Category: Press

Legislators to discuss bills that aim to increase transparency of local government

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
February 1, 2018

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

Legislators to discuss bills that aim to increase transparency of local government

 What:
Reps. Gage Froerer, Keven Stratton, Rep. Mike McKell and Sen. Curtis Bramble to talk about H.B. 224, County Government Change Election Amendments, which aims to return government to the citizens of Utah counties. And H.B. 175, Oversight Committee Creation, that would create a Joint Committee on Governmental Oversight to increase the transparency, efficiency of state and local governmental entities.

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

When:
Friday, February 2, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.

Who:
Rep. Gage Froerer, District 8
Rep. Keven Stratton, District 48
Rep. Mike McKell, District 66
Sen. Curtis Bramble, District 16

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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

 

 

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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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.

 

Speaker Hughes statement about the passing of LDS president and prophet

Speaker Hughes statement about the passing of LDS president and prophet

Salt Lake City – Speaker Greg Hughes issued this statement following the passing of Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

I was saddened to learn that President Thomas Monson has passed away. While we mourn the loss of an exceptional man, we also honor his remarkable life that he dedicated to serving others. When he spoke, people all over Utah, the country and the world listened. He truly understood that when you are in the service of your fellow man you are in the service of God. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and members of the LDS church during this time.

Utah State Legislature Launches Redesigned Website

In anticipation of the 2018 General Session, the Utah State Legislature is excited to launch the newly redesigned version of the legislative website, le.utah.gov. The site helps Utahns connect and interact with their legislators. Utah residents can learn about proposed and past legislation and hear committees and floor debates.

With the growing use of smartphones and tablets, the new mobile-friendly site is more accessible to most users. Features of the site include a cleaner aesthetic design, a more engaging user experience and enhanced search and navigation functions. The new design also streamlines the site’s familiar main menu, providing a clear navigation and a responsive layout for all platforms.

“The redesign aims to simplify access to the Legislature, helping to improve communication and make information about the legislative process easily accessible to all,” said President Wayne Niederhauser. “A visually appealing and user-friendly legislative website is paramount to keeping legislators accountable to the people of Utah.”

Key components of the new site:

  • Mobile Friendly Design – offers responsive user experience that allows site visitors to navigate information easily on various platforms;
  • Find Your Legislator – helps users identify who represents them as well as who represents the area in which they are currently located – based on the current location of their device, an address look-up or a map;
  • Innovative Search Tool – integrates formerly separate search functions into a single interface, allowing users to more easily find legislation, Utah Code, budget information, audits and much more.

“The purpose was not only to update the look of the site but also to make finding information easier and more convenient,” said Speaker Greg Hughes. “In a world where communication is increasingly digitized, we want to provide a convenient path to useful information on mobile platforms for Utahns. I appreciate the hard work put in by many legislative employees to complete this project.”

The goal of this website redesign is to facilitate citizen involvement in the legislative process by enhancing the user experience. The site contains valuable easy to navigate information, allowing for greater engagement and encouraging further exploration.

We encourage all residents to go to le.utah.gov and see the exciting changes for themselves. Please submit questions, observations and concerns in the comment box on the website. Feedback is important to us as we continue to strive to develop a website that is valuable to Utahns.