Pension reform, Medicaid reform and …….. a little bit more.
Posts Tagged ‘Dan Liljenquist’
Governing Magazine recently named Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist (R-Bountiful) the legislative Public Official of the Year. Dubbed “The Change Agent” by Governing, Liljenquist was honored for his work as the architect of two of Utah’s most significant pieces of legislation in recent memory – pension and Medicaid reform.
The Public Officials of the Year awards – given out to a handful of national leaders every year since 1994 – have become the nation’s preeminent honor for state and local officials. Congratulatory messages came from all over the state and the nation, including Governor Gary Herbert, Senator Mike Lee and Congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop.
Senator Liljenquist was quick to praise his fellow legislators. “I’m proud of all my colleagues who put long term financial responsibility above short term concerns,” he said. “This is a victory for the State of Utah.”
His colleagues were equally quick to praise him. Senate President Michael Waddoups, (R-Taylorsville), who said “This recognition says a lot about Dan, but it also says a great deal about the State of Utah. In other places, innovators like Dan are relegated to the back bench. Here, smart ideas carry the day.” Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero offered his congratulations and remarked: “Senator Liljenquist’s leadership, attention to detail, and focus on fiscal sustainability has served the State of Utah well.”
Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins stated the obvious – that Senator Liljenquist was willing to tackle some of the “sacred cows” in today’s political arena. “Dan has crafted articulate solutions to intractable problems – said by some to be political suicide – and he has done so in a
way that has become model legislation for others to replicate,” said Senator Jenkins. “Fiscal responsibility is an issue that is at the forefront of every state in the nation right now. We can find solutions. All we need is the courage and good will to make them work.”
The Standard-Examiner ran a story with the headline “Sen. Liljenquist tabbed “Best and Brightest” while the Trib noted that “State Sen. Dan Liljenquist was named the top legislator in the United States.” The Deseret News ran a glowing editorial about Utah’s success story, saying in part that “Utah has managed to take care of long-term systemic problems in ways that make other states envious.”
It is this type of real reform and forward thinking that make Utah the best-managed state in the nation. It’s time we had that kind of political courage and leadership in DC.
Public Policy Polling (PPP) recently surveyed Utah voters on potential Senate match-ups in a general election. They found that Matheson could be a serious contender in a race with either Hatch or Chaffetz. The polling – by one of the most accurate companies out there – found that in a head-to-head competition, Senator Hatch and Congressman Matheson would start out virtually deadlocked, 44-45. A race between Chaffetz and Matheson shows a 5 point advantage for Matheson – 42-47.
The polling also shows approval ratings of under 50% for both Republicans – 46% for Hatch, 43% for Chaffetz – but a whopping 59% for Matheson. Matheson gets almost all of the Dem vote, a heavy majority of the independent/unaffiliated vote and STILL manages to capture 23% of the Republican vote against Chaffetz and 20% against Hatch.
To quote PPP, “If Matheson runs it will certainly be the most national attention a political race in Utah has drawn in many, many years.” It also highlights room in the Senate race for another GOP contender, someone like Senator Dan Liljenquist. Senator Liljenquist reformed Utah’s pension and Medicaid programs and has saved the state billions in just 2 years. He could make this race even more interesting than it already is.
Entitlement reform, immigration, DOMA and government regulation of reincarnation. Seriously.
*Wisconsin runaway Senators put spotlight on the state that got it right – Utah. Last year’s pension reforms have become model legislation across the nation. Senator Dan Liljenquist quotes John Kenneth Galbraith in saying: “Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” Wisconsin shows what can happen when you put off the unpalatable. Sen Liljenquist // KSL
*Speaking of Senator Liljenquist, his Medicaid reform bill passed out of the Senate unanimously on both the second and third readings. It is expected to pass through the House with little opposition. Trib
*Showing China totally gets the proper role of government, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.” HuffPo
*President Obama has instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that parts of the law are unconstitutional. Attorney General Eric Holder has been asked to no longer argue in support of DOMA, saying there is not a “reasonable” argument for the federal government to defend. “While both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court,” Holder said. The Hill
*Falling into the category of “politics make strange bedfellows,” the Utah House passed Rep Bill Wright’s proposed guest worker program on the heels of passing the Sandstrom bill. It was an interesting discussion, as this time, Democrats stood to speak in favor of pushing the feds and wondering “Where’s the Line” and some of the most conservative legislators pointed out we were poking the feds in the eye. On a personal note, I voted for this bill. I also voted for the Sandstrom bill. Neither one is perfect, but I am also VERY uncomfortable with “enforcement only” and in the end, had to agree with Rep Wright that this is a starting point. Trib
*In other immigration news, Senator Robles’ bill also passed out of committee and is on to the Senate floor. The measure – co-sponsored by Republican Rep Jeremy Peterson – provides for two types of “accountability” permits: Type A for undocumented immigrants age 18 and older who have lived in the state for at least 18 months and type B for new arrivals who can demonstrate arrangements for work in Utah. It also includes provisions for English proficiency and a criminal background check. Deseret News
Lots of news today. Medicaid reform meets no resistance, fear of a con-con kills a bill, Lee refuses to back Hatch and Chaffetz on the hot seat for his cot.
