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February 19, 2024

Utah House Minority Leader Angela Romero on Natalie Cline’s Decision to Seek Re-election

 

“I am deeply disappointed by Natalie Cline’s decision to seek re-election for the Utah State School Board. While she has a history of targeting marginalized communities, an action often argued to be protected by freedom of speech, her latest move crossed a line. She targeted a child on social media, which led to censure by her colleagues and the state legislature. 

 

When individuals are elected, they are entrusted with positions of authority and are expected to adhere to higher standards. Unfortunately, her recent action failed to meet those standards, which is why I had a substitute resolution drafted to start the impeachment process. 

 

I sincerely hope that Utah voters will hold her accountable and demonstrate that such behavior is unacceptable by voting her out in the upcoming election.”

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February 15, 2024

The Utah House Democratic Leadership Team on the Vote to Censure Utah School Board Member Natalie Cline

 

“As representatives entrusted with the well-being and integrity of our communities, we are deeply disappointed by the Utah House of Representatives' failure to consider impeachment proceedings against Utah School Board Member Natalie Cline. 

 

Recent events involving Cline’s online bullying of a student have deeply troubled us. Every child deserves a nurturing and safe educational environment, free from harassment and intimidation. Cline’s actions not only violate the trust placed in her as an elected official but also undermine the very foundation of our educational system. 

 

While we appreciate the censure imposed upon Cline, we firmly assert that it is not enough. Impeachment is a vital mechanism for upholding accountability and ensuring that those who betray the public trust are held responsible for their actions. It is essential for our democracy and the protection of our communities, particularly our youth. 

 

We stand in solidarity with those affected by Cline’s behavior. The welfare and safety of our students must always be our utmost priority, and we cannot afford to let instances of bullying and misconduct continue. Our caucus remains committed to advocating for the well-being and dignity of all Utahns and will continue to push for the accountability and justice that is deserved.”

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February 13, 2024

Utah House Democratic Caucus Champions Sustainable Water Policies During Utah’s 2024 Legislative Session

 

"As the 2024 Legislative Session’s Water Week unfolds, the Utah House Democrats reaffirm their commitment to championing sustainable water policies that safeguard the Great Salt Lake and preserve the state’s invaluable water resources. Amidst the pressing challenges of climate change, growing concerns about water scarcity, and environmental degradation, the caucus is proud to introduce a series of forward-thinking legislative initiatives aimed at ensuring a healthier and more resilient future for Utah’s environment. 

 

House Minority Leader, Representative Angela Romero, emphasizes the vital role of collective responsibility in addressing Utah’s water challenges. “As stewards of our state’s natural resources, it’s imperative for the Utah State Legislature to recognize our shared responsibility in preserving Utah’s water ecosystems. Through collaboration and concerted efforts, we can bring about significant changes to ensure the preservation of Utah’s water resources.”

 

Members of the caucus are spearheading legislation that tackles critical water conservation and management challenges facing the state. From innovative water education initiatives to strategic funding requests, the Utah House Democrats are driving a comprehensive agenda designed to address the complex issues surrounding water usage and preservation. 

 

Representative Doug Owens stresses the urgent need to address the threats to the Great Salt Lake and its surrounding environment. “Conserving water and the environment isn’t merely a choice, but an essential action for our state’s prosperity. Implementing policies that promote water conservation and securing funding for environmental initiatives are vital steps toward ensuring a sustainable future for our state. I encourage everyone to join in ensuring the passage of every piece of legislation aimed at protecting our great lake and environment during this session.” 

 

Key Policies and Initiatives

2024 Bills:

  • HB 11 Water Efficient Landscaping Requirements: Aims to conserve water in the Great Salt Lake Basin by implementing restrictions on the coverage of lawn or turf for state governmental facilities. 

  • HB 42 Water Rights Publication Amendments: Seeks to modernize water rights publication procedures, facilitating greater accessibility and efficiency in water rights management. 

  • HB 62 Utah Water Ways Amendments: Establishes a comprehensive water education curriculum to raise awareness about Utah’s water systems and promote responsible water usage. 

  • HB 65 Active Transportation and Canal Trail Amendments: Aims to conserve water while enhancing trail networks statewide by studying the feasibility of incorporating canal corridors into active transportation plans. 

  • HB 243 Riparian Amendments: Encourages cities and counties to protect riparian areas, leading to improved stream health, reduced flooding, and increased recreational opportunities. 

  • HB 401 Water Usage Amendments: Addresses water usage in the Great Salt Lake Basin by outlining watering restrictions on established turf before April 30th or after October 1st, promoting conservation efforts in the region. 

  • HB 472 Water Revisions: Directs collaboration between the Division of Water Resources and the Division of Water Rights to establish a water database and center for informed water resource management allowing for more effective problem-solving to address challenges faced by the Great Salt Lake.

