Month: January 2018

The Daily Buzz – Jan. 29, 2018

Suicide Prevention

The House Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Brad Daw, heard arguments about the suicide prevention bills that are currently making their way through the legislative process.

Rep. Steve Eliason brought a suicidologist, someone who studies the scientific behavior behind suicide, to testify about the growing concern that suicide is nationally and locally. He cited a statistic revealing that men are proportionally more likely to commit suicide in Utah, compared to women being about 75 percent of total suicide cases.

Other advocates, including a University of Utah Professor, also testified about the growing concern, referencing the current bills as necessary solutions.

 

Tweets of the Day:

House Schedule for Jan. 30, 2018 :

7:59 AM Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee

8:00 AM Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee

8:00 AM Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

8:00 AM Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee

2:00 PM House Judiciary Committee

2:00 PM House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee REVISED

2:00 PM House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee

2:00 PM House Transportation Committee

4:00 PM House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee

4:00 PM House Government Operations Committee

4:00 PM House Political Subdivisions Committee

6:00 PM Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Subcommittee

 

Protecting children who have Down syndrome

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2018

Protecting children who have Down syndrome

What:
Representative Karianne Lisonbee and Senator Curt Bramble to discuss legislation that enacts important protections for children who have Down syndrome.

Who:
Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, District 14
Senator Curt Bramble, District 16
Bill Duncan, Senior Fellow, Sutherland Institute
Kathi Aultman, MD FACOG

Where:
Utah State Capitol – Hall of Governors
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

 When:
Monday, January 22, 2018, at 11:30 a.m.

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Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Trauma-Informed Legislative Workgroup

Press Release
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2018

Standing Up for Trauma Victims in a Bipartisan Manner

SALT LAKE CITY – Representative Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan) and Senator Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake) announced their proposed bipartisan legislation, H.B. 177 Trauma-Informed Justice Provisions, that would enable and assist victims of crime, during the Trauma Informed Justice Solutions panel discussion on January 16, 2018. The mission of the workgroup is to eradicate re-traumatization of victims in Utah by establishing trauma-informed systems that are sensitive to and aware of the needs of victims.

“A traumatized person thinks differently than they did before,” said Jenny Livsey, crime survivor, and advocate. “The criminal justice system is a foreign place. My role as a victim is to survive, and I need someone to show me how.”

Under the current system, the workgroup says victims are often re-traumatized by their experiences with the criminal justice system. The workgroup is calling for a process that understands traumatized victims and carefully assists individuals seeking help.

“H.B. 177 is the first step in moving our state to trauma-informed practices that will help improve survivors’ experiences,” said Sen. Escamilla.

The goals of this proposed legislation include:

  • Reduced the likelihood of re-victimization, leading to less accumulative adverse childhood experiences, less behavioral risk-taking, fewer negative health impacts, and reduce state spending on healthcare
  • Increase the likelihood that victims will engage with the Criminal Justice System in the future by supporting a more positive experience, which in turn enables improved healing and coping skills by connecting victims with available resources

“I have learned from my constituents over the years that the way we treat traumatized victims matters tremendously for the effective, efficient and respectful administration of criminal justice,” said Rep. Ivory. “We can do a better job system-wide to protect the important role victims have in our criminal justice system.”

H.B. 177 will establish a Multi-Disciplinary Trauma-Informed Committee tasked with creating a trauma-informed justice program. The committee will conduct a study of current and

recommended trauma-informed policies, procedures, programs and practices in Utah’s criminal and juvenile justice system including:

  • The role of victim advocates and victim services in the criminal and juvenile justice system
  • How to implement the option of a comprehensive, seamless victim-advocate system that:
    • Is based on the best interests of victims
    • Assists victims throughout the criminal and juvenile justice system
    • Assist with the progress of recovering from trauma experienced as a result of being a victim of crime

“Victims are tasked with navigating a system for which they are simply not prepared to navigate,” said Amy Coombs, Masters in Social Work, Certified Social Work Manager. “The best way to evaluate how we operate systems of service in the criminal justice system is to ask crime victims/survivors for feedback. We should listen attentively to this feedback, and then react accordingly.”

“Many resources have been dedicated to worthy efforts such as the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and other efforts to enhance trauma-informed justice,” said Turner Bitton, Executive Director UCASA. “However, that process has often focused on offenders and not victims. This legislation is a critical first step in resolving that disparity and expanding the opportunities for victims of sexual assault. We are pleased to support this great legislation.”

