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Here’s What You Missed On Day 43 Of The Utah Legislature

Austen Diamond / KUER

The 2018 Utah legislative session ends Thursday night, and lawmakers are passing bills at a breakneck pace. More than 60 were passed on Tuesday alone. Here’s a look at some of them:

  • Lawmakers passed a handful of budget bills. Now that lawmakers are close to crafting and passing a final budget, they’ve also started to approve bills with substantial fiscal notes.
  • One proposal which received support early on and passed Tuesday is a $2.4 million bill to keep mental health crisis lines up and running 24/7. It was dubbed ‘Hannah’s bill’ after a Huntsville teen who took her own life after she called a suicide hotline and no one picked up. “This will make sure no call in the state of Utah for help ever goes unanswered,” said Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City.
  • The House amended and passed a huge transportation bill that would overhaul the Utah Transit Authority — and rename it to Transit District Utah — and raise vehicle registration fees for infrastructure projects.
  • A Medicaid waiver to provide contraception for low-income women got final passage Tuesday, as did a bill to expand access to restraining orders for domestic violence victims.
  • Legislation to require county jails to give the state information on people who die in custody easily cleared the House and is headed for the governor.
  • Lawmakers greenlighted a more controversial proposal to shift fees from radioactive waste company EnergySolutions to taxpayers, to the tune of $1.7 million. During debate on the bill, Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, ranted about the company’s campaign contributions. "This is a giant welfare program for one company that also happens to be the largest political contributor in the state,” said Dabakis, adding that he’d rather see the money spent on education.
  • The Senate gave preliminary approval to a limited legalization of medical marijuana. The pair of bills would extend a ‘right to try’ cannabis to terminally ill patients and permit the state to grow the plants. They still need a final, procedural vote in the Senate.
  • Lawmakers approved a bill restricting the use of non-compete agreements at Utah broadcasting companies. That bill also needs a final, procedural vote in the House. 
Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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