Grass Roots
Committed to Promoting the Principles of Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government,
Participatory Republic, Free Market Economy, Family and Separation of Powers

Legislative Updates - 14 February 2022

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Dear Friends:

This is GrassRoots’ 4th legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature. At this time (4 weeks into the session), there are about 640 numbered bills for this session posted on the Utah Legislature website. Here are some bills that we consider to be noteworthy.

Bills catching our attention this week:

*HB200Substitute, “Medicaid Waiver for Medically Complex Children Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Eliason and Senator Bramble, would amend application, eligibility, treatment, and evaluation provisions for the Medicaid program for children with complex medical conditions.

The latest fiscal note for HB200 indicates that the bill would increase state government spending by $7.9 million per year, so this looks like another Medicaid expansion. The extra spending is envisioned to be paid for as follows: $5.25 million per year from Federal Funds, $2.24 million per year from Utah’s General Fund, and $0.42 million per year from “Expendable Receipts.”

HB200Substitute passed the House 71-0 on February 10th, and awaits action by the Senate Rules Committee.

We think Medicaid expansion is the wrong direction, both at state and national levels of government. Also we would prefer tax cuts instead of this additional spending. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB200Substitute.

*HB239Substitute, “Governmental Entity Budget Transparency”, sponsored by Representative Abbot, would require certain state and local government entities to disclose the following information relating to the government entities' budget:

  • the percentage increase in the proposed budget over the prior year’s budget;
  • the percentage increase in the most recent 12-month average consumer price index; and
  • the percentage increase in the estimated population covered by the government entity in the last year.

HB239Substitute passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee 6-4 on Feb 11th, and awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.

When there are real, per capita increases or decreases in government spending, we should try to make that fact more obvious to the taxpayers. GrassRoots favors a “yes” vote on HB239Substitute.

*HB261, “Civil Commitment Revisions”, sponsored by Representative Lyman and Senator Bramble, would include a physician assistant and nurse practitioner on the list of individuals who may evaluate an individual to be temporarily, involuntarily civilly committed to a local mental health authority.

HB261 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee 8-3 on Feb 10th, and awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.

We have frequently witnessed a disturbing trend toward “trusting the experts” in various government actions, and away from recognition of basic human rights and of the principle of Equal Treatment Under The Law. HB261 appears to expand the list of “trusted experts” that we would allow to evaluate an individual to be temporarily civilly committed.

During the recent pandemic of government restrictions and mandates, along with plentiful censorship of various opinions and observations, we even have reason to wonder if people might be declared mentally ill for declining to be vaccinated, or to have their children vaccinated.

While it may be appropriate for a physician assistant or nurse practitioner to testify in court about the propriety of civilly committing an individual, the ruling that an individual is to be temporarily civilly committed should be the decision of a judge (and the decision to more permanently civilly commit an individual should be subject to the verdict of a jury). (And, frankly, we have seen enough signs of folly and corruption in some of our judges that even the idea of certain judges being allowed to “temporarily” civilly commit an individual is somewhat chilling.)

GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB261.

Updated status on bills covered in past weekly updates:

*HB32Substitute, “Health Care Worker Protection Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Spendlove and Senator Ipson, would enact enhanced penalties for assault or threat of violence against an owner, employee, or contractor of a health facility. Additional coverage of HB32Substitute may be found in our update of February 7th.

HB32Substitute passed the House 56-16 on Feb 1st, and passed the Senate Business and Labor Committee 5-0 on February 9th, and awaits consideration by the full Senate on their consent calendar (usually an avenue to accelerated consideration of the bill).

We are still concerned that, contrary to the principle of Equal Treatment Under The Law, HB32Substitute appears to create another special class of people, and a criminal is said to deserve extra punishment for assaulting or threatening this special class of people. GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on HB32Substitute.

*SB49, “State Film Production Incentives Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Winterton and Representative Handy, would exempt certain rural film productions from limits on the total amount of refundable motion picture tax credit incentives the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity may issue each fiscal year. Additional coverage of SB49 may be found in our update of February 7th.

SB49 passed the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee 5-0 on February 8th, and awaits consideration by the full Senate on their 2nd reading calendar.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SB49.

*SB128, “Reauthorization of Administrative Rules”, sponsored by Senator Bramble, states: “All rules of Utah state agencies are reauthorized.” Additional coverage of SB128, and of the annual tradition of renewing the Administrative State, may be found in our update of January 31st.

SB128 passed the Senate 2nd reading 23-0 on Feb 11th, and awaits consideration on the Senate 3rd reading calendar.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SB128.

If you have any questions about these bills, GrassRoots’ position on these bills, or related matters, please contact either of us or any other member of the Board of Utah GrassRoots.


Steve Stromness
Vice-Chairman, Bill Review Coordinator, Utah GrassRoots

Don Guymon
Chairman, Utah GrassRoots

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