to be able to make a difference within the department and move it forward and make a difference in the way we provided service to the community."
In his time as director Larsen helped create a traffic enforcement team, a gang task force that he says has greatly reduced gang violence in Utah County and helped get funding for the countywide records management system that allows police agencies to access data from other agencies online.
Under Larsen's leadership the new Orem Department of Public Safety was built and two fire stations were remodeled.
"He was an aggressive and smart officer, and to this day he has a mind like a steel trap," said Capt. Steve Clark, who has worked most of his career with Larsen. "He spent time on the streets and understood the streets. He was a good cop, and I don't say that lightly. There are plenty of people that climb the ranks because they are good politicians, but Mike spent plenty of time in the trenches; he did what he expected his men to do, he didn't just say it, he did it."
Larsen said one of the things he is most proud of is helping build the Department of Public Safety into what it is today. He said when he took over the fire, EMS and police departments had just recently been combined to create the Department of Public Safety.
"I wanted to be able to build those relationships between police and fire to create seamless service for the community," Larsen said. "The relationships between the fire, EMS and police officers are very, very good. I will say I don't think there are many departments throughout the country that have the relationship within the emergency branches that we do."
He said that relationship means the best possible service for members of the community and a department that people want to work for.
"I started out with highway patrol knowing I wanted to work for Orem at some point in time," Sgt. Craig Martinez said. "For many years when you talked to any officers around the state, Orem was the place to be, the department was good and I think that all is a reflection on what Larsen has done for our department."
Orem city manager Bruce Chesnut said part of Larsen's success is due to his organization of the department and the staff he has built.
"I think one of the good things to Mike's credit is he has organized a great support staff around him with good leadership that will be able to carry on after he retires," Chesnut said. "He has assembled a team that is efficient and well developed to run a public safety department, and he is not afraid to try new things to make things better."
Both Chesnut and Clark said Larsen's vast knowledge will be missed when he retires. Clark said anytime they have questions about old cases, laws and current legislation, Larsen knows the answer.
Larsen said it is time for him to move on to new things. After 35 years of serving Orem he and his family are ready for the next chapter.
"Maybe it is time that somebody else can look at what we are doing with a different set of eyes and see if we can do something better," Larsen said. "Orem is a very great place and it is a very great place to work and the people that work here throughout the city are very dedicated to this community and it has been a great place to have a career."
Larsen will retire on Jan. 16. He has plans to spend more time with his family, to volunteer more and possibly do work for his church.
"We'll miss him," Clark said. "The face of the department is going and we will miss him. He has been an integral part of this place and it will take a while to rebuild after he is gone."

Student Leadership Skills Development, Senate Bill 122. Senator Aaron Osmond (R – South Jordan, District 10) .

With SB 122 Student Leadership skills Development, Senator Aaron Osmond (R – South Jordan, District 10) is seeking to start a pilot program through the State Board of Education to help develop what Senator Osmond calls these “soft skills.” Skills such leadership, emotional fortitude, social interaction, and the importance of education itself would be taught to underprivileged students in an effort to provide them a better chance success down the road.
The push behind this bill comes  from the Granite School District’s current success in promoting these type of educational programs – they have seen great, data driven, results and the costs are minimal; schools in Park City and St. George have also seen positive outcomes from these development programs.
“The structured academic standards are actually quite strict,” Osmond tells us, “the teacher to student ratio is 1:10, and programs must provide structured courses and involve parents in the process.” These programs, Osmond goes on to explain, are completely voluntary to participate in and each individual school district would be able to choose from a series of programs which would best fit their community. By starting these pilot programs now, Osmond hopes that in the near future disadvantaged students from across the state will befit from such soft skills development courses.
With an initial price tag of only $240,000, combined with the current high success rate, passing SB 122 seems like an easy choice. If the programs ultimately do not produce desired results, we have lost little – however if they are successful (and all data points indicates they would be), then we as a state have made a solid investment in our youth, ensuring that they will grow up to become productive, educated, and involved.
To contact Sen. Osmond,  call 801-253-6853

Thursday, January 10, 2013

HB 44 – Election Polling sponsored by Rep. Greg Hughes, requires surveys to identify the individual or company paying for the survey.

