HB258S2 WOMEN’S CANCER SCREENING NOTIFICATION AMENDMENTS
(This bill is currently waiting signature by the Governor). HB258 requires a facility that performs screening or diagnostic mammography to provide a patient who has dense breast tissue with a notification regarding that report.
Many women in my District brought this very sensitive and critical matter to my attention. It affects as many as 50% of all women. Since 1991, Utah has maintained in statute the Mammography Quality Assurance Act (Utah Code Section 26-21a-203) but we have not updated those protections. Mammogram results reveal whether the patient has dense tissue and if so, the cancer detection results may be clouded and misleading. Women often leave their physician or caregiver appointment not knowing of their dense tissue and its effects. They may find out years later that they have cancer, which could have been detected and treated much sooner and at an earlier stage. This is a life-saving measure.
HB366 SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER TREATMENT AMENDMENTS
(This bill is currently waiting signature by the Governor).This bill amends provisions regarding treatment for substance use disorder.
Last year, we adopted and passed the “Essential Treatment and Intervention Act” (2017 HB286). This Bill (HB366) reflects the follow up action resulting from the implementation and Administrative Rules adopted during the interim.
During our Administrative Rules meetings, law enforcement requested clarification regarding failure to follow court orders. Medical emergency room experts also suggested how they might help with and be included in these life-saving measures. This Bill passed unanimously in the House and seeks Senate approval to further achieve all that we are doing to address the loss of more than 600 individuals per year in Utah because of opioid prescription drug abuse. Now, caring relatives may qualify and petition for essential treatment for loved ones at risk of substantial harm and loss of life.
HB383S2 WORK ENVIRONMENT AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE AMENDMENTS
(This bill is currently waiting signature by the Governor). This bill clarifies and amends grievance procedures for state employees in the executive branch.
HB383S2 is a consensus Bill achieved through many months of joint meetings and combined work sessions with the Attorney General and Department of Human Resource Management throughout this session. Current law assures a state employee work environment that is free of abusive conduct (Utah Code 67-19-44). However, there has been a disconnect and absence of implementation of this policy through the grievance procedures set forth in Chapter 19A. This Bill connects and clarifies these procedures whereby a state employee may bring a work environment complaint and, if needed, appeal to the Career Service Review for administrative review and decision.
HB439 COORDINATED PENALTIES FOR SEXUAL ABUSE
HB439 is an urgent Bill with unanimous support. Several years ago we appropriately adopted criminal penalties for unlawful sexual contact by an educator with a student. These school employees are described in statute as “positions of trust”. In statute, this is a third degree felony in some instances. However, the unintended consequence that recently occurred involved cases of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor and which warranted higher penalties but were capped unjustly at the third degree felony level.
We have worked directly with the Attorney General and Law Enforcement throughout the state and bring to you this important clarification and correction. It clarifies and coordinates the penalties for sexual abuse and gives the court authority to make an enhanced penalty when they find it applicable. This bill passed unanimously in the House and in Senate Committee.
HB286 Essential Treatment and Intervention Act
This urgent, life-saving Legislation passed and was signed into law on March 25, 2017. Throughout America, more than 50,000 individuals died last year from heroin addiction and prescription drug (“opioids”) abuse and overdose. Utah has been as high as fourth in the nation in deaths from opioid addiction. (Currently, as many as thirty or more deaths each month). The challenge is how can loving family members and caring relatives obtain legal standing to contact medical professionals and obtain essential treatment and recovery services for those who are so impaired they can’t see and recognize their own condition? They do not see the life-threatening effects of such substance use disorders. HB286 now provides that legal path to essential treatment and needed intervention.
I was interviewed by Kamrin Carver, AMFT, CSAT-C, Clinical Director at Brighton Recovery Center in South Ogden, Utah regarding HB286 Essential Treatment and Intervention Act. Dennis Cecchini, parent advocate, joined in discussing HB286.
June 5, 2017 Opioid Epidemic Podcast
HB248 Domestic Violence Related Amendments This Bill provides a continuous protective order to be issued against a domestic violence perpetrator when sentenced in court.
2017 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTION
Thank you, Heather Wolsey and victims and victims’ advocates throughout the state with whom I have been working closely for so long. A serious flaw in current law has been the unintended and unforeseen expiration of prior protective orders as issued by courts and judges to protect victims of domestic violence. This has exposed victims to further harm and continuing fear and trauma beyond measure. Now, through this Bill, protective orders can be permanent and even when a perpetrator and convicted defendant is released from jail or prison, they may not return or have further contact with and cause additional harm to the victim. This Bill also strengthens enforcement of restitution requirements in favor of the victim in criminal sentencing.
