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View From the Gallery - Week 2

The second week of the Utah Legislature is now in the books, and while it wasn’t as eventful as the first week, it definitely had its moments.

Definition of Consent

Starting with a debate over Rep. Angela Romero’s bill that clarifies the definition of sexual consent.  Before the bill eventually passed out of committee, Rep. Brian Greene of Pleasant Grove, voiced some concerns about the unintended consequences this bill might have, such as limiting the ability of a husband to have sex with his unconscious wife without fear of prosecution.  

He later issued a statement saying the comments he made were taken out of context by the media, and that he is sorry for any unintended pain his statements might have caused.

Wood Burning Ban

On the same day, Republican lawmakers in the house announced plans to pass a bill that would essentially take away the Division of Air Quality’s ability to regulate wood burning. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brad Dee, says the legislation is a response to the DAQ’s recent efforts to implement a winter long wood burning ban.

Public Lands Lawsuit Deadline

Speaking of the environment, legislators passed a bill out of committee that gives the Attorney General a year and a half deadline to file a lawsuit over public lands. But, while it made it out of committee, even several of the yes votes had doubts, and it likely won’t make it much further.

Cutting the Governor Out of Medicaid Expansion

Talk of Medicaid Expansion alternatives also made its first serious appearance this week. But the divide between the Governor’s Healthy Utah proposal and what legislators are willing to do is as wide as it’s ever been. Republican House leadership even did a conference call with federal officials that did not include Governor Gary Herbert. No word yet on if his invitation was just lost in the mail.

Healthy Utah

But Governor Herbert is standing firm in his belief that Healthy Utah is the best option for the state, and is asking those who still doubt to just do the math. He says his plan would cost the state $246 million dollars over six years and cover 146 thousand Utahns, while a plan proposed by Sen. Allen Christensen that covers just the “medically frail” would only cover 16 thousand Utahns at a cost of $203 million.

And that’s this weeks “View From the Gallery.” If it’s already too much to handle, don’t worry there’s only 5 more to go. See you next week.

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