Month: March 2018

Medicaid Expansion

Rep.  Robert Spendlove ran a bill during the 2018 legislative session, that requires the Utah Department of Health to submit a waiver request to expand Medicaid in Utah. HB 472, Medicaid Expansion Revisions, passed the Utah Legislature and was signed by Governor Gary Herbert signed into law on March 27, 2018.

HB 472 has an enrollment cap, which limits the state’s liability while offering coverage to those under 100 percent of the federal poverty level, who make too little to qualify for the ACA exchange, and without access to employer-based health insurance.

HB 472 has the potential to expand Medicaid coverage to about 60,000 Utahns with no new state funds. Rather, it shifts state money from already existing programs to this one with a greater, 90 percent federal match rate. This legislation includes a work requirement component, as well as a safeguard to automatically sunset the program if federal funding drops below the 90 percent match.

This Medicaid expansion would provide care through a managed-care model and focuses on the health of the patient rather than the number of services provided, seeking to reduce costs and increase quality of care.

 

Combating Violence with Kindness

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2018 

 

Combating Violence with Kindness
Utah Legislature Passed a Resolution Designating April as #MSDkindness Month

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Legislature passed HCR 22, Concurrent Resolution Designating April as #MSDkindness Month, which aims to pay tribute to the victims who lost their lives in the senseless act of violence that was committed against students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clinton) and Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley), designates April as Act of Kindness month to encourage Utahns to perform random acts of humanity to honor the victims of Parkland, Florida. In honor of #MSDKindness, a feature was added to the SafeUT so users could report acts of kindness in addition to incidents of crisis. People are encouraged to report their acts of kindness during April through SafeUT, which has been designed to improve school safety and help students access critical mental health resources. These acts of kindness will highlight the good of the community while engaging students in using an app that aims to help prevent future acts of violence.

“It is my goal to makes sure that my daughter’s legacy is remembered as one not of tragedy, but of hope, service, and love,” said Ryan Petty, the father of 14-year-old Alaina who lost her life during the recent attack in Florida. “It is also my goal to make sure this time will be different because we are going to focus on school safety initiatives to prevent anyone else from going through what we have gone through these past few weeks. I am grateful to the sponsors and supporters of this initiative who are working diligently to accomplish both of these goals.”

“The purpose of this resolution is to focus on the hope that comes from the strength of families, like the Petty’s,” said Rep. Ray. “Their determination is an example to us all on how to persevere through challenging times and bring about positive change to school safety. My heart goes out to families during this time of unthinkable loss. Utah is ready to lead by taking actions to promote acts of kindness as well as developing the Davis School District mental wellness program that can serve as a model for schools around the state and nation.”

“With the noise of the world getting louder every day, simple acts of kindness are the best way to get to the root of the problem,” said Sen. Thatcher. “In fact, it may be the only way.”

“My heart also goes out to the perpetrator of this evil and senseless act,” said Petty. “And I wonder if somebody had put their arms around this young man a few months ago or a few years ago, would his life have been different? How much would the lives of the 17 families who have been impacted by the choices he made be different.”

SafeUT was launched in January 2016, following the passage of SB 175, School Safety and Crisis Line. Attorney General Sean Reyes, chair, and Rep. Steve Eliason and Sen. Thatcher are on the SafeUT Commission, which serves as a powerful tool for dealing with school safety, teen suicide and the opioid epidemic. The Pettys have publicly encouraged Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi for the adoption of a version of the SafeUT in the Sunshine State.

“By designating April Kindness month, we want to encourage a little kindness to go a long way,” said Attorney General Reyes. “One small act of kindness can change the trajectory of a life. In doing this we honor the legacy of those children and families in Parkland, Florida, many of whom were dedicated to acts of kindness and service and all of whom deserved more years to accomplish them. By celebrating their lives, we hopefully remind ourselves that we are all part of one large human family. We hope our challenge to other states continues a wave of kindness that will cascade over the nation and turn such tragedy into a little bit of light. Thank you to the Petty family for being an inspiration to us. Alaina has become one of our heroes for her kindness.”

