Legislature considers issues that might impact San Juan County
The Utah State Legislature is in full session in Salt Lake City, with a number of issues that may impact San Juan County.
The 75 members of the Utah House of Representatives include the first San Juan County resident to serve in 16 years, Representative Phil Lyman.
Lyman is on a number of committees, including serving as Vice Chairman of the Government Operations Committee. He is also serving on the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee and its Appropriations Sub Committee
On February 1, Lyman chaired a meeting of the Government Operations Committee which considered House Bill 93, County Formation Amendments. The bill sponsor, Rep. Kim Coleman of West Valley City, described the bill as “fairly simple, but it can have great impact.”
The bill would clarify the process of forming a new county. Testimony included statements for and opposed to the bill, with Rep. Coleman stating that a number of clarifications needed to be made. She added, “We are not there yet,” on the final bill.
The bill passed through the committee with a 7-2-2 vote, the first step in a long process for a bill to become law. The legislature meets annually for a 45-day session. The session will run through March 14.
San Juan County Commissioners were at the legislature in the past week.
Commissioner Bruce Adams appeared before a Special Appropriations Committee to request state funding to help address the legal costs of recent lawsuits faced by the county. The request was sponsored by Senator Ralph Okerlund.
Adams explained that the county spent almost one quarter of its general operating budget on legal fees in 2018.
He explained that the legal challenges faced by the county have implications for every county in the state and requested the state pay up to one half of the legal fees. The request will be ranked and considered by the Executive Appropriations Committee.
Commissioner Willie Grayeyes testified at a hearing regarding a bill that would require counties and other political subdivisions in the state to consult the legislature before pursuing legislation involving federal land.