Homelessness Proposal – 2017 Utah State Legislative Session February 24, 2017

Homelessness Proposal
2017 Utah State Legislative Session February 24, 2017

Over the last two years, stakeholders from all sectors — public, private, and nonprofit — have been working to responsibly address the homelessness crisis we face in our state. Through this work, we have developed a plan to break up the ‘one-size-fits-all’ shelter model and reorient the system to minimize homelessness.

Plan Overview

This plan has four primary components:

  • A redesigned shelter model that breaks up the one-size-fits-all emergency shelter into four resource centers, tailoring services to population needs. There will be a family resource center in Midvale, two facilities in Salt Lake City capped at 200 beds each, and another resource center located in an area outside Salt Lake City. These resource centers will serve distinct populations of adult women, adult men and a gender-segregated facility serving both adult men and women. Population locations will be determined at a later date. No additional facility for families with children is anticipated at this time, as the intent is to divert and prevent these families from entering homelessness through the alternatives discussed below.
  • Alternatives to shelter will continue to be pursued to draw down demand for emergency shelter. Efforts include Salt Lake County’s Pay for Success initiative which targets persistently homeless individuals, more affordable housing, behavioral healthcare treatment facilities, increased diversion, additional e orts to reduce length of stay at a shelter and prevent repeat stays, motel vouchers and other alternatives to meet shelter demand.
  • System improvements that more efficiently coordinate resources across the housing and homelessness delivery system, including a coordinated entry and assessment system.
  • A public safety and treatment initiative, similar to Operation Diversion launched last fall, to ensure neighborhoods are safe and individuals have access to treatment.

Full funding for the above plan is anticipated to move forward this legislative session.

Next Steps 

Utilizing the process created by last year’s HB436 Housing and Homelessness Reform Initiative, funds will be distributed to achieve the above plan. At the request of the state, through a process facilitated by Salt Lake County, stakeholders will identify possible sites for a resource center located in an area outside Salt Lake City for consideration and approval by the State Homeless Coordinating Committee by March 30, 2017. If implemented, the state anticipates being able to responsibly close the downtown emergency shelter by June 30, 2019.

 

Media Alert: Speaker Hughes, state officials and Salt Lake County and City mayors to announce next steps on homeless plan

Media Alert: Speaker Hughes, state officials and Salt Lake County and City mayors to announce next steps on homeless plan

Media Alert
For Immediate Release
February 24, 2017

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
House Majority Communications Director
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

 Speaker Hughes, state officials and Salt Lake County and City mayors to announce next steps on homeless plan

What:

Press conference announcing progress on the collaborative effort among the State, Salt Lake County and City on the homeless resource centers and the legislation to move the plan forward.

Where:

Utah State Capitol – Presentation Room, First Floor

350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

When:

TODAY, February 24, 2017, at 11:00 AM 

Who:

Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, District 51

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski

President Senate Wayne Niederhauser, District 9

Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox

Jonathan Hardy, Department of Workforce Services

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Media Alert: Rep. Eliason to Raise Awareness of Suicide Prevention

Media Alert: Rep. Eliason to Raise Awareness of Suicide Prevention

Media Alert
For Immediate Release
February 21, 2017

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
House Majority Communications Director
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Rep. Steve Eliason to Raise Awareness of Suicide Prevention with Shoe Display

What:
Rep. Steve Eliason to hold a press conference with the Utah Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness about suicide. A display of combat boots from the National Guard and shoes from Deseret Industries to represent the more than 600 lives lost to suicide (74 servicemen and women) in Utah last year.

Where:
Utah State Capitol – South Steps
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

When:
Today, February 21, immediately following floor time at approximately 12:00 PM. The display of shoes and combat boots will begin at 9:00 AM

Who:
Representative Steve Eliason, District 45
Utah Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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Press Release: Only Fill What is Needed

Press Release: Only Fill What is Needed

Press Release
For Immediate Release
February 13, 2017

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov 

Only Fill What is Needed
Partial Filling of a Controlled Substance Legislation

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah, like many states, is facing an opiate epidemic that has led to hundreds of deaths due to narcotic overdoses. Seventy percent of those who misuse narcotics report obtaining the drugs from family, friends or off the street. The practice of illegally obtaining narcotics is commonly referred to as diversion.

