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With A Week To Go, Lawmakers Push Big Ticket Agenda Items

Austen Diamond

Since Monday, state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would expand health care for low-income earners, impose new taxes and create a new inland port in Salt Lake City.


With less than two weeks to go, Utah lawmakers are dropping bills for several big ticket — not to mention controversial — items on their to-do list.

One bill by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, would increase taxes on cities that lack both homeless shelters and affordable housing. That money would then go to fund operations at homeless shelters in other cities.


Meanwhile, Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, seeks at least $50 million more in bonding capacity for new infrastructure.


Another Republican Representative from Sandy, Rep. Robert Spendlove, is seeking to expand Medicaid to anyone under the federal poverty level with a work requirement added — legislation which is getting support from Utah’s governor.


On the Senate side, another Medicaid bill to add work requirements for current recipients sailed through on Tuesday.


With so many late filings, several of these bills may only get one committee hearing this late in the session — or none at all.

Senate leaders insist there’s no rush, and that many of these ideas, including tax code changes, have been in discussion since the beginning of the session.

"We've been talking about tax reform for a couple of years," said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser.

"I would hope that in our process that as these bills come over from the House, that we would schedule them for some sort of public hearing," said Sen. Gene Davis, the Democratic Senate minority leader.

"And we will, but our last committee hearings are on Monday next week," replied Niederhauser.

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