Incoming legislator Logan Wilde prepares for his first session
Former Morgan County official takes oath of office Jan. 23
Newcomer Logan Wilde says he has spent the last several weeks “trying to soak it all in” as he prepares for his first legislative session as a freshman representative for the District 53 seat in the Utah House of Representatives.
On Jan. 23, Wilde will officially take the oath of office. Last month, he received his committee assignments, which include the House Committee on Natural Resources, Political Subdivisions and Judiciary Committees.
“What I’m finding is that the committees have such a diverse role that they play, especially the appropriations committee,” Wilde said. “I’m going to try to get my feet wet with some of the subcommittees, but right now I’m just trying to soak it all in and get brought up to speed.”
Wilde, who was elected to serve a two-year term, will succeed longtime Rep. Mel Brown, a Coalville resident and staunch conservative. Brown was elected to the Legislature in 2007 and served a lengthy stint from 1987 until 2000.
“I will not take away from what Mel’s positions were because he was a big advocate for Summit County,” Wilde said. “What I have been trying to do is meet with the local governments to better understand what will benefit their communities.”
Next week, Wilde said he plans to meet with the Summit County Council and school district officials for the East Side of the county.
“I have talked to some on a weekly basis just trying to reach out to them,” Wilde said. “There are a lot of things that I may not be aware of at this point and I will have to depend on the governments to lead and tell me I should be more in favor of this, or more against that.”
Wilde said one of the most critical discussions he anticipates once the session begins concerns the state’s budget. He said with the growth there, conversations need to take place about how to permanently fund education.
“That is one of the biggest discussions that we have been having right now,” Wilde said. “The growth is there and it looks like it is going to go toward education. But a longer discussion needs to take place.”
Wilde also anticipates further scrutiny of the state’s election laws after he narrowly defeated Brown. Summit County switched to a mail-in ballot system prior to the primary election in June and Brown claimed the new system resulted in lost votes.
“Especially with my race where it was so close, those will need to be looked at,” Wilde said.
Wilde said he is interested in learning more about Rep. Norm Thurston’s proposed bill to lower the state’s DUI threshold from .08 to .05.
“I would like to see how the local sheriffs and local community feel about that,” Wilde said. “A lot of studies from other countries say it is crucial we go that way, but what does our county government say about whether it can be enforced and what are the problems associated with it?”
Wilde said he plans to introduce a bill to release health department funds previously tied to the Environmental Protection Agency for dealing with air emissions to use for other projects related to air quality control.
“There is a fee that is assessed on your vehicle registration that goes to administering the emissions program,” Wilde said. “The current law states the fees can only be used for enforcement or to establish an emissions program. But now that these programs have been in place for almost 20 years I want to see if we can allow the local governments to use those funds for other clean-air programs.
“I think it will be a win-win, especially for the local governments,” he 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, all of North and South Summit.
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Trailside Park will receive a 10-acre expansion after receiving a permit from county officials this week. The plan calls for two ballfields, two pavilions and 127 parking spots.