Damschen, Gordon, and Donaldson: A proposal to put more money into Utah schools

Written by David Damschen (State Treasurer), Natalie Gordon (School Children’s Trust Specialist), and Tim Donaldson (School Children’s Trust Director). Senator Ann Millner and Representative Mel Brown are proposing SJR12, an amendment to the state constitution that, if passed by 2/3 of the legislature and approved by voters, will increase and stabilize the distribution from the permanent State School Fund through the School LAND Trust program. A corresponding bill, SB109, details the formula that will be used for the distribution. The goal of the amendment is to insure that the distribution from…

Rep. Jeremy Peterson: HB162: Transparency and Accountability for Taxpayer Funded Film Incentives

This session I am running a bill to provide more legislative oversight and more accountability for money that the state spends in promoting film production here in Utah.  Currently, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) has been granted permission from the Legislature to issue up to $6.7 million dollars in tax credits for film productions that the department deems worthy to receive them.  Certain benchmarks and yardsticks are used to quantify which productions show the most promise for spending money and driving economic growth in the state. The problem…

Jenney Rees: Women in politics

We’ve seen the headlines and read the studies. Utah ranks 49th in the nation for women in politics. Utah ranks last in terms of women being in positions of decision-making and leadership. Women represent more than 50% of the voters in Utah but are underrepresented in political office. There are no women serving in Utah statewide executive offices. Last year I attended a networking social of a group that has been formed to encourage women to run for office and be involved in politics. One of the questions that came…

Sen. Lyle Hillyard: Tis the Season to be Jolly

As we are getting ready to announce the revenue figures, which will guide our budget work this upcoming session, a familiar poem came to my mind: T’was the night before Christmas (revenue announcements) and all through the House (and Senate as well), Not a creature was stirring except for a mouse (aka Fiscal Analyst). The stockings (budget requests) were all hung by the chimney (EAC chairs offices) with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. It is our plan to announce the new revenue figures on December…

Rep. Robert Spendlove: The Next Steps on Utah Medicaid Reform

The Next Steps on Utah Medicaid Reform October 26, 2015 By Representative Robert Spendlove Members of the House Republican Caucus met recently to review the latest proposal from the Governor and Legislative Leadership in the House and Senate to expand Medicaid to low income individuals in our state. While I commend the “Group of Six” for their work on developing the plan, ultimately I decided that I could not vote for the proposal. There are several reasons why I voted against it. The primary reason is I could not support…

Rep. Norm Thurston: Where Did the Coverage Gap Come From?

Where Did the Coverage Gap Come From? October 27, 2015 by Rep. Norm Thurston Have you stopped to wonder whether the coverage gap came from? Was it always here or did it suddenly appear? You may have heard some of my House Republican colleagues say that Obamacare created the Coverage Gap and wondered how that could possibly be the case. When we say that the coverage gap was created by Obamacare we really mean it. Here is a little Utah insurance market history to clarify where the gap came from.…

Rep. Jeremy Peterson | EXPOSED: Medicaid expansion propaganda and mythology

We held an open caucus meeting during Interim Session this month to discuss some new information regarding Utah’s experience with the Affordable Care Act.  One of the  most revealing topics of conversation had to do with criticism the House has received for its stubbornness in not moving forward with the Governor’s Medicaid Expansion plan as proposed. One of the first arguments that is made by supporters of the plan and the media is that Utah is being penny wise and pound foolish by not expanding Medicaid.  Their argument for the…

Rep. Jeremy Peterson: PENROSE POLICY: The Illusion of Sustainable Medicaid Expansion

We met as a Republican Caucus recently to discuss the new Utah Access Plus plan to expand Medicaid in the state.  With a gap existing in current Medicaid coverage, the Legislature has been toiling for years now to find an affordable and sustainable path to provide medical coverage for those living in the gap. The gap mainly consists of single adults without children who live under 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. There are approximately 130,000 living in Utah without any form of insurance coverage in this gap currently. In the…

Rep. Jeremy Peterson: Interim Update: Legislative bus tour to Southern Utah

The legislature recently returned from a bus tour to southern Utah as part of its interim legislative session. The experience was a 2-day affair and something new for many legislators.  The last off-campus tour during interim was in 2008. Our journey began at the Capitol building at 7am Wednesday morning.  Fortunately, spouses were able to attend and I invited my wife to accompany me on our trip.  I paid for her travel expenses. Of course, no bus trip would be complete without a few persuasive video presentations along the way.…

Utah House Majority Response to Medicaid Expansion Presser

SALT LAKE CITY – We welcome and appreciate public engagement on crucial policy issues.  Harkening back to a proposal that not only didn’t pass and was only intended to run for a very limited period of time, but would also place us in the same untenable position 18 months down the road, keeps us from looking forward in a constructive way. Since the end of the 2015 general session the group of six, established by HCR12, have been meeting regularly to find a sustainable solution to the coverage gap created by Obamacare…