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AARP Utah Wrap-Up for 2012 Utah Legislature Session

The final votes have been cast and the lights in the House and Senate chambers are out for now. Now that this year’s legislative session has come to a close, we want to thank advocates like you for your continual support and help in representing AARP members to our elected officials. Below you will find a summary of activity related to legislation we followed.

Health Care

Bill: HB 144 – Health System Reform Amendments
Sponsor: Rep. Jim Dunnigan
Status: Passed – Waiting for Governor’s Signature
Position: Strong Support
Description: This bill expands the eligibility requirements for adults in the Utah Premium Partnership program. This program provides assistance for families to help them pay for health insurance offered through their employer. It also requires the legislature to study critical issues related to our state health insurance exchange including its governance, the role of navigators, and the benefits that must be included in its health plans. We are very pleased this bill passed with overwhelming support from both the House and Senate and will be working over the course of the next year on implementation.

Bill: SB 208 – The Health Care Compact
Sponsor: Sen. Stuart Adams
Status: Passed – Waiting for Governor’s Signature
Position: Oppose compact, neutral on the amendment
Description: This bill joins Utah with other states in petitioning Congress to exempt them from federal laws and regulations governing health care programs – including Medicare and the Affordable Care Act – leaving the states to make all decisions on the use of federal funds associated with these programs. The bill was amended to address several unanswered concerns, such as how joining the Compact would impact Medicare, disease control, the slow growth of funding and the state’s ability to manage these programs. If these questions are not resolved satisfactorily, the decision to join the Compact will expire in 2014. We believe that as the state takes a closer look at the effects of the proposal, they will make the right decision and move away from this idea.

Payday Lending

Bill: HB 66 - Deferred Deposit Lending Amendments
Sponsor: Rep. Brad Daw
Status: Failed in committee
Position: Support
Description: This bill would have created the technology necessary to gather accurate information related to the payday lending industry in our state. This information could then be used to determine necessary actions to prevent abuses within the system. Unfortunately, the committee adjourned while discussing this bill which essentially is the same as a failure to pass.

Bill: SB 110 - Deferred Deposit Lending and Forum Requirements
Sponsor: Sen. Ben McAdams
Status: Failed in committee
Position: Support
Description: This bill would have required payday lenders to file any legal action related to a loan in the same county where the loan was originated. This would prevent borrowers living in St. George or Logan from having to travel to Provo or Salt Lake to defend themselves at court. Unfortunately, this bill failed to get enough votes in committee to move forward.

Financial Security

Bill: SB 90 – Securities Fraud Reporting Program Act Amendments
Sponsor: Sen. Ben McAdams
Status: Passed – Waiting for Governor’s Signature
Position: Support
Description: This legislation clarifies protection from retaliation for those who report fraudulent activity and increases the award for those whose information leads to a successful prosecution.

Bill: SB 91 - Utah Uniform Securities Act Amendments and Civil Actions
Sponsor: Sen. Ben McAdams
Status: Passed – Waiting for Governor’s Signature
Position: Support
Description: This legislation allows for triple damages in civil cases of affinity fraud when it is shown that the violation was caused by negligence.

Government

Bill: HB 253 – Voter Registration Amendments
Sponsor: Rep. Kraig Powell
Status: Passed – Waiting for Governor’s Signature
Position: Neutral
Description: This bill aimed to clean up the voter registration records by purging names of residents who have not voted in several consecutive general elections. We worked with the sponsor and he agreed to amend the legislation so that a voter is removed from the rolls only if county clerks have received positive confirmation by mail that the individual has moved. With this amendment, our concerns were alleviated.

Budget

FY2013 Budget: Thanks to the improving revenue outlook, we were able to protect funding that allows Utahns to receive needed health care services in their homes and communities and ensure that Medicaid caseload growth is funded. In addition, Utah’s Commission on Aging will be funded to fulfill its intended mission.

We will stay in touch with our member throughout the year on AARP Utah’s advocacy at the state and federal level. For more information on our advocacy efforts, please contact Danny Harris at djharris@aarp.org. Thanks!

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