Key Issues Still Undecided As Leglisature Winds Down
The 2015 general session of the state legislature is set to end on March 12. Utah’s elected officials must now work out a deal on several unresolved issues facing the state with a little over a week remaining. The bills in question range from healthcare to electoral reform.
Among the considered legislation is Senate Bill 259, which would approve marijuana use for medical purposes. Dr. Chris Stock, who testified in a committee hearing for the bill, said that the subject deserves more serious consideration before a vote.
“My major concerns about this bill is that it’s premature. A number of people have said that we should get this right; we’re Utah, we’re good, we want to protect our citizens, we want to do the best for them,” he said. “I’m a scientist. I mentioned that I am a researcher and I think that this deserves to be examined for the facts, not the headlines, not the titles of studies, but how they were actually done.”
Also from the Senate, a proposal from Republican Scott Jenkins, would create a constitutional amendment allowing political parties to decide how their nominations will take place. Gov. Gary Herbert said that such a bill could harm a deal struck last year between political parties and Count My Vote, which advocated for open primaries.
“For good and rational reasons, the legislature last year, with Senate Bill 54, said, ‘we’re going to lose the caucus/convention system,’ the belief was, ‘unless we end up striking some kind of compromise,’” he said. “So, in good faith, they said to the Count My Vote folks, ‘look, if you’ll pull off, we’ll compromise and get a hybrid here where we protect the caucus/convention system rather than lose it.’ I think that they need to be careful about looking like we’ve dealt in bad faith.”
Other bills still under consideration include HB94, which would allow terminally-ill patients to try experimental treatments. The Governor’s Medicaid expansion plan could also receive a hearing this week.