The Daily Buzz – Jan. 26

The Daily Buzz – Jan. 26

Friday – Mental Health Crisis Line Amendments

Bills flood in and out of the House floor. Some may not even recall each bill discussed on the floor on a given day, but a bill that passed the House today will surely not be forgotten. Many representatives from both sides of the aisle stood and spoke in unison—in support of Representative Steve Eliason’s bill. It is titled Mental Health Crisis Line Amendments, but its referred to as the Hannah bill. In memory of Hannah Warburton, a young woman that committed suicide after attempting to call a local suicide hotline only to get a voicemail. The result was 73 votes in favor and not a single vote against.

When Representative Lee Perry spoke in favor of H.B. 41, he made it clear that this was the most important legislation that the Legislature would pass this entire session. Another Representative (WHO) standing in favor made the insightful observation that this would be one of the few times that their legislation would affect a life or death circumstance.

In this bill, they go through the operations of a statewide mental health crisis hotline. They saw the need for a consistent local suicide hotline that bears the proper resources to give aid at any moment. This bill allocates funding towards resources and advertising this crisis hotline. Some may argue that the funding is “excessive,” but when asked to place a price tag on the life of a loved one, those arguments begin to fade.

The House also passed HB 42 sponsored by Rep. Eliason which seeks the enactment of a Medicaid waiver for certain mental health crisis resources. You could say that today was a big day in the history for of the Utah House of Representatives.

The Utah Lake Master Plan

Utah Lake, an iconic landmark in Utah County, has seen better days. Currently, the lake is contaminated with high levels of phosphorus and algae blooms. There are invasive species, including carp, which infest the water, and it is no secret that this would-be an attraction sees little by way of visitors. Though, there is a group of people that would like to change that.

The Utah Lake Master Plan is a restoration project that would restore Utah Lake to its full glory. The project consists of 60 percent conservation and 40 percent development. The proposal includes building islands on the lake, modeled after the ones created in Dubai, for recreation, conservation, and development. This part of the project is headed by the man who constructed Dubai’s islands, and the restoration team consists of other highly qualified experts.

There is a bill being sponsored in the House to clear the way for this project to start. The project would take some 25 years to complete and will be paid for by the private sector. The project is estimated to cost $6.4 billion and would conserve 30 billion gallons of clean water each year, which is enough to sustain an additional 600,000 people.

 

Monday’s Schedule:

 7:59 AM Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee

8:00 AM Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee

8:00 AM Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee

8:00 AM Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee

12:45 PM House Retirement and Independent Entities Committee

2:00 PM House Business and Labor Committee

2:00 PM House Education Committee

2:00 PM House Health and Human Services Committee

5:30 PM Legislative Management Committee