Park City readies social equity plank in Utah Statehouse lobbying strategy
January 15, 2019
Park City leaders on Tuesday were expected to modify the municipal platform underpinning City Hall's work at the Statehouse, a move designed to add the ideal of social equity to the lobbying efforts.
City Hall lobbying at the Statehouse operates under a set of policy guidelines that were drafted to support the role of a local government. The addition of a social equity plank in the overall legislative platform would jibe with City Hall's own ideals.
City Hall staffers prepared the guidelines in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting that was scheduled on Tuesday evening.
Staffers wanted the elected officials to add a clause under the list of ideals City Hall generally supports. The clause read: "legislation that fosters understanding in our diverse communities and promotes equitable access to resources for all residents." The staffers also wanted the elected officials to add a clause under the list of ideals City Hall generally opposes. It read: "legislation that impedes the equitable administration of public services, justice, and social well-being."
Matt Dias, the assistant Park City manager and the staffer who leads the municipal efforts at the Statehouse, said City Hall's lobbying is based on the platform. He called the platform the "fundamental tenets" of the City Hall lobbying.
The City Council earlier elevated the ideal of social equity to a critical priority for the municipal government. The decision to elevate social equity triggered a change in the municipal work plan to incorporate the topic into the day-to-day business.
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The elected officials say it is important to press social equity at a time when some in the community are worried about issues like affordability, housing and social services. There is concern some Parkites were left behind as many in the community enjoyed a strong exit from the depths of the recession.
Other ideals outlined in the platform that City Hall generally supports include:
• legislation that "leads to greater financial independence" from Washington, D.C., and the Statehouse as well as protects Park City from the control of the federal government or the Statehouse.
• legislation that maintains "maximum local flexibility in all areas of its day-to-day responsibilities, municipal operations, and local land use authority."
• legislation that pushes for representation on boards and commissions that is fair and based on representation that is proportionate
Other ideals included in the platform that City Hall generally opposes include:
• legislation that "makes the City more dependent on Federal, State, and other governmental agencies for policy direction.
• legislation that is designed to interfere with local-government control over issues impacting planning and zoning as well as public safety
• legislation that "imposes intrusive, unnecessary or unfunded mandates that preempts local authority."
Park City leaders have long held similar ideals in City Hall's dealings with the Statehouse. They have argued for years against legislation that they see as Statehouse meddling in issues that should be left to leaders on the local level. One recent example involved an unsuccessful legislative effort to overturn Park City's ban on plastic bags.
The legislative session is scheduled to start on Jan. 28 and last until March 14. Park City officials typically provide frequent updates during the session about bills of note to the municipal government.