View From the Gallery: Week 3 | KUER 90.1

View From the Gallery: Week 3

Feb 12, 2016

In this week’s View From the Gallery, KUER’s Brian Grimmett discovers lawmakers aren’t that interested in passing bills.

LDS Church Says No to Marijuana

While the legislature deciding to do as little work as possible is a dream come true for some people, it isn’t for Republican Senator Mark Madsen who, for the second year in a row, is attempting to pass a bill that would legalize the use of medical cannabis.

Shortly after his bill passed out of committee, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out against it. While several legislators say they weren’t going to vote for it anyway, a few say the message changed their vote from a yea to a nay. Which could be enough to kill the bill that was already struggling to gain support.

Tiered Water Pricing

And while legislators were doing their best to fill up floor time with musical numbers rather than voting on bills, they did manage to pass a piece of legislation that requires culinary water providers to set tiered rate structures. That means the more water someone uses, the more money it will cost them. If that sounds like common sense, you’d be right.

Balance of Power

Week three also saw Republican Representative LaVar Christensen attempt to rebalance two key legislative committees in favor of the majority. He says it’s not right that the committees don’t reflect the body and that it gives Democrats too much power. He says it allows them to block key audits, while also not being able to give any specific examples of this ever happening.

Medicaid

And finally, Medicaid expansion plans have reappeared. Once again Democrats have a bill that would fully expand Medicaid. And while many Utahns wouldn’t mind seeing that happen, legislators absolutely do not. Instead, House Majority Leader Jim Dunnigan has released his plan which will extend Medicaid to only the poorest of the poor. The plan will only cover 16 thousand more Utahns, but has the support of those that tried to pass the Governor’s Healthy Utah plan last year, because at this point, anything is better than nothing.

And that’s this week’s View From the Gallery.