First-term lawmaker already at work on next session
His first legislative session may be history, but Rep. John Knotwell, R-Herriman, already is preparing for the next one, beginning in January.
Knotwell is working on a bill that he introduced but wasn't able to emerge for a public hearing that would require assessments and screenings in public school for learning difficulties or dyslexia.
"At the end of the day, [HB171] came out too late. The fiscal note was too high, and so we weren't able to bring it out of the Rules Committee. We'll bring it back next session," Knotwell said.
But even with that unfinished business, the Republican Representative of House District 52 had a pretty good first year, passing two of the three bills he sponsored. The two successful measures, HB175 and HB220, deal with financial matters. The first one increases the information that a local government must provided to the public when issuing bonds, while the second makes adjustments in the duties of the state auditor.
Knotwell is vice president of sales at AtTask, a privately held software company based in Lehi. AtTask specializes in web-based project and work-management software. He sees his work as helping him succeed on Capitol Hill because both endeavors are centered around working constructively with other people.
"I lead a group of 30 people. We talk to our customers and potential customers, and we negotiate internally with things that need to be done. It's a different environment than the Capitol, but the skill set is the same," he said.
Knotwell is on three legislative committees dealing with transportation, capital facilities and taxes.
Democratic Rep. Brian King of Salt Lake City serves on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee with Knotwell and says he's been impressed so far, despite their philosophical differences. Knotwell, for example, voted against King's HB274 to provide a tax credit to employers hiring a homeless person.
"He's a conservative, there's no question about that," said King. "I also think he's a thoughtful guy who is looking for ways to make a difference while looking out for his constituents. He's very personable and smart."
First-term Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, worked with Knotwell on her SB158 to increase the capital reserve fund requirement for cities from 18 percent to 25 percent and saw him at work as the House floor sponsor of the measure, which won approval.
"Representative Knotwell is a principled, talented legislator who is in it for all the right reasons. I've enjoyed getting to know him this year and look forward to working on more legislation with him in the future. He's one of the good guys," Henderson said.
Knotwell takes the place of Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, who represents District 41 after redistricting. Knotwell defeated Democrat Daniel Paget in last year's election with more than 73 percent of the vote.
He comes from a Navy family, and campaigned on being a voice in the Capitol for local concerns. He said the election was a "fun" experience, and that he enjoyed knocking on doors and talking to people.
"It was certainly enlightening to me because I had run for city council the year before and had gotten to know some of the people and perspectives in the area, which I think helped me be a more effective candidate when I ran for the state Legislature."
Age • 35
Profession • Vice President of Sales, AtTask
Education • Attended the University of Utah for his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and History.
Family • Wife Jill, five children: Emily, Charlotte, William, Hewston, Claire
Bills • HB175, increasing public information on issuance of local bonds; HB202, amending duties of state auditor; HB171, public school screening for dyslexia.