SALT LAKE CITY — Children of immigrants who enter the state and country legally and lawfully will no longer wait five years before becoming eligible for health insurance.

The Utah Legislature on Tuesday removed the waiting period as part of intent language filed with HB2, a bill that divvies out state funds but also clarifies how the money should be spent.

Utah is the 29th state to expand eligibility for lawfully residing immigrant children since 2009, when the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act gave states the option. The state ranks 47th in the nation for the high number of uninsured children, including a large percentage of immigrant children and kids from Hispanic households.

Six percent of caucasian children in Utah are uninsured, while more than 23 percent of Hispanic children remain without access to health care, according to Voices for Utah Children, a local child-advocacy organization that applauds the recent decision to improve the lives of Utah children and families.

— Wendy Leonard