*Utah’s Medicaid reforms take their first big step forward when the Senate Business and Labor committee passed Senator Dan Liljenquist‘s bill out unanimously. The bill would put into place some anchor legislation to reign in exploding costs. The bill prioritizes managed care over fee for services, it limits growth and ties it to the state budget, it establishes evidence-based standards of care and sets up a Medicaid rainy-day fund. KSL
*Rep Brad Daw’s proposal to call for an Article V amendment convention was defeated in committee. Disagreements abound as to whether the Article V process is the same as a Constitutional convention. In an interesting twist, the Eagle Forum opposed the bill, but almost all of the very conservative Patrick Henry Caucus supported it. Trib // Des News
*The Utah House blog addresses feral cats ala Colbert and providing more echo chamber, they link to several legislators who blog. Vox Populi
*The Utah Senate approved legislation Thursday banning the possession of spice and so-called Ivory Wave, aka bath salts, both substances that lawmakers say are being abused by children. It appears there is no limit to the creative ways one can find to abuse oneself. Des News
*As expected, the State School Board backed away from recommending that the School for the Deaf and the Blind be closed. Trib
*Back in DC, Senator Mike Lee pointedly refuses to endorse Senator Orrin Hatch in the 2012 Senate race – but also says he won’t endorse anyone else, either. The Hill
*Congressman Jason Chaffetz has a watchdog group up in arms about his sleeping arrangements. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics on Tuesday requesting a formal investigation of at least 33 House members who supposedly sleep in their Capitol Hill offices during the week, all of whom are men. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress,” said the head of the group. I must have missed the part where holding federal office requires paying DC rent or taking on another mortgage. Trib
*According to Politico, Jon Huntsman Jr is hiring for his Horizon PAC, which will build the infrastructure for a campaign. The first two hires (both McCain veterans) are “communications advisers”
Tim Miller, 29, was a Glover Park Group director of public affairs for the past two years, and was lead digital strategist. In ’07, Miller was Iowa comms director for McCain. Jake Suski, 27, was adviser and spokesman for Chris Dudley’s campaign for Oregon governor; deputy comms director for Gov. Schwarzenegger; and comms director for Rick Snyder primary race for Michigan governor. Suski (a Matt David guy!) worked for Terry Nelson and was a regional finance director for the McCain primary campaign. He’s in Portland for a few more weeks, then back to Cally for a bit.
*And if none of that interests you, check out some of the Valentine’s Day ideas for you and your sweetheart this weekend. SLC About.com
A move to extend three provisions of the Patriot Act fails to reach 2/3 majority, the bill to redraw boundaries finally gets some movement, loosening car seat requirements a no-go, and Hatch continues to try and engage the tea party.
*A bill to extend 3 provisions of the Patriot Act failed to meet the threshold of 2/3 to move forward. Democrats were joined by conservative Republicans – including Rob Bishop of Utah – to defeat it. The Hill
*Senator Dan Liljenquist continues to garner attention for the pension reforms passed a year ago and his willingness to tackle Medicaid reform this year. One of the state’s fiscal analysts presented their estimate on cost-savings to the state – $770 million to the state in 7 years. Utah Policy Kansas Reporter
*SB 113, the bill to redraw the boundaries in District 57, finally saw some movement. It was substituted in committee and now includes language that would put into place the checks and balances we need to ensure this type of mistake does not happen again. Both former Rep Craig Frank and the current Rep spoke in favor of the bill. Daily Herald Des News
*A bill that would loosen booster seat regulations died in committee yesterday on a 6-5 vote. Sponsor Chris Herrod R-Provo spoke to parental rights but Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, said, “Convenience should never trump safety.” SL Trib
*Senator Orrin Hatch sat down with Senator Mike Lee and others at a forum held by the Tea Party Express. Hatch spoke of lessons learned during his long tenure in the Senate and following the meeting, he commented on tea partiers. “I think the more they look at it the more they realize ‘How do you get somebody as good as he is?’ ” Senator Lee remarked: “With all due respect to those who have served in this body over the last few decades, our money has not been well-managed.” Politico Trib
*A bill allowing “cake” fireworks passed out of the Utah House yesterday. Those fireworks are ones that stay on the ground but shoot sparks higher than 15 feet in the air. Bottle rockets, roman candles, firecrackers and cherry bombs are still illegal. Des News
Today is the first day of the 45 day legislative session for 2011. Fasten your seatbelts – it’s likely to be quite the roller coaster!