  • HJR 27 Joint Resolution Encouraging Water-efficient Landscaping Ordinances for New Construction: Encourages municipalities and counties to prioritize water-efficient land use practices in new construction projects, acknowledging the significance of water to the state. 

Request for Appropriation (RFA): 

  • RFA for Agricultural Water Use Research: Research and on-farm application projects within the Great Salt Lake watershed, furthering water efficiency and agricultural optimization efforts.  

  • RFA for Great Salt Lake Phragmites Eradication: Support vegetation management and invasive species control, crucial for the health of the Great Salt Lake’s ecosystem. 

  • RFA for Great Salt Lake Split-Season Lease Project: Aims to increase flows to the lake through voluntary water transactions whereby farmers lease water to the state.

  • RFA for Turf Removal Funding: Additional funding for turf removal initiatives to increase conservation efforts.

  • RFA for Utah Growing Water Smart Program: Accelerate efforts of local governments to incorporate water-smart planning into land use planning processes and increase the availability of qualified water-wise landscape practitioners. 

 

The Utah House Democrats remain steadfast in their commitment to enacting meaningful change to ensure the security of Utah’s water future. Through collaboration, innovation, and advocacy, the Caucus is hopeful for a future where Utah’s water ecosystem is more sustainable and reliable."

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February 9, 2024

Utah House Democratic Leadership Team on Governor Cox Sending Utah National Guard, Troopers to U.S. Southern Border

 

“We disagree with the governor’s decision to deploy troops to the Texas border and respectfully call for a reevaluation of this action. The deployment of Utah National Guard members and state troopers, expected to cost taxpayers $150,000, raises significant concerns, particularly if extended. 

 

It’s imperative to emphasize that the portrayal of the humanitarian border crisis as solely marked by an influx of people and drugs is grossly misleading. A significant number of arrivals consist of asylum seekers fleeing dire circumstances, while drugs often enter through legal border crossings. Comprehensive immigration reform is urgently needed to address the multifaceted challenges at the border effectively. Deploying troops fails to address the underlying issues, in no way addresses the underlying crisis, and ensures missed opportunities to pursue truly meaningful solutions.

 

We firmly believe that it is not in the best interest of our state for the governor to allocate state resources. Instead, he should continue to urge our federal delegation to prioritize and enact comprehensive immigration reform. We advocate for a more thoughtful approach that prioritizes the well-being of Utah taxpayers and those seeking asylum.”

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February 8, 2024

Utah House Democrats Call for Immediate Resignation of Utah School Board Member Natalie Cline

 

“Jan Graham, who served as Utah’s Attorney General from 1993 to 2001, holds a significant place in Utah’s political history as the most recent Democrat to occupy a statewide elected position. As a founding member of Women Lawyers of Utah, she tirelessly advocated for the rights of women in the legal profession. 

 

Throughout her tenure, Graham dedicated herself to championing the welfare of Utahns, leading notable efforts such as securing billions of dollars in tobacco company settlement funds and combating child and spouse abuse. She was a steadfast advocate for speaking directly with the people, prioritizing their voices over political interests. 

 

Graham’s election marked a historic moment in Utah’s political landscape, as she became the first woman in the state to be elected to a statewide office. Her campaigns against family violence, unwavering commitment to protecting children, and emphasis on victims rights in the criminal justice system have left an enduring mark on Utah’s legal and social fabric. 

 

As we mourn her passing, we honor Jan Graham’s enduring legacy of advocacy and service, which continues to inspire us all.”

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February 1, 2024

Utah House Democratic Leader Angela Romero Reflects on the Legacy of Former Utah Attorney General Jan Graham After Her Passing61

 

“Jan Graham, who served as Utah’s Attorney General from 1993 to 2001, holds a significant place in Utah’s political history as the most recent Democrat to occupy a statewide elected position. As a founding member of Women Lawyers of Utah, she tirelessly advocated for the rights of women in the legal profession. 

 

Throughout her tenure, Graham dedicated herself to championing the welfare of Utahns, leading notable efforts such as securing billions of dollars in tobacco company settlement funds and combating child and spouse abuse. She was a steadfast advocate for speaking directly with the people, prioritizing their voices over political interests. 

 

Graham’s election marked a historic moment in Utah’s political landscape, as she became the first woman in the state to be elected to a statewide office. Her campaigns against family violence, unwavering commitment to protecting children, and emphasis on victims rights in the criminal justice system have left an enduring mark on Utah’s legal and social fabric. 

 

As we mourn her passing, we honor Jan Graham’s enduring legacy of advocacy and service, which continues to inspire us all.”

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January 26, 2024

Utah House Democratic Caucus Calls on the Governor to Veto HB 257 and 261

 

To the communities in Utah affected by the passage of HB 257 Sex-Based Designations for Privacy, Anti-Bullying, and Women’s Opportunities and HB 261 Equal Opportunity Initiatives, we stand with you and will actively continue the fight for your rights.

