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How bills in the 2020 Utah legislative session could affect your money and your health: Week 1 preview

How bills in the 2020 Utah legislative session could affect your money and your health: Week 1 preview

(Scott G Winterton, KSL, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — It can be hard to keep track of the comings and goings at the Utah State Capitol during the annual legislative session. Most Utahns just want to know one thing: How could lawmakers’ decisions affect me?

During the 2020 General Session, will be keeping an eye on bills that could someday make an impact on Utahns’ money and health. In our weekly legislative roundup, we’ll let you know the status of some noteworthy bills being considered.

The General Session began Monday. Here's a preview of some bills lawmakers have proposed:

How bills could affect your money

HB51: What it says: This bill would repeal the State Tax Commission’s authority to reassess property values and override county auditors. The big picture: Property values are rising fast in some Utah counties, and this bill would give counties the final say.

HB160: What it says: If passed, HB 160 would help refugees to earn a high school diploma or GED if they haven’t yet. The big picture: Refugees can be a big boost to the Utah economy, especially with a high school education or more.

SB39: What it says: For those who qualify for federal housing assistance, or have children at risk of homelessness, this bill would create partnerships between the state and housing organizations to get them more help. The big picture: Housing affordability and homelessness will be top of mind for legislators during the 2020 session.

How bills could affect your health

HB32: What it says: If passed, this bill would create new mental health resources in the state, including an expanded mobile crisis outreach, a health receiving center pilot program and a statewide peer support line. It also directs the Department of Health to apply for a Medicaid waiver that would reimburse certain inpatient treatments. The big picture: This bill is part of a long-term movement toward greater mental health awareness and resources.

HB35: What it says: This bill requires a mental health and substance abuse division in the Department of Human Services to provide standards and resources for a multidisciplinary community treatment team. It also calls for the division to help with housing for some of the adults leaving the state hospital. Additionally, it requires the Forensic Mental Health Coordinating Council to research the need for more adult beds at the Utah State Hospital, and present their recommendations to lawmakers. The big picture: Chronic mental health needs health affect many in Utah, and this bill touches on the key aspects of immediate and long-term treatment, as well as post-care housing.

HB65: What it says: If passed, this bill would remove the requirement that a physician check with law enforcement to make sure a police report has been filed before performing an abortion for a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape or incest. The big picture: As this weekend’s March for Life showed, abortion is still a contentious issue in Utah.

SB46: What it says: This bill would increase the penalty for domestic violence committed in the presence of a child. The big picture: This bill signals both a decreased tolerance for domestic violence and an acknowledgment that witnessing such violence as a child can have long-term ill effects.

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Graham Dudley reports on politics, breaking news and more for A native Texan, Graham's work has previously appeared in the Brownwood (Texas) Bulletin and The Oklahoma Daily.


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