I am also honored and grateful to assist and support Rep. Lowry Snow in the passage of HB17 -Offenses Against the Person Amendments (Aggravated Assault/Potential Strangulation). This Bill sponsored by Rep. Snow took more than two years to finalize and successfully pass this session. This Bill specifically addresses the aggravated assault of impeding the breathing or blood circulation of another person through use of unlawful force that is likely to result in a loss of consciousness. I continue to meet and work closely with leaders throughout the state to provide every protection possible to prevent domestic violence in all its many forms.
HB264 Utah Public Education Review and Strategic Planning This Bill presented a simple two-year extension of time to fully achieve the collaborative efforts introduced in 2015 through HB360, which I sponsored and passed. That Bill continues to have lasting impact and was the result of more than a year’s worth of frequent meetings and united efforts of citizens and education leaders in our district and the education committee that I formed to enlist their support and assistance. This has helped lead to a full re-codification of our Public Education statutes. This includes review of past policies and programs and performance history of the state public education system, which is underway. HB264 passed in the House and was ready for passage by the Senate but time expired. Even so, the effects are still being achieved through Legislative audit and the continued diligence and thorough review and consideration of the elected state school board as they continue to develop their strategic forward planning.
The education of our children and the funding required for our schools and educators are always a top Legislative priority. I have served continuously on the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. This year, we were able to provide the largest funding increase in many years. (More than twice what the Governor thought possible in his initial proposed budget). We also made sure that teachers do not have to pay separately for their continued licensing fees and classroom supplies.
Experience and Successful Legislation as your State Representative:
- Strengthened and increased Constitutional protection of parental rights against government interference in the care and custody of our children. Strong advocate and defender of marriage, family and Religious Liberty. Established Utah Marriage Commission in Statute.
- Established the Utah Commission on Civic and Character Education to promote informed and engaged citizenry among succeeding generations of our children who are the “future guardians of the liberties of the Country.” Also established means to successfully accomplish civic and character education in our schools with follow up reports and exchange of successful methods by school districts and our elected state school board.
- Provided homeowner foreclosure relief and an authorized “single point of contact” with whom a borrower can communicate to consider reasonable alternatives to avoid loss of home.
- Established in statute Utah’s full and unconditional reservation of Constitutional right to resist all Federal takings and interference with our State sovereignty including legal and equitable rights of set-off.
- Increased frequency and scope of audits of annual base budgets of core government operations to promote efficiency and accountability.
- Repealed unjust and unnecessary laws while limiting the proper role of government and avoiding waste.
- Strengthened penalties and passed measures to effectively block illegal drug traffic in our prisons and correctional facilities.
- Provided property tax relief.
- Passed legislation enabling White City in our District to become a recognized Township.
- Commemoration of “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and Vietnam Veterans’ Recognition.
- Amended and passed “Hate Crime” protection for all citizens against terror and intimidation in the exercise of established constitutional rights.
- Sponsored and passed HB360 in 2015 (Utah Education Amendments). This is a very significant improvement in our public education. It recognizes in statute the primary responsibility and authority of all parents regarding their children’s public schools and education. It also amends the Education Code in its entirety to clarify and ensure that the State School Board serves as the parent’s elected representatives rather than the State Office of Education, as set forth in our state constitution. The State Office of Education is separate. They act as a skilled and dedicated team of professionals who support and are an appendage to the elected State School Board. HB360 also commissioned a 15-year audit of our current public education, and which is now underway. We are also in the process of preparing a new 10-year vision and master plan for growth and progress going forward.
- Chief Sponsor of 2016 HB375Prescription Drug Abuse Amendment. This critical legislation is in response to the heart-breaking loss of family and loved ones by those in our District and what is generally recognized as a national epidemic involving abuse of prescribed opiates. Thanks to the support and cooperation of medical professionals, pharmacists, state officials and citizens throughout our state, we are now utilizing our effective electronic registry and database to guard against prescription drug abuse.
- Co-sponsored exemplary and compassionate legislation with housing and employment protections against discrimination while also upholding the free expression and exercise of Religious Liberty as provided in the Constitution.
COMMITTEE WORK: EXTENSIVE SERVICE AND LEADERSHIP IN PUBLIC EDUCATION, LAW ENFORCEMENT, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, THE JUDICIARY, AND STATE RETIREMENT AND INDEPENDENT ENTITIES, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES, WATER LAW PLUS CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION COMMISSION AND JUDICIAL RULES REVIEW.
AWARDS: STATESMAN OF THE YEAR, FRIEND OF THE TAXPAYER, GUARDIAN OF SMALL BUSINESS, CHAMPION OF BUSINESS AND LEGACY AWARD FOR DEFENDING AND PROTECTING UTAH FAMILIES.
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