Members of the workgroup include the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice (CCJJ); The Utah Office for Victims of Crime (UOVC); The Office on Domestic and Sexual Violence; the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA); Turner Bitton, executive director at UCASA; Amy Coombs, M.S.W, CSWM; Jenny Livsey, crime victim/survivor; Rhiannon Livsey, crime victim/survivor; Donna Kelly, deputy district attorney, Salt Lake City; and Gary Scheller, director of the UOVC.

Sen. Escamilla and Rep. Ivory will continue to work on this bipartisan issue to pass legislation that will meet the expressed needs of survivors of crime victims, such as Jenny Livsey and her family, during the 2018 General Session.

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Contacts:
Aundrea Peterson
Utah House of Representatives
801-791-3365 | aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Jon Hennington
Utah Senate
jhennington@le.utah.gov

 

 

Adam Robertson Sworn in

Utah House District 63 officially has a new representative. Adam Robertson, a businessman who has lived in Provo for over a decade, was sworn into office today at the Utah State Capitol. Rep. Robertson will be replacing former Representative Dean Sanpei, who resigned in December to accept a position in Colorado. The district held a special election to elect a new representative and finish Dean Sanpei’s term, which ends this year.

Speaker Greg Hughes officiated the ceremony that was attended by Rep. Robertson’s wife and seven kids, among other relatives.  After the short ceremony, Speaker Hughes congratulated the Representative as he steps into his legislative role.

Speaker Hughes statement about the new LDS president

Media Statement
For Immediate Release
January 16, 2018

Contact:
                                     Aundrea Peterson, Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov


Speaker Hughes statement about the new LDS president

Salt Lake City – Speaker Greg Hughes issued this statement following the announcement of Russell M. Nelson as the new president The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“Russell M. Nelson has dedicated his life to serving others through his work as a renowned surgeon and medical researcher to diligently fulfilling his numerous callings,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “I have the utmost confidence that he will fulfill his new role as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the same excellence as he has demonstrated time and time again.”

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Oath of Allegiance

The U.S. gained 127 more citizens today during a naturalization ceremony held at the Utah Capitol building. The ceremony, hosted by Representative Norm Thurston and in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, welcomed applicants from 50 countries, ranging from Peru to South Africa.

Bassam Salem, who was born in Egypt, lived in France and England as a child then came to the U.S. to pursue his education, shared his experience of becoming a U.S. citizen.

“Dreamed about one country where backgrounds wouldn’t limit us, one country where a good plan and hard work will be rewarded. That one country was and still is truly unique – the United States of America,” said Salem.

Salem founded the company, Mindshare Ventures, in 2016 and resides in Park City with his wife and two sons.

Laura McNeer, field office director for USCIS, administered the Oath of Allegiance. Cytel Schultz performed the U.S. National Anthem. The new citizens also heard a welcome message from President Donald Trump.

When the ceremony concluded, new citizens were encouraged to fill out a voter registration form so they could immediately start participating in local, state and national elections.

See more pictures here.

Aiming to decrease prescription drug prices

Press Release
For Immediate Release
January 11, 2018

 

SALT LAKE CITY – Prescription drug prices have been on the rise, leaving some concerned how they will afford to refill their prescription. Representative Norm Thurston is sponsoring a bill, H.B. 163 Prescription Drug Importation Program, during the 2018 General Session, which aims to help alleviate some of the cost of prescription drugs for Utah residents by implementing a state-run prescription drug importation program that will create a safe, cost-effective, wholesale import for a select group of prescriptions.

On average, the price of prescription drugs in Canada is 30 percent less than in the United States. The legislation is designed to save Utahns a significant amount of money on their prescriptions, and it includes standards to ensure that the savings go directly into the pockets of Utahns.

“The United States is one of the largest, most loyal purchasers of prescription drugs, though, we are paying much more than other major purchasers,” said Thurston. “We need to take initiative to lower prescription drug costs for life-saving medicine. Utah is more than capable to administer a well-run state importation program.”

The U.S. drug market heavily relies on importation to supply the U.S. market. Currently:

  • 80 percent of raw ingredients for drugs made in the United States are imported from China and other countries;
  • 40 percent of finished drugs used in the United States are manufactured in other countries;
  • The S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has had a cooperative agreement addressing drug regulatory matters with Canada for years, more than 30 Canadian drug manufacturers are FDA-registered to produce drugs for U.S. markets; and
  • About 20 percent of drugs licensed for the Canadian market are made in the United States.

