Capitol Report from Representative Mark Lawson

It’s currently Thursday afternoon, and we have reached the first milestone of this legislative session. Deadline week is now over. For the first four weeks of session, Representatives and Senators spend most of their time working to pass their bills out of committee so that they can be heard before the entire House or Senate. In the House alone, there were 1,744 bills filed for consideration. Only 460 passed.

We were able to pass many bills out of committee that were priorities to people of the state. Some of these include:

HB1780: This bill gives teachers an additional $1,200 pay raise. Bringing our average teacher salary to #1 in the region was a priority of both Governor Stitt and the Legislature. This bill (according to NEA numbers) would bring us to #1 regionally. I proudly coauthored and voted for this bill.

HBs2479-2483: These bills fundamentally restructure our state departments and agencies by giving the Governor the ability to hire/fire agency directors and set their salaries. They also restructure the boards of these agencies and give the legislature more oversight. Making agencies more transparent and accountable to elected officials is necessary to create a more efficient government that is beholden to the people. Accountability in state government was the most important issue to the voters of District 30, so I am happy to report that I coauthored all of these measures as well.

Personally, I filed 8 bills, all of which have passed through committee. While all of them are good policy, there are two among them that I hope make it to the Governor’s desk to become law.

HB1275: This bill creates the Child Safety Registry. Any adult who has a substantiated case of shocking or heinous child abuse will be added to the Registry. This Registry will be kept private and accessed only through background checks for individuals who apply to work or volunteer with children (schools, day cares, after school programs, etc.). Keeping our children safe is of utmost importance.

HB1276: Divorce can be ugly and brutal, especially when minor children are involved. This bill directs courts to grant equal shared parenting time to both parents in custody cases involving children, and sets this standard as “the best interest of the child”. The court is allowed, however, to deviate from this standard with just cause if equal parenting time is deemed to NOT be in the best interest of the child. Too often, children are kept from one parent or the other simply because of an arbitrary ruling by a judge.

Parents deserve time with their children, and children deserve a relationship with both parents. Strengthening our families has always been my top priority and I will continue to fight for our families here at the Capitol.

I look forward to diving into the budget moving forward. Just last week, the Board of Equalization reported a $575 million surplus. This is great news for our state. I will continue to advocate for more money into the classrooms, prevention services to help keep our families together, and funding core functions of government.

Your input matters to me. Please contact me with your questions or concerns.


Office: (405) 557-7414
Cell: (918) 640-1858


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