SALT LAKE CITY — Discussion on some amendments to Utah's new medical marijuana law was a main focus as lawmakers wrapped up the fourth week of the 45-day session of the Utah State Legislature. Other important issues included requiring medical professionals to discuss opioids with patients before prescribing them and the weighing of multiple proposed gun bills.
Here's a brief look at five other major legislature stories from last week:
Prior projections of a $1.3 billion budget surplus were "too good to be true," said Senate President Stuart Adams on Friday before new revenue estimates were announced. There's now about $200 million less in money unspent in the current budget year.
Senate Budget Chairman Jerry Stevenson said new numbers mean there "are a lot of requests that are either going to be cut drastically or they're not going to be funded at all," while the decline in additional revenues is also likely to have a big impact on the Legislature's efforts to enact tax reform this session
A radioactive waste bill dealing with the potential storage of depleted uranium in Utah passed the House on a vote of 50-20 Friday morning and awaits Gov. Gary Herbert's signature.
Critics of HB220 are asking Herbert to veto it, and the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, or HEAL Utah, held a protest Friday at the state Capitol. A veto from Herbert, however, appears unlikely.
HB399, which would make it illegal for licensed therapists and health professionals to attempt to change or "fix" a child or teen's sexual orientation or gender identity, was unveiled in a Thursday press conference at the state Capitol.
The bill will "establish regulatory standards and will have a positive impact on the mental well-being of LGBTQ youth throughout the state," said its chief sponsor, Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City.
Sen. Mitt Romney gave his first report to the Utah Legislature Thursday since taking office — though Senate Democrats missed the update.
In the House GOP caucus, Romney told lawmakers he was surprised at the "great deal of friendship and respect that comes across the aisle" in Washington, D.C., but also the "lack of communication between parties."
A Utah Senate committee took its first look at a so-called hate crimes bill Thursday, and the measure cleared a hurdle to head to the Senate floor.Comment on this story
SB103 provides for an enhanced penalty for a criminal offense if the offender acted against an individual because of the offender's perception of the individual's ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion or sexual orientation. Discussion on the bill followed uproar over a recent video in which a man appears to attack another man in Salt Lake City after asking him if he was gay.