*As the session gets underway, here’s an overview of what you can expect from the Senate, including a clear explanation of LST – Legislator Standard Time. Believe me – it only takes once on the Hill to learn that LST is very real. Senate Site
*Speaking of the Senate, one of Utah’s rising stars is Senator Dan Liljenquist of Bountiful. Some people are drawn to politics because they want to BE something. Others are drawn to it because they want to DO something. Senator Liljenquist is definitely a doer. The young, energetic freshman has already tackled pension reform and this year has set his sights on Medicaid reform. Deseret News
*Chris Vanocur hosts Robert Gehrke of the Salt Lake Tribune, Josh Loftin of the AP, Bob Bernick of Utah Policy Daily and yours truly as we preview the 20112 legislative session. Topics discussed include Utah’s new Speaker, illegal immigration, Medicaid reform, land use bills, social media and more. Robert Gehrke pointed out that blogs can’t line newspapers. Um yeah. He’ll never live it down. On the Record, part 1, part 2, and part 3.
*Want to follow the legislative session in short bursts? Turn to Twitter. 19 Utah lawmakers are currently using Twitter (although most of them are relatively inactive). To stay up-to-date, follow the #utpol and #utleg hashtags. Daily Herald
*The Utah GOP has new leadership at the top. Previous chair, Dave Hansen, and vice-chair Kitty Dunn, resigned to work on Senator Orrin Hatch’s campaign. State central committee members met Saturday morning and chose Thomas Wright as chair, Christy Achziger as the vice-chair and Dana Dickson as the secretary, taking over for Achziger. SL Tribune
*Pignanelli and Webb provide a translation guide for interpreting politi-speak. Pretty funny stuff, like: Rep. Carl Wimmer: “The Patrick Henry Caucus is ready to fight for conservative values and guns.” (“What a great opportunity to consolidate support for my congressional campaign among tea party people.”) or this from Democratic legislators: “We provide an important voice and constructive balance in legislative deliberations.” (“We’re here! We exist! Please call on us once in a while.”) Deseret News
*Because the federal government apparently did not get the message that the American people is tired of government intervention into the marketplace, the Obama administration is starting a billion-dollar government drug development center. Don’t worry, though – Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health assures us that none of it is intended to compete with the private market. New York Times
*In a smack-down with the state, a federal judge will not reconsider the arguments of several rural Utah counties and large energy development companies. They sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar over 77 withdrawn oil and gas leases. SL Tribune
*Saying for months that the federal government was “too big and too expensive”, Senator Mike Lee campaigned on ending government bailouts, handouts and unconstitutional programs. Last week, he went on KUER and reaffirmed his position that FEMA was unconstitutional and should not be funded with taxpayer dollars. Four days later, he said in relation to the recent flooding in St George: “That money is there. It’s been appropriated for disaster relief, and I see no reason why Utah ought not be entitled to receive such federal funds.” KUER Deseret News
*Citing former Rep Craig Frank’s resignation on Friday, a local paper praises him for his integrity and asks the legislature to quickly redraw the boundary lines so that his name can appear on the ballot at Saturday’s special election. Daily Herald
Quick fix today
*Senator Dan Liljenquist points out that the bill is coming due to states across the nation. Out of money, out of creative financing ideas, states are finally knuckling down and addressing the bottom line. Sen Lilenquist
*One potential option to deal with the fiscal crisis faced by states is allowing them to declare bankruptcy and restructure their debt. New York Times
*San Francisco has an anticipated budget deficit of $360 million for the next year. In November, voters soundly defeated a measure to have public employees contribute more towards pensions and benefits. Every major elected official said fears about the pension fund were overblown, yet on Jan 4, an actuarial firm reported an unfunded liability of $1.6 billion – TRIPLE what it was just one year ago. The San Fran Employees’ Retirement System Administrator accordingly doled out surprise December bonuses to the tune of $170 million. NY Times
*Texting and walking are not always a good combination, as the viral YouTube video of a woman falling into a mall fountain shows. Certainly that was embarrassing, but actually, it all went downhill from there for Cathy Cruz Marrero. Thinking she’d grab her 15 minutes of fame, she went on Good Morning America and threatened to sue. She got media attention all right. She has a criminal history, including identity theft. Shortly following her GMA appearance, she was in court on five felony charges. Maybe flying under the radar would have been a better choice. ABC
*Eww! What’s that smell? Turns out, it was “chicken parts” in the heating ducts. A lobbyist in Colorado got mad at his ex, broke into her house, poured bleach into the piano and put raw chicken in the ducts. He could face 12 years in prison. MSNBC
Utah gets props from the Wall Street Journal and an F from NARAL. Legislative audits highlight problems with state-run parks and DCFS and one more US Senator is expected to announce his resignation.
