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 - 28 February 2022

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Dear Friends:

This is GrassRoots’ 6th legislative update of this year’s General Session of the Utah State Legislature. At this time (6 weeks into the session), there are about 810 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:

*SB185, “Children's Health Coverage Amendments”, sponsored by Senator Escamilla, would direct the Department of Health to expand eligibility for the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program to include all Utah children, including those who do not currently qualify. The latest fiscal note for SB185 indicates SB185 would increase Medicaid spending by $7 million in Fiscal Year 2023, and by $9 million in FY2024, partly financed by Federal Funds and partly financed by Utah’s General Fund.

SB185 passed the Senate 2nd reading 22-5 on Feb 25th, and awaits consideration on the Senate’s 3rd reading calendar.

Medicaid does not fall into the proper role for state government, nor for the federal government, and should not be expanded. We would prefer tax cuts (or enlarged tax cuts) rather than this government spending. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SB185.

*SB212Substitute, “Manufacturing Modernization Grant Program”, sponsored by Senator Millner and Representative Jefferson Moss, would:

  • create the Manufacturing Modernization Grant Program within the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity;
  • provide rulemaking authority;
  • include a sunset date;
  • create reporting requirements; and
  • appropriate in fiscal year 2023: to Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity -- Business Development --- Corporate Recruitment and Business Services, as a one-time appropriation: from General Fund, One-time, $10,000,000.

SB212Substitute passed the Senate 18-4 on Feb 23rd, and awaits consideration by the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee. It is currently scheduled as Item 1 on the agenda of the Monday, February 28th, 4pm meeting of that committee at 110 Senate Building.

We are not against Manufacturing Modernization, but investments in it should normally be made by the private sector after due diligence to evaluate whether or not proposed modernization will be a profitable investment. The investors may then enjoy the profits (or experience the losses) from this investment. It is not the proper role of government to centrally plan the economy and choose winners and losers. Also by sending more money to the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, there is additional opportunity for growth of crony capitalism in Utah. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SB212Substitute.

*SB238Substitute, “Homeless Services Modifications”, sponsored by Senator Anderegg and Representative Waldrip, would:

  • establish the COVID-19 Homeless Housing and Services Grant Program (grant program);
  • direct the Office of Homeless Services to administer the program;
  • direct the Utah Homelessness Council to award grants;
  • establish grant criteria;
  • require the state homelessness coordinator to submit an annual report; and
  • appropriate in fiscal year 2023: to Department of Workforce Services -- Office of Homeless Services, as a one-time appropriation: from Federal Funds -- American Rescue Plan, One-time, $127,838,200.

SB238Substitute passed the Senate 2nd reading 27-1 on Feb 25th, and awaits consideration on the Senate 3rd reading calendar.

The money directed to be spent by SB238Substitute does not come directly from Utah taxpayers specifically, but totally from “Federal Funds.” And yet we do not know of any authority for such national government spending under Article I, Section 8 or any other part of the United States Constitution. Does it make sense for Utah to continue begging for unlawful handouts from an increasingly bankrupt national government, thus increasing levels of taxation, money-printing, inflation, and control? In light of our current problems with inflation, and nightmarish lockdowns and vaccination and other mandates, we believe the answer is “no.” GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SB238Substitute.

Updated status on bills covered in past weekly updates:

*HB11Sub2, “Student Athletics Participation”, sponsored by Representative Birkeland and Senator Bramble, would establish the hodge-podge School Activity Eligibility Commission, which would decide on applications for exceptions to the rule conditioning student athlete participation in gender-designated sports in the public education system on the student's unamended birth certificate. Additional coverage of HB11Sub2 may be found in our update of February 21st.

HB11Sub2 passed the House 52-16 on Feb 16th, and passed the Senate Business and Labor Committee 4-3 on February 23rd, and awaits consideration on the Senate 2nd reading calendar.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on HB11Sub2.

*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. Additional coverage of HB200Substitute may be found in our updates of February 14th and 21st.

HB200Substitute passed the House 71-0 on February 10th, and the Senate 2nd reading 26-0 on February 24th, and is on the Senate 3rd reading calendar table due to its fiscal impact.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on HB200Substitute.

*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. Additional coverage of HB261 may be found in our updates of February 14th and 21st.

HB261 passed the House 69-0 on Feb 10th, and the Senate 19-5 on February 25th, and awaits action by the Governor.

GrassRoots favors a veto of HB261 by the Governor.

*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 updates of February 7th, 14th, and 21st.

SB49 passed the Senate 20-7 on February 15th, and the House Revenue and Taxation Committee 8-1 on February 23rd, and awaits action by the House Rules Committee due to its fiscal impact.

GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SB49.

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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