|Rep. Brad Johnson believes state parks are safe and better off than they have been. Goblin Valley is an Emery County State Park.|
The Natural Resource Committee has received funding for all state park requests. State parks are now better off than they've ever been. In addition to base budget which is approved, we'll now have $2 million for capital development, $729,000 on-going appropriation for park system on-going expenses. In the past this was a one time funding, which means it was required yearly, funding is now automatically given yearly. The original on-going cut of $299,000 will be restored, which removes the cause for concerns. My goal was to get additional funding for parks. State parks are now in good financial position and employees will be receiving a pay raise along with all public employees. As the co-chair of the Natural Resource Appropriations Committee, I feel this is one of the best years we've had for Natural Resources.
The committee funded the accreditation of the State Diagnostic Lab at USU, this will be important as we deal with animal diseases such as CWD in wildlife or BSE in cattle. The committee also authorized a "Roving Brand Inspector" to work specifically on cattle theft in remote areas of the state. He will be like "Chek Bowdrie" the famous Texas Ranger in the Louis L'Amour stories, maybe "Utah Ranger" would be a good title, look out cattle rustlers.
Here are a few of my bills that I have been working on this year: H.B. 182 (Historical Livestock Trails); This bill addresses historical livestock trails. It provides a defense for an owner of livestock whose livestock damages property abutting a historical livestock trail that is not fenced. It also enacts provisions allowing a prescriptive easement for a historical livestock trail. This bill is passed, it is waiting for the governors signature.
H.B. 188 (Beginning Teacher Enhancements); This bill creates a program to enhance the compensation of beginning teachers and provides money for teacher mentoring programs.
It was passed out of the House and was substituted in the Senate by Senator Stevenson,, which deleted the mentoring part of the bill and lowered the funding and made bonuses for beginning teachers instead of salary increases.
H.B. 308 (Archaeological Resources Amendments); This bill moves the function of the state historical preservation officer from the Division of State History to the Division of Wildlife Resources. This bill moves the state historical preservation officer, the state antiquities section, and the cultural sites review committee to the Division of Wildlife Resources within the Department of Natural Resources. This bill has passed through the House and is now in the Senate. There it was substituted to become H.B. 3rd Sub. 308, which clarifies the law to insure that decisions are balanced between preservation and progress and refers it to interim study to decide on organization. I was able to get 75,000 released for use at the Sevier Events Center for parking lot construction.
Thank you for your help and support, if you have any questions call at:
801-326-1552 or 801-326-1522. Thanks, Rep. Bradley T. Johnson