*Senator Dan Liljenquist led the fight on pension reform and now Utah’s reforms are becoming the model legislation for states around the nation. WSJ
*State lawmakers continue to travel around the country – but they’re doing it on their own dime. From higher ed to pension reform to work with ALEC and NCSL, a number of state Senators are continuing work that benefits the state and aren’t charging the taxpayer. Kudos to them. Paul Rolly
*Utah gets an F – and it’s a good thing. NARAL Pro-Choice America released its annual report on Friday. Utah gets a big fat F, which means it ranks at the top of pro-life states. Good for us. CNS News
*Ouch. A legislative audit released yesterday shows that only 9 of 43 parks and only one of four golf courses bring in enough money to be self-sustaining. The audit recommends that four parks and one golf course be closed: Green River Golf Course, the Edge of the Cedars, the Territorial Statehouse, Frontier Homestead and Utah Field House Museum. Deseret News
*Another audit found that the David C vs Leavitt lawsuit of 1993 has made “DCFS (the Division of Child and Family Services) and court staff risk averse and led them to protect children in foster care more than in-home.” Foster care placements have increased 38% in the last decade while in home support of children and families at risk has decreased. Deseret News
*Senator Wayne Niederhauser pitches his bill on grading schools to Utah’s Education Excellence Commission. Niederhauser spoke previously to the State Board of Education that said it’s not a good time to implement such a system because they are in the middle of a curriculum overhaul. They also expressed concern that it was an oversimplification. KSL
*Another embattled US Senator is expected to announce his retirement today. Joe Lieberman, the Independent from Connecticut who caucuses with the Democrats, is holding a press conference at his home this afternoon. He will join Senator Conrad from ND and Senator Hutchison from Texas who announced their resignations during the last week. In the 2012 cycle, Dems will have to defend 23 seats while the GOP only has 10 up for re-election. The GOP only needs to net 3 seats to regain the majority. The Hill
*And if none of that interests you, well, here’s a little echo chamber piece on people who get up early to scan the news and compile the best stories into summaries to show to other people. Hmm. Who knew. New York Times
Safety and security still top the national news and spill over into Utah news. Craig Frank losing his seat to a clerical error continues to top Utah’s political news but Medicaid reform and the upcoming legislative session makes the news as well.
*The Utah Department of Public Safety said it will increase security for the 2011 session that begins in less than two weeks. More troopers will be present in the Capitol – and my guess is more legislators than ever will be packing heat. (h/t Ben Winslow) Fox 13
*One Democrat decided the Arizona shootings by a mentally ill man with a fascination for Mein Kampf were the perfect opportunity to do a little fundraising. Most politicians canceled their fundraising for the week. The Hill
*Republican Doug Lamborn, a Rep from Colorado, has re-introduced two bills that would cut off federal funding for NPR. Saying he enjoys much of NPR’s programming, he also points to a broad array of 500+ channels on cable TV and Internet via phone as proof that NPR is “completely unnecessary.” The Hill
*Medicaid advocates met with the Utah Health Policy Project to discuss changes to Medicaid being proposed in the upcoming session. On the table: a preferred drug list for psychiatric meds, emphasis on preventing chronic conditions, whistle-blower protection and Senator Dan Liljenquist’s proposal to curb Medicaid costs by restructuring how providers are paid. Deseret News
*Davis county legislators share insights and legislative plans with the Davis County Chamber. Worker’s comp for home businesses, Medicaid reform, UDOT payouts, teacher compensation and electronic waste recycling. Davis County Clipper
*Meanwhile in Washington County, the annual Dixie Economic Summit takes place this morning at the Dixie Center. The state’s big wigs will be there and to officially open the St George airport. That evening, GOP legislators will meet with the interested parties at 7 pm, Dixie Center, to talk about the upcoming session. St George Spectrum
*Utah House and Senate Republicans did not support a move to call a special session to address the error that led to former Representative Craig Frank unknowingly living outside his district. The governor can still call a special session to address this problem. Right now, an online push spear-headed by Craig Frank and Joel Wright, likely candidate for Frank’s former seat, is aimed at getting as many people as possible to call the governor. If you would like to weigh in on this issue, call 801-538-1000. Daily Herald ABC 4 SL Tribune