Monday, February 23, 2015

General Session 2015 - Update 3



The House has now increased its floor debate time to four hours per day and meatier issues are working their way through the process.

The Dead Body Bill


A representative brought a bill to us that deals with how unclaimed bodies at the county morgue can be treated. The bill permits bodies to be used in forensic training.  It was a creepy conversation to say the least.  The bottom line is make sure you treat your friends and family well, lest you go "unclaimed".

Hot Topic - Medicaid Expansion


The House continues to mull over the options of Medicaid expansion.  In a recent closed caucus meeting we discussed three options that are on the table:

1.  Not Now - Wait to see how a pending Supreme Court case rules in June regarding the legality of subsides for insurance premiums in Obamacare.  The case will have a significant impact on how any program is structured.  The political landscape may change in 2016 and also contribute to significant changes in how the program may need to be organized.

2.  Utah Cares - This option is designed to help the most medically frail and vulnerable people in the state.  It costs less than the Healthy Utah plan, makes fewer people dependent on government programming, and has the least amount of fiscal risk.  This option would provide the least amount of volatility in relation to Federal budget demands and the national political debate regarding heath care policy.  This is the option that I support.

3.  Healthy Utah - This is the option that would increase the number of people dependent on government subsidies and programming the most.  It costs more than Utah Cares and relies more heavily on Federal funding.  I do not support this option.



Hot Topic - Utah Seal Belt Laws

HB79 which would make leaving your seat belt unbuckled a primary offense passed our House and is now on to the Senate.  You can watch the debate here with my opposing remarks around the 15:00 mark.


Hot Topic - Constitutional Convention


With the Federal Government carrying extraordinary and historic debt, there has been a movement among the states to call a Constitutional Convention of the States as prescribed in Article V of our founding document.  We heard two "Article V Convention" bills to a packed room in our Revenue and Taxation committee.

You can listen to the captivating audio presentations for HJR 14 and HJR 7.  I support and voted for both bills.  

Newspaper Nonsense

A mismatched photo and headline on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune are always amusing.


Mr.  Peterson's Bills

HB88 - Veterinary Practice Amendments - This bill has passed the House and Senate and sits on the Governor's desk awaiting a signature.

HB 127 - Window Egress Fairness - This bill passed committee and a vigorous inquiry on the House Floor.  You can watch the debate here:


HB310 - Vintage Motorcycle Amendments

This bill passed committee unanimously, passed the House unanimously, and now moves on to the Senate.  Here is video of the Floor presentation:


Look for more updates in the near future.  If you have any legislative concern or issue, please CONTACT ME, and let me know your thoughts.



1 comment:

  1. I would like to see some legislative action taken towards reduction of air pollution for the wasatch front area. With more studies linking autism and air pollution (as well as other conditions, i.e.: schizophrenia, worsening of COPD , and asthma) from respected sources like JAMA, Harvard, and even U of U, we need to take this threat seriously and take steps immediately. With 2% of our children having autism, Utah has one of the highest rates of autism (www.sltrib.com, 3/27/14) and as of today we're ranked #12 in the nation (http://www.numbeo.com/) for air pollution. This isn't just a personal/family stressor, but this has real social and economical costs. Costs for autism affect a wide range issues important to Utahans, from educational to health care costs. Not cleaning up our air also affects tourism dollars not coming in (http://www.nytimes.com/).
    Costs put toward cleaning up our air don't have to be extravagant. Ideas for legislation could be an education campaign, tax incentives for pollution cutting activities, or taxing higher polluting activities. Just educating Utahans toward what they can do to help each other out would go a long way. Some ideas are watching thermostat settings, getting programmable thermostats, wearing "winter" clothes during the winter, not having public buildings and schools over heated, not 'warming' up your car in the morning, and refrain from idling your car are just a few of the things I could think of. I work as a crossing guard, and many days parents idle their cars for 20-30 minutes, while being dressed in tank tops!
    We have a great history of problem solving, of not sitting back or not lifting a finger when faced with a dilemma here in Utah; let's see what we can do to fix this problem!

    ReplyDelete

Welcome! Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated. Criticism, insights, questions and queries are always welcome. However, please be civil and composed in your presentation.