“Rising pharmaceutical costs continue to be the most volatile part of the state budget in providing healthcare to its employees,” said Chet Loftis, managing director of PEHP Health & Benefits. “We deeply appreciate the opportunity to work with Rep. Thurston on H.B. 163, and policymakers in general, in lending our expertise on matters of public importance and actively exploring ways to reduce healthcare costs to the state.”

The safety and purity of the imported prescriptions is a crucial standard in the bill. The bill complies with federal regulations governing drug importation that require guarantees of drug safety and consumer savings. In addition, the legislation requires federal approval from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The legislation will safeguard the quality and safety of imported drugs by:

  • Contracting with licensed, regulated drug wholesalers and distributors in Utah and Canada;
  • Importing only drugs licensed for sale in Canada;
  • Testing imported products for purity on a sample basis if needed; and
  • Limiting distribution of imported drugs to only Utah.

The legislation will deliver significant consumer savings by:

  • Monitoring market competition among Utah wholesalers;
  • Ensuring that consumers pay similar prices to those charged in Canada; and
  • Widely publicizing the prices of the imported products so consumers know what they can expect to pay.

Thurston assembled a working group of stakeholders, including state agencies, commercial health plans, pharmacists and community clinics in early 2017 to outline how a wholesale importation program should operate in Utah.

The bill is modeled after legislation developed by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), a nonpartisan group that works closely with state policymakers to develop state legislative and regulatory strategies to rein in pharmaceutical costs.

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Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

 Naturalization Ceremony to be held at the Capitol

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
January 10, 2018

 

Contact:
                                  Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

 Naturalization Ceremony for Approximately 130 Citizenship Applicants to be held at the Capitol

 What:
Representative Norm Thurston, in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will host a naturalization ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, January 12 at the Utah State Capitol.

The keynote speaker, Bassam Salem, will share is his story of a becoming a U.S. citizen. Salem was born in Egypt, lived in France and England as a child then came to the U.S. as a teenager to attend university.

Rep. Norm Thurston will serve as master of ceremonies. Laura McNeer, field office director for USCIS, will administer the Oath of Allegiance. Cytel Schultz will perform the U.S. National Anthem. A video welcome message from President Donald Trump.

Following the ceremony, on-site voter registration will be available for the new U.S. citizens.

 Who:  
Rep. Norm Thurston, District 64
Bassam Salem, CEO at AtlasRTX
Laura McNeer, USCIS Field Office Director

Where:
Utah State Capitol ­– Rotunda
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

When:
Friday, January 12, 2018, at 10 a.m.

Notes:
New citizens will be available for interviews immediately following the ceremony. When photographing someone with their certificate, have the person cover up their number (top right) to protect their privacy.

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Speaker Hughes to hold media availability

Media Alert
For Immediate Release
January 10, 2018

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
House Majority Communications Director
Utah House of Representatives
801-791-3365| aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Speaker Hughes to hold media availability

What:
Speaker Greg Hughes will hold media availability about his decision not to seek re-election.

Who:
Speaker Greg Hughes

When:
Wednesday, January 10 at 12:30 p.m.

 Where:
7259 S Bingham Junction Blvd., Midvale, UT 84047 (CHG Healthcare). Check in at the front desk.

 Notes:
CHG Healthcare is not involved in the press conference. It is only the location of the all-day majority caucus retreat/training.

 

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Aundrea Peterson

Majority Director of Communications

Utah House of Representatives

C: (801) 791-3365

O: (801) 326-1563

aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

house.utah.gov

 

Discussion on homelessness, substance abuse and mental health

Speaker Greg Hughes will host a conversation on homelessness, substance abuse and mental health with leading experts in the field. Participants will include Dr. David Smith and Mary Hauser.

Smith is a nationally recognized leader in the treatment of addictive disease, new research strategies in the management of drug abuse problems and appropriate prescribing practices for physicians. Dr. Smith founded the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinics in 1967 and has served on federal, state and local boards addressing substance use, abuse and treatment, and has received numerous awards.

Hauser has over four decades of experience in addiction medicine, behavioral health, mental health, and psychology. Her experience extends from directing addiction prevention, intervention, treatment, and research programs; to serving as adjunct faculty at multiple universities; to serving as a consultant at the State, Federal and Inpatient/Outpatient program level.

Where:
Streaming it live on  Facebook here.

When:
Thursday, January 11 from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.