Nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes, and legislators are tackling both in Week 5 of the session. This week we talk with reporter Whittney Evans about some surprise backers of a new death penalty repeal effort. We also look at the state's big budget surplus and try to divine what lawmakers might do with all that extra scratch. The Utah Legislature's bluest member Sen. Jim Dabakis announces he's done after this session, joining several other incumbents on their way out the door, like Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, our featured guest on 'Better Know a Lawmaker.'
Bills & Issues Mentioned in this Episode:
- A bill to repeal the death penalty got a surprise boost from Gov. Gary Herbert, who said he might consider signing it. This comes three years after Herbert signed a law reinstating the firing squad
- The state has a big surplus this year, but what will they spend it on? And will they give Utahns a tax cut? It is an election year, after all
- Lawmakers are pushing for more transparency when it comes to inmate deaths at county jails in the state
- Sen. Jim Dabakis says adios
- A bill to restrict non-compete clauses used by some TV broadcasters advances
- Women can breastfeed anytime, anywhere according to legislation passed by the House
- Sen. Dabakis does a little day drinking to try to convince lawmakers to tweak the state's .05 DUI law passed last session (and going into effect at the end of this year)
Better Know A Lawmaker: Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D-Salt Lake City)
Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck has represented District 24, covering the avenues and part of downtown Salt Lake, since 2008. She has decided that this will be her last session on the Hill. She hopes to return to being an advocate on several issues she's passionate about. That includes legislation she's tried unsuccessfully to implement over the years — such as her end of life options act, ranked-choice voting and independent redistricting. Chavez-Houck said it's been challenging being in the minority party on the Hill, but she feels she's started some important conversations.