Check out my Friday Facebook Live (this is a link to my FB page–you can find the video there). Every Friday of the session, I do a Facebook Live to report on the events of the week.This week I explained the budgeting process and three of the bills that we passed through the House. 

Mental Health

Utah is an amazing place to live, but there are some real issues that we need to find ways to address. Some statistics:

  • Every day, two people in Utah commit suicide
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 10-24
  • Veteran suicides account for a least 13% of all suicides in Utah
  • Close to one in five Utah adults experience poor mental health
  • Almost 40% of Utah’s depressed youth age 12-17 did not receive treatment for depression
  • Over 100,000 adults in Utah experience Serious Mental Illness (SMI)
  • Over half of Utah adults with mental illness did not receive mental health treatment or counseling
  • Lack of treatment is far greater for low-income Utahns

We are in the midst of a mental health crises that has been building for decades and affects almost every family in Utah. Mental health care has always been more difficult to access than physical health care, and insurance has not traditionally covered it very well, if at all. Families and individuals have met stigma and roadblocks and this needs to change.

There is a bill that was passed in my committee, Health and Human Services, and will soon be voted by the House that I think could help Utah to turn the corner on mental health care. It is HB 32 Crises Services Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Eliason. One of the most important things it will do is put funding for mental health treatment on par with physical health treatment in Medicaid, allowing our most vulnerable Utahns to receive integrated, consistent, and timely care. Hopefully, this will also pressure private insurance to do the same.

This bill also expands the Mobile Crises Outreach program to rural counties, provides funding for behavioral health centers for individuals having a mental health crisis–these individuals currently end up in jail or the state hospital, which are more expensive and inappropriate treatment for short term issues–, requires the Department of Human Services to establish a consistent plan on how to provide stabilization services to a child, and sets up a mental health hotline where calls will be answered by professionals who can give immediate help. These policies have been researched and recommended by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, and I truly hope that they will stem this tide. In the last three weeks, three students at Spanish Fork High School committed suicide. We cannot let this heartbreaking trend continue. 

Hooray for Women’s Suffrage!!

This year, 2020, marks the 150th anniversary of the first American woman to vote. Seraph Young cast her vote on February 14th, 1870 right here in Utah! 2020 also marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, granting all women the right to vote in the United States.The legislature celebrated these historic events by passing HJR 12 Joint Resolution Celebrating Women’s Suffrage in Utah. I feel lucky to serve with these amazing women in the Utah Legislature!

Honoring our Fallen Soldiers

This week, I had the honor of being in the presence of the families and loved ones of our fallen soldiers. It was truly humbling to know of the ultimate sacrifice these soldiers and their families have made. I am so grateful to all of our armed forces and their families.

My Highlights this week

Presenting and passing HB 205 Special Education Amendments unanimously out of the House!

Meeting with some of my favorite constituents, including this beautiful young man with autism who gave me so much love, and my fun, gregarious grandson and all of his friends from Lakeview Elementary 3rd grade.

Meeting with some amazing educators and having my good friend come sit with me during Floor time.

List of bills passed by the House 

Here is a list with links to all of the bills passed by the House this week through Thursday. They are now on their way to the Senate, where they can be 1. passed as is, 2. amended, then passed and returned to the House for concurrence, or 3. killed. 

HB 148 Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees
HB 151 Traffic Safety Amendments
HB 160 Refugee Continuing Education Program
HB 164 Property Tax Notifications Amendments
HB 191 Dairy Commission Amendments
HB 17, 1st Sub Congressional Vacancies Amendments
HB 18, 1st Sub Industrial Hemp Program Amendments
HB 22 Utah Retirement Systems Amendments
HB 28 Legislative Water Development Commission Sunset Amendments
HB 35 Mental Health Treatment Access Amendments
HB 41 State Water Policy Amendments
HB 73 Interference with Public Servants Amendments
HB 84 Traffic Code Amendments
HB 86 Adult Autism Treatment Program
HB 102, 1st Sub Retaliation and Obstruction of Justice Amendments
HB 103 Utah Promise Scholarship Program Amendments
HB 110 Inmate Expenses Amendments
HB 113, 1st Sub Consumer Sales Practices Amendments
HB 119 Child Care Amendments
HB 125, 1st Sub Division of Wildlife Resources Amendments
HB 129 Natural Gas Amendments
HB 138 Transportation Corridor Preservation Amendments
HB 141 Educator Salary Incentive Program Amendments
HB 143 School Bus Safety Inspection Amendments
HB 165 Telephone and Facsimile Solicitation Act Amendments
HB 173 Firefighter Retirement Amendments
HB 177 Prescription Revisions
HB 188 Emergency Management Act Amendments
HB 196 Domestic Relations Debt
HB 199 Insured Homeowners Protection
HB 209 Health Data Authority Amendments
HB 218 State Government Cloud Computing Amendments
HB 237 Change to Effective Date of Water-related Amendments
SB 11 Offset for Occupational Health and Safety Related Donations Sunset Extension
HCR 3 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School
HJR 1 Joint Resolution – United States Senate Vacancy
HJR 9 Joint Resolution Calling for an Application Ratings Board for Internet Ready Devices

Have a great week!! If you would like to come up to the Capitol and sit with me on the floor or schedule a visit, please contact my intern, Rafaela–she does a better job of keeping my schedule than I do during the session:
[email protected] or 801-755-4737. 

You can also contact me directly–I love to hear from you!

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