Reyes Family Foundation, The Grand America Hotel and M. Peterson Consulting hosted the Petty Family while they were in Utah.

The resolution also challenges other states to claim the remaining months in the year to carry on the legacy of kindness and service left by those who lost their lives in this tragic incident. Two cities in Washington, Camas and Washougal, have already declared March as their month of kindness to honor the victims of this singular act of violence.

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Watch the press conference here.

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

Bryan Smith
Utah State Senate
bsmith@le.utah.gov

Cindy Reinhard
Utah Attorney General’s Office
creinhard@agutah.gov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislature reaches an agreement with Our Schools Now on education funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2018

Contacts:
Bryan Smith
Deputy Chief of Staff
Utah State Senate

Aundrea Peterson
Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives

Austin Cox
Executive Director
Our Schools Now

Legislature reaches an agreement with Our Schools Now on education funding

Salt Lake City – The Utah Legislature and Our Schools Now have successfully worked together to find common ground in their efforts to better fund education for the schoolchildren of Utah. It has been agreed that the best path forward is to not only increase education funding now, but to also fix the significant structural issues in the tax system that have led to our current education funding imbalance.

Education in Utah will receive an additional $292 million this year. As a result of the discussions with Our Schools Now, the Legislature has committed to a make a number of tax changes and place a question on the ballot that together could lead to an additional $845 per pupil by 2023.

“This compromise is a win-win for the future of Utah. Education has always been my number one priority,” Gov. Herbert said. “This major investment in per-student spending is going to make a noticeable difference for student success in Utah. This solution also allows us to invest in local road needs and make significant progress toward reducing some of the imbalances in our tax code. I appreciate Our Schools Now for bringing this issue to the forefront and the Legislature for responding to the encouragement of the public, and look forward to working to pass the November ballot question and implementing the will of the voters.”

“I appreciate Senator Adams, Our Schools Now, and all the stakeholders who have come together to address these crucial issues,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “These changes will not only result in more money going to education now but a more stable and sustainable tax structure to continue to support education and future growth in the state.”

“The Legislature has shown their commitment to education with historic levels of funding over the last three years. This year we renewed that commitment,” said House Speaker Greg Hughes. “We appreciate Our Schools Now and their efforts to generate better ideas for education reform.”

Statement from Gail Miller, Scott Anderson and Ron Jibson: “This is the year of education in Utah. The actions of this legislature can lead to an $845 increase in per-pupil spending. It’s gratifying that we can come together with the Governor and the Legislature to take such a major step to improve outcomes for our students. We look forward to reaching out to voters across the state for the benefit of our children, and our state, in support of the November ballot proposal.”

These efforts which will replace the Teacher and Student Success Act ballot initiative are detailed below:

  1. Creation of the Teacher and Student Success Account

This account will be used to directly fund schools at the local level and will include specific guidelines, management and oversight. In the first year of the program, the equivalent of 1.5 percent WPU will be deposited into the fund, which at this time is equivalent to approximately $47 million, and will pass through the local education agency (LEA). Distributions from this account will begin in 2020 directly to schools through the TSSA.

  1. Establishing a Working Group

The Legislature will work with Our Schools Now and other education stakeholders to determine the administration of the Teacher and Student Success Account. The working group will review and make recommendations to the Legislature on equal distribution, local control, transparency, performance improvement, accountability and approved areas of investment.

  1. 10-Cent Gas Tax Ballot Question

HB 491 authorizes a non-binding question to go on the ballot. HJR 20 directs the Lt. Governor to place a question on the ballot that would ask voters if the state should increase the gas tax by the equivalent of 10 cents per gallon, indexed for inflation.

Implementing a 10-cent per gallon tax would generate approximately $170 million in new revenue for the Transportation Fund in the first year. Thirty percent would be dedicated to local roads and the remaining 70 percent would be used to offset an equivalent cut in funding for transportation, that would then go toward education. Of these new education funds, 80 percent is intended for the Teacher and Student Success Account for K-12 and 20 percent for higher education performance funding.