                                        Greg Hughes-R, Majority Whip Draper.
That is where HB44, election polling comes into play. Representative Greg Hughes (R – Draper, District 51). In short, the bill defines what a “poll” actually is, and requires “A person who conducts a poll (to) disclose to the person being surveyed who paid for the poll before or at the conclusion of the poll.”
Curtis Haring.
HB 44 HTML text

Rep. Kevin Stratton sponsoring bill to fix towing problem. Billy Hesterman. Daily Herald.

                                                         Kevin Stratton Republican-Orem

Orem resident Doug Wright was babysitting his granddaughter last month after his daughter called from the emergency room with her 17-month-old son.
They were waiting on stitches the toddler needed for a cut to his head, she told her father, and could he pick up her 6-year-old daughter and take her home? He obliged, driving her home to Provo, parking in a spot that his son-in-law regularly uses.
What Wright didn't know, and what his daughter forgot to tell him in the day's excitement, was that the parking spot he was in was off-limits for nonresidents of the area after 6 p.m. He learned that after discovering his car had been towed.
"My daughter wasn't thinking about where I should park when I left the ER. I have been to visit many times and have never been told I couldn't park in the parking lot because most often the case, I was there before 6 p.m. and was legally parked," Wright said.
Once his daughter returned to her home she noticed that Wright's Suburban was being chained up to be towed away. Immediately he ran out the door to stop the tow truck and save himself from having to walk home. He explained to the tow truck drivers that he was unaware that he had parked illegally and asked them to unhook his vehicle.
"I was told they couldn't do that. I asked them why and was told that it was their job to enforce the parking laws. I tried to reason with them that my purpose of being there was because of my grandson's accident and was told by them that it wasn't their problem," Wright said.
After some finagling and a visit from the Provo police, Wright got his vehicle unhooked, but only after paying a hefty $189 fee. Wright acknowledges he was at fault for not knowing the parking rules of the area but feels the fees were unreasonable and that the towing company could be easier to work with in such situations.
Provo city leaders now are hoping they can help Wright and the many others who face towing problems with a bill they'd like passed at the Utah Legislature.
Provo has enlisted Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, to take on the predatory towing problem in the city.
The proposal would make multiple changes to legal towing tactics. Provo officials have asked Stratton to consider adding a minimum amount of time a car must be parked in a spot before it can be towed. They also have asked him to create a bill of rights for owners of towed cars and to examine lowering the fee a tow company can charge an individual, which sits at $145 per tow plus additional fees.
"I don't think the punishment meets the crime in the case of the fee," said Corey Norman, Provo's deputy mayor.
Provo has been looking into what it could do about the towing issue since October. Mayor John Curtis raised the issue on his blog prior to a city council work session in which council members discussed the matter. Curtis's blog exploded with comments from readers recounting stories of when their car was towed or booted. Curtis hopes he can find some kind of resolution on the issue with legislation and possibly some changes in city ordinances.
Last week Curtis posted another blog on the issue again, citing some changes to the law that are being examined by legislators and the city council to improve the situation. But he also indicated that many of the problems that are happening now with towing could be solved through property owners setting up proper towing protocol with tow companies.
"Almost all the towing frustration in our town happens when the towing company is left unrestrained to tow at their discretion," Curtis wrote. "Often they tow vehicles the owner would never have allowed to be towed."
Curtis explained that a property owner could set stricter conditions with towing companies on when to tow a car instead of simply delegating all towing procedures to the tow companies. He noted that those who have a car towed should contact the property owners to let them know of the situation so they can decide if they should alter their towing policy with the towing company that oversees the property.
Tow truck companies agree with Curtis that they are simply following the procedures put in place by the property owner and that most aren't out to be predators.
"If that is what they are hired to do and the apartment management is telling them to do that, it is really their fault for parking there," said Mike Searle of the Utah Professional Towing Association. "A lot of it is the owner's fault. They just like to blame us. We are just out doing our job. But there are some companies that are overaggressive."
Stratton is making the bill one of his priority bills for the upcoming legislative session. Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, is expected to be the Senate sponsor of the bill should it pass the House.