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Silas Walker, Deseret News
People watch protesters in front of the House chamber at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.
Medicaid expansion continued to be a main focus on the hill during the second week of the 45-day session. Other key issues included removing “slavery” from Utah’s constitution, a bill intending to better protect victims of sexual violence and proposals to change the state flag.
Here’s a brief look at five major legislature stories from last week that you won’t want to miss:
The House voted 56 to 19 in favor of SB96 Friday, the GOP legislative leadership’s alternative to the full Medicaid expansion approved by voters that now includes the possibility of reverting back to much of Proposition 3.
The vote came after a group of faith leaders chanted, “Do justice, love mercy,” and prayed outside the House chamber for lawmakers to support the ballot initiative passed in November rather than a more limited and initially more costly plan.
A bill that’s been years in the making, aiming to allow driverless vehicles to ply Utah’s highways and byways, earned the unanimous approval of a legislative committee Friday.
Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, told the House Transportation Committee he has spent the last four years assembling his proposal, HB101, that looks to lay the groundwork for navigating the legal ramifications of semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles — a concept once reserved for the realm of science fiction but now, according to industry watchers, is likely just a few years away.
With the death of University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey in mind, a state lawmaker is seeking to strengthen campus safety when it comes to stalking, sexual assault and relationship violence.
“This bill ensures all campuses have a comprehensive, consistent safety plan in place,” said Senate Assistant Minority Whip Jani Iwamoto, the bill’s sponsor.
It’s a reincarnation of a bill Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, sponsored last year, but didn’t survive the clock in time for a vote on the Senate floor after receiving support in the House.
Now that Utah has legalized medical marijuana, the Utah Department of Health is taking the next steps to prepare itself to start distributing.
And that means the health department needs money — to the tune of $4 million.