As we continue to bask in the glory of a successful 2016 Legislative Session, it is time to turn our thoughts to 2017 (yes, really). This week, UAC held the first of many meetings regarding the 2017 Legislative Session. On Wednesday, UAC staff, county assessors, officials from the Tax Commission, and representatives from the Farm Bureau met to discuss greenbelt issues.
While the successes of 2016 are significant there is still plenty of work needed on county related issues. We continue to grapple with infrastructure funding as our state in-migration continues to test the limits of existing infrastructure, particularly in the areas of water and transportation. Chronic homelessness in many of our urban counties, and statewide substance abuse issues also continue to be significant hurdles in front of our local elected officials.
Couple that with a softening economy, particularly in the extractive industries and, and we definitely have our work cut out. Fortunately, our partnership with the State of Utah continues to develop, and in 2016 there was a clear recognition of the role each of us must play in the partnership. Significant legislative commitments were made in jail contracting and reimbursement. Continued efforts were made on the issue of Justice Reinvestment. Counties received additional transportation dollars, and many still have additional local-option funding options that were granted by the legislature. Additionally a major step forward on Medicaid Expansion was made that will directly impact county safety net services for our most vulnerable populations.
So, in our effort to use the momentum gained in 2016, here are a few items we anticipate for 2017:
- Governmental immunity and tort cap limit review
- Online/remote sales tax collections
- Possible expansion of Medicaid to cover additional members
- JRI coordination, funding and next steps
- Medicaid expansion discussions
- Medicaid match and possible reorganization
- Jail contracting/ reimbursement/programming and relationship to JRI
- Indigent defense
- Sentencing reform related issues
- Public sector retirement
- Role and taxing authority of special districts
- Transfer on Death recording issues
- Election recodification effort
- Water development Funding
- Homelessness services funding
- Air quality issues
- PLI/public lands/National Monument issues
- Greenbelt issues
- Civil asset forfeiture
These are just a few of the many things we plan to tackle and address in the lead up to 2017. If you have interest in these categories, please let us know so that we can make sure you are looped in to the effort.