Day 31 — Issues to watch

Bills and issues moving their way through the legislature this week:

Resolution honoring Senator Orrin Hatch

Senator Orrin Hatch has served the state of Utah for over 40 years as a U.S. Senator. Now that he is retiring from the U.S. Senate, our State Senate passed a resolution, SCR 13, to honor Senator Hatch for the good work he has done on behalf of our state. As part of the resolution, February 21, 2018 was designated as Orrin Hatch Day. This resolution gave many legislators a chance to acknowledge the personal and political stories they had with Senator Hatch. You can listen to the floor discussion and Senator Hatch’s remarks here.

In the News: Deseret News  

Talent Ready Utah Center

One year ago, during the State of the State address, Governor Herbert launched the Talent Ready Utah Initiative with the purpose of helping meet our workforce needs in the state. SB 131, Talent Ready Utah Amendments, furthers this effort by creating a Talent Ready Utah Center under the direction of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Senator Millner is the Senate sponsor on this bill and I am the House sponsor. This center would provide coordination between education leaders and industry leaders to make sure we’re aligning our efforts in meeting workforce needs. This would help industry leaders be more engaged in educational opportunities like internships and externships. There is an outcome component to this bill that would establish metrics to see if we are having success in our efforts. This bill passed the Senate and will now be considered by the House. Listen to the floor debate here.

Medical Marijuana

For the last four years, we have considered legislation that would allow for the use of marijuana products for medical purposes. With the exception of CBD oil use for epileptic children, no marijuana bills have passed successfully through the legislature. This year, the use of medical marijuana is divided into two main bills. HB 197 would permit the growth of marijuana in the State and charge the Department of Agriculture with overseeing the growing. HB 195 established “right to try” legislation that would permit patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes if it is recommended by a doctor. These bills originated in the House and narrowly passed. They were recently debated in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and passed out. These bills will be considered on the Senate floor for second and third reading for passage.  You can listen to the committee presentation here.

In the News:  Deseret News

Cannabidiol Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD) has shown promise as a treatment for Epileptic conditions. Two years ago, HB58 by Representative Froerer allowed patients suffering from epilepsy to use medical CBD for treatment. The law was silent, however, about where people could get the CDB, though most patients in Utah obtained it from Colorado. Since then, CBD products have become more widely available here in the state but are almost completely unregulated. Some CBD products are laced with potentially harmful substances like THC and fentanyl, which has led to medical complications and even hospital visits–the causes of which are due to the additives, not the CBD. This bill creates a regulatory infrastructure for CBD sales in Utah. Under Utah law, only Epileptic patients can use CBD products, and this does not change under this bill. SB130, sponsored by Senator Vickers, has two major components. The first component authorizes the Department of Agriculture to regulate CBD the products that are currently being sold to Epileptic patients. The company selling the CBD must register their product with the state and pay a fee. The fee would be used to test the integrity of the products, determining if the product CBD, nothing less and nothing more. The second component submits Utah’s application for a waiver with the DEA to allow the state to develop a medical grade CBD product that doctors can prescribe. This bill has passed the Senate and will be heard in the House.

School Security Locks

Senator Weiler was approached by a constituent, who, concerned for the safety of his daughter, wanted to donate locks to his daughter’s elementary school to be used during a lockdown situation. Unfortunately, state building and fire codes prohibit the use of these locks on classroom doors in the state of Utah. Weiler’s bill, SB87 School Security Locks, allows school districts to decide for themselves to install bolt locks on classroom doors. The bill passed after the Senate concurred with a House amendment on Thursday the 15th, one day after the mass school shooting in Florida. Weiler told the Deseret News, “I’m hoping that by removing this legal barricade, more schools in Utah will be able to take whatever steps they deem appropriate to protect students.” Watch Senator Weiler presenting the bill on the Senate Floor here.

In the News:  Deseret News

Honoring Thomas S. Monson

Thomas S. Monson has been a prominent figure in Utah for the last 50 years, most recently serving as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, it seemed fitting to honor his memory on the Senate floor this week. HCR 5, Concurrent Resolution Honoring Thomas S. Monson, recognizes his many years of service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as well as his other accomplishments in life like serving in the U.S. Navy and graduating from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. His family was present on the Senate floor during the debate. The resolution passed both chambers unanimously.

In the News: Deseret News

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