  1. Freezing the Basic Rate and Indexing the Basic Levy

HB 293 freezes the state basic property tax rate for 5 years and uses new revenue to equalize student spending among all LEAs. It also indexes the basic levy and places new revenue into the Teacher and Student Success Account subject to periodic review.

  1. Amendments to Education Rainy Day Fund

During the interim, the Legislature will work to change the statute to allow the use of Rainy Day Funds to continue the tradition of funding student enrollment growth and inflation even in economic downturns.

  1. Local Funding of Technology

SB144 Authorizes a local school board to unlock significant new revenue sources for technology and infrastructure projects and programs in our schools.

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Speaker Hughes to hold media availability

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
March 8, 2018

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

Speaker Hughes to hold media availability


What:
Speaker Greg Hughes will host media availability to answer questions about the 2018 General Session.

Who:
Speaker Greg Hughes

When:
Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 6:00 to 6:30 p.m.

Where:
Utah State Capitol, Office of the Speaker of the House
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

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Press conference to discuss UTA Transportation Governance Amendments

MEDIA ADVISORY
March 8, 2018

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

Legislature to hold a press conference to UTA discuss Transportation Governance Amendments

What:
President Wayne Niederhauser, Speaker Greg Hughes, Senator Wayne Harper and Representative Mike Schultz will hold a press conference to discuss the passage of S.B. 136 Transportation Governance Amendments.

 Who:
President Wayne Niederhauser
Speaker Greg Hughes
Senator Wayne Harper
Representative Mike Schultz
UTA Board Members

When:
Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 11:00 am

Where:
Utah State Capitol, Presentation Room
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

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HONORING FRED HAYES’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2018

 

HONORING FRED HAYES’
Lifetime of service

The Utah Legislature honored the life and longtime service of director of State Parks and Recreation, Fred Hayes, with a House Resolution (HCR21) that commended him for his thirty-five-year career in State Parks and calls for the renaming of Starvation State Park to the Fred Hayes State Park.

Fred Hayes first started his career in 1982 as a Ranger Aide at the Starvation State Park. Under his leadership as director, the State Parks have seen a tremendous increase in visitors and numerous improvements in Park management.

Senator Ipson remarked, “It was always a pleasure to work with Fred. He was always upbeat and positive. We worked together to make some of our state parks more accessible and more user-friendly, and that was always a top priority to him.  He helped to make some dramatic capital improvements to our parks as well.  He’ll be dearly missed.”

“When I first started to serve in the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee eight years ago, the state allocated $12 to $16 million to fund state parks, said Rep. Lee Perry. “Today, it’s less than $4 million that is due to the leadership of Fred Hayes. HCR 21 recognizes his dedication and service to Utah.”

Fred Hayes passed away last week at the age of 58.  Fred is survived by his wife Serena and their five children.  He will be remembered fondly for his energetic, friendly style of leadership.

The resolution sponsored by Representative Perry and Senator Don Ipson. HCR21 was heard on March 7, 2018, on the floor of the House and Senate.  The Resolution passed unanimously in both Houses. 

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Press Conference: Month of kindness

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
March 7, 2018

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

Month of kindness – honoring the victims who lost their lives

What:
Representative Paul Ray and Senator Daniel Thatcher will hold a press conference to discuss H.C.R. 22, which designates April as a month of kindness for the state of Utah and honors the lives of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Ryan Petty, the father of 14-year-old Alaina who lost her life during the recent attack in Florida, is supporting this measure to honor his daughter’s legacy; one of hope, service and love. His goal is to focus on school safety initiatives to ensure no one else will have to go through the tragedy that his family is experiencing.

During the month of April, those who perform acts of kindness in Utah can report them via the SafeUT app. The resolution supports acts that shed light on the goodness in communities while encouraging student’s participation in using the SafeUT app – an app that is designed to prevent future acts of violence.

Who:
Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clinton)
Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley)
The Petty Family

 Where:
Utah State Capitol, Presentation Room
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

 When:
Thursday, March 8 from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.
The resolution will be heard on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 10:00 AM in the House

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