Legislative scorecard: How did Southern Utah lawmakers vote on the issues that readers followed the most?

Utah Capitol | Photo courtesy of desertsolitaire via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Stronger beer, service animals, abortion and a resolution on new gun laws were among the issues St. George News readers watched the most during the recent legislative session that wrapped up earlier this month. While these and other issues caught the attention of readers, just how did Southern Utah’s representatives and senators vote on them?

People look on as the Utah Legislature went into session Dec. 3, 2018, in Salt Lake City to consider changes to a voter-approved ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana. | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

Featured below are the top-eight measures that St. George News readers followed the most, along with how their local representatives voted.


Stronger beer

Senate Bill 132, originally meant to replace 3.2 beer sold in grocery and convenience stores with 4.8 beer. A compromise passed in the Legislature will allow 4.0 beer to be sold in grocery and convince stores instead.

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How did Southern Utah’s representatives vote?

The Border Store on North State Street began selling beer in May after liquor licensing was approved, Hildale, Utah, July 25, 2018 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Sens. Evan Vickers, Don Ipson, David Hinkins and Ralph Okerlund each voted in favor of the bill.

Reps. Travis Seegmiller, Brad Last, Lowry Snow, Walt Brooks, Rex Shipp and Phil Lyman also voted for the bill. Rep. Merrill Nelson voted against it.


Who can own title insurance companies

Senate Bill 121 repeals a law that prohibited mortgage and realty companies owning title insurance companies. Consumer advocates argued the bill would harm homebuyers and sellers as title insurance agents would no longer be independent, third-party agents. Supporters said the bill promotes competition and allows for the creation of a convenient one-stop-shop environment for clients.

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How did Southern Utah’s representatives vote?

Sens. Evan Vickers, Don Ipson and Ralph Okerlund each voted in favor of the bill. Sen. David Hinkins voted against it.

Reps. Brad Last, Lowry Snow, Walt Brooks, Rex Shipp, Merrill Nelson and Phil Lyman voted against the bill. Rep. Travis Seegmiller was absent for the vote.


Lying about service animals

House Bill 43 penalizes renters for lying about owning an emotional support animal for the benefit of both landlords and people with legitimate disabilities. Offenders face a class B misdemeanor under the new law.

Stock image | Photo by Kerkez/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Read more: Lawmakers advance bill penalizing people for lying about emotional support animals

How did Southern Utah’s representatives vote?

Sens. Evan Vickers, Don Ipson, Ralph Okerlund and David Hinkins each voted in favor of the bill.

Reps. Brad Last, Lowry Snow, Walt Brooks, Rex Shipp, Merrill Nelson, Phil Lyman and Travis Seegmiller also voted in favor of the bill.


Abortion: Down syndrome and 18 week ban

House Bill 166 bans the abortion of a fetus based solely on a diagnosis of Down syndrome. However, the law will only go into effect if a similar law is upheld in court elsewhere.

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How did Southern Utah’s representatives vote?

Sens. Evan Vickers, Ralph Okerlund and David Hinkins each voted in favor of the bill.

Reps. Brad Last, Lowry Snow, Rex Shipp, Merrill Nelson, Phil Lyman and Travis Seegmiller also voted in favor of the bill.

Photo by sunaluk/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Rep. Walt Brooks and Sen. Don Ipson were absent during the third and final vote on the bill in the House and Senate, yet did vote in favor of the bill during a prior vote.

It is legislative procedure for a bill in the Utah House and Senate to be read up to three times and voted on during the second and third readings on the floor, with the second vote often being an indicator of the third and final vote will go.

House Bill 136 bans abortions in Utah at 18 weeks. The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah has called the measure unconstitutional and has promised to bring a lawsuit against the state over it.

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How did Southern Utah’s representatives vote?

Sens. Evan Vickers, Don Ipson, Ralph Okerlund and David Hinkins each voted in favor of the bill.

Reps. Brad Last, Lowry Snow, Rex Shipp, Merrill Nelson, Phil Lyman, Walt Brooks and Travis Seegmiller also voted in favor of the bill.


Utah already has good guns laws

House Joint Resolution 7, which did not survive the Legislature, called on lawmakers to consider the state’s existing 20-plus gun laws before proposing something new.

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Stock photo, St. George News

How did Southern Utah’s representatives vote?

The bill did not reach the Senate for a vote; however Reps. Brad Last, Lowry Snow, Rex Shipp, Merrill Nelson, Phil Lyman, Walt Brooks and Travis Seegmiller each voted in favor of the resolution.


Medicaid expansion

Senate Bill 96 extended Medicaid to about 50,000 fewer people than Proposition 3, the ballot measure approved by voters last November.

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How did Southern Utah’s representatives vote?

Sens. Evan Vickers, Don Ipson, Ralph Okerlund and David Hinkins each voted in favor of the bill.

Reps. Brad Last, Lowry Snow, Rex Shipp, Merrill Nelson, Phil Lyman, Walt Brooks and Travis Seegmiller also voted in favor of the bill.


Hate crimes

Senate Bill 103 adds sexual orientation, gender identity and other traits to the list of protected characteristics under Utah’s hate crimes law. Supporters of the bill say the new law is actually enforceable as opposed to the existing law it amended.

Stock image | Photo by FOTOKITA/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

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How did Southern Utah’s representatives vote?

Sens. Evan Vickers and David Hinkins voted for the bill. Sens. Don Ipson and Ralph Okerlund voted against it.

Reps. Brad Last, Lowry Snow, Rex Shipp and Merrill Nelson voted for the bill. Reps. Phil Lyman, Walt Brooks and Travis Seegmiller voted against it.

St. George News Reporter Mikayla Shoup contributed to this article.

Read more: See all St. George News reports and opinions on Utah Legislature 2019 issues

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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