Utah Legislature commences 2023 General Session with introduction of health bills

The Utah Legislature kicked off the first day of its 65th General Session on Tuesday with the introduction of bills in both the House and Senate. Utah Senator Stuart Adams (R – Layton) and Rep. Brad Wilson (R – Kaysville) were sworn in as leaders of their respective chambers. 

 

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“What we do in this session will not only impact us today but will impact all of our tomorrows and more importantly it will impact the tomorrows of our children and our grandchildren, and even our great grandchildren,” Adams said. “Let us now commit to be a body of foresight. There are many challenges that face us today, that we as a state have the opportunity to address but we know we know because we have the track record to prove it that these challenges or challenges are best solved.”

The Republican leaders will oversee supermajorities in both the House and Senate, holding 61-14 and 23-6 advantages. There are 18 new legislators this session, 16 in the House and 2 in the Senate. 

“Unfortunately, many of our teens are struggling,” Wilson said addressing the House floor. “As a House, let’s work together to provide additional mental health resources to Utah’s rising generation by providing funds for teen centers across the state. And while we wish school safety required nothing more than a responsible adult to keep kids from sticking their tongues to a frozen flagpole, sadly the world we live in requires significant error, significant investment, and efforts to keep our kids safe. We will implement policies and fund initiatives to improve school safety across Utah.”

Among the proposed health bills are measures to address Medicaid expansion, healthcare licensing requirements, and youth behavioral health and safety. In an address to his Senate colleagues, Adams spoke to reducing taxes and regulatory burdens this session.

“Interest rates have risen dramatically to help curb inflation,” Adams said. “We can’t control Washington, but you can do [your] part by reducing taxes and regulatory roadblocks and we will.”

Utah lawmakers are looking to secure funding for health programs that improve health equity and access. On Wednesday, the Senate Health and Human Services Standing Committee will consider its first slate of health-related bills, including gender transitioning procedures for minors, Medicaid waivers for dental care coverage, and medical cannabis regulations.