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Senator Winterton Preparing For First Legislative Session


District 26’s State Senator Ronald Winterton is preparing for his first legislative session at the end of this month. The state senator is in the early stages of drafting legislation to improve efficiently in state departments.

Senator Winterton says he’s been approached to run a few bills but he’s wading through those waters cautiously.

“I’ve had several people call and offer some legislation for me to run. Not having been in some of the committee hearings and that I’d just as soon back away from those. I know that there’s several water bills, they wanted me to run three of them. I’m not comfortable with that because I wasn’t in on the discussion. Coming into the movie halfway through and trying to put the front part of the movie together. Right now, I’ll be opening a couple of bill files and a couple of box cars. We are working on things will it make it through this session? That’s yet to be determined. I’ve got two protected bills and we’re going to wait and see because there are some things in the works from other bills.”

Senator Winterton explained that protected bills allow legislators to fine-tune their bills before they’re presented.

“What it is that you haven’t got the language formulated yet. If you’re going to attack a bill before you even know what it’s in, it’s giving us a chance to get some input so that there is something that we can have conversations about. If people want to have a conversation about a concept, they’ll kill it before you even get it out for discussion. A protected bill is that I reserve the right to put the language in there before I put it out there for people to review.”

One potential bill would look at efficiency in state departments.

“There’s a couple of departments in the state that need to be revamped. I’m an outsider, but I have been observing, there needs to be some tweaking to the efficiency of those departments. To have it be the direction that the one bill would go is to tweak the operations. I think that sometimes when you create a department you put them under some other department and maybe that’s not the best place. I mean over the years, and I’ll just give you an example, workforce services and housing development they kind of go together but then again, they have separate paths. Sometimes workforce services have been moved around, and who do they answer to? Is there a better fit for them? Natural resources, there’s seven different departments that answers to one director and we’ve kind of clumped them all together. Is there a more efficient way? I realized that’s a lot of responsibility for one guy to have seven big departments to report to him and then he is the one that is responsible to the governor to answer for all those. I just think that sometimes maybe we need to have somebody closer to the work.”

The state senator says that he doesn’t have outside influence guiding his decisions, just his previous experience in local government.

“As county officials we’ve talked about if we were king for the day what would we change or how could we make it more efficient. Those are conversations that have gone on for years and so now I’m in a position that I can do something about it or make a change. Is it appropriate to do it? I need to look at the operation at the department to see why they’re doing what they are and if it is efficient then it’s not appropriate to try to change something that is efficient. That comes from just looking on over the years as the state makes laws. It impacts the locals more than the state officials. Sometimes they’re just out on a limb. If it’s not good for the whole state, it’s not good legislation.”

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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