Rep. Stewart Barlow’s, District 17, bill, H.B. 146 Partial Filling of a Schedule II Controlled Substance Prescription, would help reduce diversion by allowing a partial prescription to be filled instead of the full amount by the request of the prescriber or patient. A partial fill is considered anything less than the initially prescribed quantity of the controlled substance. Subsequent fillings of the original prescription must occur at the pharmacy that originally dispensed the partial fill.

The amount allocated cannot exceed the total quantity prescribed. The cost shall not exceed the original cost of the full prescription if a person chooses partial fills and uses the entire amount.

“Many patients do not require medication for the full expected duration of the pain following an injury or medical procedure,” said Rep. Barlow. “As a result, the bottle of pain medication will end up in a medicine cabinet or improperly disposed of.”

Instead of depending upon various efforts to safely dispose of unused medication, H.B. 146 will empower patients and prescribers with the ability to request a partial fill of a Scheduled II controlled pain medication, including Norco, Lortab, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Percocet, Morphine and Oxycodone.

“This bill defines and codifies partial prescription fills into state law and complies with recent changes in the federal law,” said Rep. Barlow. “I am confident that this bill and the new strategy it presents will provide a significant tool to help in the fight against opioid overdoses and deaths.”

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Media Advisory: Bill to Lower Blood Alcohol Content Levels to be Heard in Committee

Media Advisory: Bill to Lower Blood Alcohol Content Levels to be Heard in Committee

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
February 9, 2017

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Bill to Lower Blood Alcohol Content Levels to be Heard in Committee 

Salt Lake City – Rep. Norm Thurston’s bill, H.B. 155, to lower the state’s legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels for driving under the influence from 0.08 to 0.05 for the general population will be heard in House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice on Friday.

Dr. T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, will present data and answer questions about the bill.

“Utah can lead the way as the first state to lower the legal limit to 0.05 for the general population,” said Rep. Thurston. “It is well known that impairment begins with the first drink, but many drivers don’t realize that even low levels of BAC can degrade skills and increase the risk of vehicle crashes. Decreasing the legal limit will help reduce deaths, injuries and losses related to alcohol-impaired driving.”

Who:
Representative Norm Thurston, District 64
Dr. T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, Vice Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board

What:
Hearing on H.B. 155 – Driving Under the Influence and Public Safety Revisions

 Where:
House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee
House Building, Room 30
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

When:
Friday, February 10, 2017, beginning at 3:00 p.m.

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Press Release: Lowering Blood Alcohol Content Levels From .08 to .05

Press Release: Lowering Blood Alcohol Content Levels From .08 to .05

Press Release
For Immediate Release
December 30, 2016

Contacts:
Rep. Norm Thurston
Utah House of Representatives
801-477-5348
normthurston@le.utah.gov

Aundrea Peterson
Majority Communications Coordinator
Utah House of Representatives
801-791-3365
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Lowering Blood Alcohol Content Levels From .08 to .05
Rep. Norm Thurston’s proposed DUI legislation for upcoming session

SALT LAKE CITY – As Utahns get ready to celebrate New Years Eve, Rep. Norm Thurston, District 64, is preparing to sponsor legislation for the 2017 General Session to lower the state’s legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels for driving under the influence from 0.08 to 0.05 for the general population.

“It’s a needed change for the whole country. It is well known that impairment begins with the first drink, but many drivers don’t realize that even low levels of BAC can degrade skills and increase the risk of crashes,” explains Rep. Thurston. “Lowering the legal limit will help reduce deaths, injuries and losses related to alcohol-impaired driving. More drivers will become aware that there is a significant increase in risk that occurs well before reaching 0.08.”

Legal limits at or below 0.05 are common throughout the world. Most European nations have a 0.05 legal limit, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland according to European Transport Safety Council. Examples of other countries with limits at or below 0.05 include Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay. Countries, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary, have 0.00 limits on BAC for general population drivers. Across the U.S., typically BAC for commercial drivers is 0.04.

“Utah can lead the way as the first state to lower the legal limit to 0.05 for the general population,” said Rep. Thurston. “This will make it more clear that drinking and driving is not acceptable. Furthermore, implementing this new standard can be done with minimal disruption to current law enforcement procedures, making this a win-win for the safety of Utahns on the road.”

In Utah, drunk driving is the third most common factor contributing to motor vehicle crash deaths over the past 10 years, with speed being first and unrestrained occupants being second.

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