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Keep an eye on state, local lawmakers

Utah’s capitol building sits in the heart of Salt Lake City. The 2015 general session begins on Jan. 26.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for the awesome snowstorm yesterday. Weber State University students were possibly thinking something else when those thick snowflakes started falling, but now that the storm has passed, taking all the pollution with it, we are enjoying brighter skies and cleaner air.

While city, county and state officials work to find a solution, pollution continues to plague Utah air quality, making it a hot topic in the Utah Legislature.

With the semester starting up and everyday life being busy, it is difficult to stay informed on all the issues in the legislative session, but the decisions made by our state officials affect us.

It is important to be knowledgable about the issues affecting you.  By taking time to be educated about your local legislation, you can make an informed opinion and even choose to voice that opinion to your local representative if needed.

One of the “Selected Highlights” of the 2014 session was environmental quality with three bills being passed into law. House Bill 61 established clean air programs that modify the code for clean fuels and the Vehicle Technology Program Act. HB154 authorized the director of the Division of Air Quality to hire temporary employees to conduct investigative reports of wood burning on prohibited days.

Another “Selected Highlight” from 2014 included HB71, the Distribution of Intimate Images by Rep. Marie Poulson, Democrat-Cottonwood Heights, and Rep. Craig Hall, Republican-West Valley City, with Sen. Todd Weiler, Republican-Woods Cross, sponsoring. You might know this bill as the “Revenge Porn” bill, which addressed the growing problem of backlash from an ex-lover who posts spiteful social media pictures without the consent of the individual in the picture.

The Ogden City Council and Mayor Mike Caldwell have identified the city’s top legislative priorities on the City Council website in the FY2015 Legislative Projects link. These include continued development of a transit system plan, the “College Town” initiative, which is a partnership between the city of Ogden and WSU, and further establishment of sustainability goals and policy regarding free speech and pan-handling.

According to the most recent City Staff Review, Ogden City strongly supports the Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Utah Transportation Coalition in developing a comprehensive transportation funding strategy to help meet the demand from students looking for a sustainable and convenient method of transportation to WSU.

Although we are not all residents in Ogden, the city’s issues are Weber State’s issues and affect us as students.

You can find all the bills, which can potentially be passed into laws that we might all soon have to abide by, on the Utah State Legislature website: If you have strong feelings about any of the bills or resolutions in the 2015 general session that began on Jan. 12, you can take your concerns to your local representative. They are listed on the legislative website. All you have to do is enter your area code into the box on the main page.

Utah is growing exponentially and the cozy Wasatch Front is starting to get quite congested, creating challenges for Utah residents. The best way to be a participant in finding solutions is to be an informed citizen. Anyone can create an opinion, but the educated opinions are the ones that are persuasive and can make change happen.






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