 

We sincerely thank everyone who has come to the Capitol, commented in committees, and contacted legislators. We have heard your voices and appreciate your support against these bills.

 

Governor Cox, we urge you to actively veto these bills, as they will have uninteded consequences on Utah’s communities. We urge you not ot actively contribute to the development of a Utah where individuals are apprehensive and exercising fundamental human rights and where conversations around race are actively suppressed. 

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January 19, 2024

Utah House Democratic Caucus on HB 261 Equal Opportunity Initiatives

The passing of HB 261 Equal Opportunity Initiatives by the Utah House of Representatives during the week dedicated to honoring Dr. King’s legacy is disheartening. We are witnessing the advancement of a bill that appears to be designed to suppress conversations around race, disregarding the fact that minorities feel targeted and underrepresented in government. It is important to ensure there is representation in all spaces that allows the views of minority communities to be heard. By eliminating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, this bill is depriving our brothers and sisters of spaces where they feel a sense of belonging. 

 

The bill’s claim that DEI is a discriminatory practice is unfounded and overlooks the importance of acknowledging our racist history and addressing persistent systemic racism. Systemic racism is often hidden, especially from those who are not directly affected by it. It represents the way inequality becomes ingrained and sustained within societal systems, institutions, and structures. This extends beyond individual acts of racism and is deeply embedded in policies, practices, and norms, resulting in disparate opportunities and outcomes for minority groups. Systemic racism can manifest in various areas such as education, employment, criminal justice, healthcare, housing, and more. 

 

Contrary to misconceptions, DEI goes beyond race; it creates inclusive environments for women, first-generation students, and those with disabilities. These initiatives are essential in higher education, providing opportunities for underrepresented populations and contributing to diversity in professional and community spaces. It is evident that our public institutions, including schools and local governments, should not become battlegrounds for political ideologies. Instead, we should focus on investigating the numerous claims of racism in our schools and empowering elected officials to build inclusive communities. 

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are not discriminatory; they are vital tools in acknowledging and rectifying our racist history. These initiatives are instrumental in creating a more just and inclusive society that embraces the richness of our differences. Thank you to everyone who has spoken out about this bill. We will continue to stand against the erasure of DEI initiatives and join you in amplifying our voices for progress.

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January 17, 2024

Utah House Democratic Leadership Team on HB 257 Sex-Based Designations for Privacy, Anti-Bullying, and Women’s Opportunities 

 

Today, the House Business and Labor Standing Committee debated HB 257, a bill that directly threatens the trans community by infringing on their privacy rights and denying them the fundamental dignity of affirming their gender identity. This legislation, which restricts trans individuals from using facilities aligned with their gender identity, not only perpetuates discrimination but also denies them basic human rights. 

 

While purportedly designed to prevent hypothetical scenarios, this bill poses a significant risk to our trans community which is already experiencing alarming rates of victimization. Despite evidence indicating that allowing trans individuals access to facilities matching their gender identity in no way compromises public safety, the legislation contributes to stigmatization and harassment, worsening the challenges faced by the transgender community. Notably, during the committee proceedings, the sponsor failed to provide concrete information, police reports, or any documents justifying their belief that allowing trans people to use facilities corresponding to their gender identity raises public safety concerns. 

 

Beyond infringing on the basic human rights of trans individuals, this bill carries severe consequences for our state. If enacted, it jeopardizes federal funding and may lead to additional expenditures in litigation due to blaring constitutional concerns. Enacting laws based on hypothetical issues with real-life consequences is not only unjust but also careless. 

 

Utah’s lawmakers must recognize and appropriately respond to the genuine impact of this bill on individuals in our state. Advocating for inclusivity and respect is not just a choice; it is essential for building a society that values the dignity and rights of every individual regardless of their gender identity.

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January 16, 2024

Utah House Democratic Caucus Unveils 2024 Legislative Priorities for a More Inclusive and Resilient Future

As the 45-day Legislative Session unfolds, the Utah House Democratic Caucus stands dedicated to representing the interests of all Utahns. Their commitment extends to enacting legislation that prioritizes the welfare and prosperity of each Utahn. The caucus’s 2024 Legislative Priorities serve as a guiding framework, advancing initiatives focused on education equity, environmental sustainability, and the dismantling of systems of inequality. 

 

Utah House Minority Leader Angela Romero shares, “We will champion policies that prioritize the welfare and prosperity of every individual in our great state. Crafted with careful consideration of the diverse needs and aspirations of the people we proudly serve, our 2024 Legislative Priorities underscore the significance of unity and collaboration in addressing the challenges that lie ahead. Our collective goal is to shape a future that embodies the values most crucial to our communities - one that is inclusive, just, and resilient. In addition to our outlined priorities, we are resolute in our commitment to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) both in higher education and our communities. We firmly believe in creating a state where every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or identity, feels valued, respected, and protected under the law.”

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