District 53 lawmaker is learning the ropes
Rep. Logan Wilde is sponsoring three bills
Freshman lawmaker Logan Wilde, who holds the District 53 seat in the Utah House of Representatives, says he is “just trying to get his feet wet” during his first few weeks of the legislative session.
Wilde, a Republican and former Morgan County Councilor, has enthusiastically embraced his new role in state politics. He succeeded veteran Rep. Mel Brown, a Republican Party stalwart from Coalville. Wilde narrowly defeated Brown in the primary election in one of the state’s closest elections.
Wilde has continued his support of bringing the control of the state’s public lands back to a local level. He recently voted in favor of resolutions urging the president to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument designation and to amend the Constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government and limit its power.
“Right now I am just really trying to support San Juan County and the residents down there. I would like to see a shrinking of the monument, and the state and private lands involved in the monument, I would like to be able to trade them out,” Wilde said. “They are just stuck in the middle of that designation.
“I really support bringing management of local lands back to a local level. It has become a bureaucracy quagmire, but I will not stand for privatization,” he said.
Wilde is sponsoring three bills, including a measure that would give counties more control over how funds generated from vehicle-emission fees can be used. Wilde often spoke about the topic during his campaign and promised to address the matter if elected. The bill is now before the Senate.
“I think it has been received well and I am looking forward to further discussing it and working with it,” Wilde said.
Another bill Wilde is sponsoring would modify the way transfers or assignments of water rights are recorded with the state engineer. He said it is “really just a technical change.” According to the language in the bill, “the state engineer shall consider an assignment that is recorded and forwarded to the state engineer by a county recorder as a submitted report of water and make technical changes.”
The third bill he has introduced clarifies the authority of the state engineer to charge a fee for an application for non-use of water, which is when a property owner chooses not to use their water anymore.
“They have a fee you apply for when you are not going to use your water anymore. This puts it on hold so someone can’t file on it,” Wilde said. “Both of them are just technical changes due to how different lawsuits have come forward and we are just trying to address those.”
Both bills are currently under consideration in the House Rules Committee. Wilde said he is not considering sponsoring any other bills.
Wilde is assigned to the following committees and subcommittees: Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment, and House Political Subdivisions. He said he is eager to discuss amending the state’s liquor laws to bring down the Zion Curtain, the name commonly used to refer to the partition businesses are required to have for serving alcohol, state impact fees and the voting process.
“I support mail-in ballots because I don’t know how you would facilitate polling for some of the more remote areas,” Wilde said. “At the same time, our younger demographic is wanting to do it more remotely. We are just starting to look at all of these things.”
District 53 survey
Wilde said he distributed a non-scientific survey to District 53 voters last week so he can better understand where his priorities should be when it comes to issues such as funding for education, gun ownership and voting processes, among others. The 11-question survey asks respondents if the vote-by-mail system opens the election up to fraud and whether they support the death penalty.
“I am just looking to see where priorities are on education as we are starting to put the budget together and starting to prioritize these issues,” Wilde said.
Wilde said 192 respondents have participated since the survey was posted on social media.
He said the results so far show that 73 percent of respondents don’t feel like the education system is performing well and most would like to see an increase in spending.
“I do think there needs to be an increase in school funding and teacher pay,” Wilde said. “There needs to be a mechanism to provide more funding and money specifically for teacher pay at the local level.”
Wilde said he will keep the survey open for several more days, adding “next week we will be pulling the budget together.”
“That’s where I was looking for some direction from voters on some of these issues as we begin to discuss funding them,” Wilde said.
Wilde’s district includes large swaths of Daggett, Rich, Morgan, Duchesne and Summit counties. In Summit County, District 53 includes: Park West, Kimball Junction, parts of Pinebrook, Promontory, Snyders Mill, Moose Hollow, Silver Springs, Jeremy Ranch, and North and South Summit.
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861 acres have been placed under a conservation easement, protecting the land from development in perpetuity.