Utah PolitiLinks: Proposal to donate unused medications, opposition not end of line for medical marijuana bill

Source: Deseret News

Advocacy group says bill would reduce access to mental illness medication

Members of the public, health care providers, law enforcement officials and legislators discussed HB18, a bill that would include additional drugs on Medicaid’s preferred drug list.

Some residents expressed concern about which medications would be excluded from the list.

“That’s the problem with mental health medication,” Melissa Hansen, a mother with two children who need mental health medication, said in a Deseret News article. “One can work fantastic for one child … but not be a good fit for another child. That’s why the freedom of choice in medication is so important.”

The bill was tabled, with lawmakers expressing interest in hearing from the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

Lawmaker proposes donating unused medications to needy

Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, is sponsoring HB236, a bill that would allow certain offices and facilities to donate unused medications to needy individuals, specifically those on Medicaid, Medicare or uninsured.

Parameters for the medication donation are: medication that must be in sealed packaging and unexpired, controlled substances are not accepted and physician’s offices, pharmacies, manufacturers and nursing facilities are all accepted donors, according to a Deseret News article.

Lobbyist group considers suing state over ‘inadequate’ school funding

Leaders of the Alliance for a Better Utah announced that they intend to file a lawsuit against the state of Utah in hopes to force increased funding for public schools.

Utah is one of a few remaining states that hasn’t yet faced litigation over public education funding, although this lawsuit will break that.

Legislative leaders such as House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, say they have taken education funding seriously.

“I think that was a major accomplishment, a major achievement that really shows the commitment to adequately fund education,” Hughes said in regards to the increased property tax revenues, according to a Deseret News article.

Regardless, Josh Kanter, founder and board president of the alliance said Utah’s education dollars are below what they were in 2008.

LDS Church’s opposition does not necessarily doom medical marijuana bill, sponsor says

While Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, would “always like everyone to endorse every one of (his) bills,” he said that he has disagreed with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on issues before so the opposition doesn’t mean the end of his legislation.

The LDS church issued a statement that there is concern about the “unintended consequences” of legalizing marijuana, especially how it is presented in Madsen’s bill.

“We’re always looking to improve the bill, but we’re not going back to have any change or revision from the direction we’ve been going,” Madsen said in a Deseret News article. “It there was a dialogue or some kind of even mere impression what direction we might go, we’d consider it, but where do you go when there’s not meaningful feedback or dialogue?”

Survivor of Trolley Square massacre urges lawmakers to reform Medicaid

One of the nine people shot during the attack at Trolley Square on Feb. 12, 2007 spoke to members of the Utah Legislature’s Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee, encouraging them to pass Medicaid reform.

“I was shot three times, and I live with lead poisoning because I have hundreds of lead pellets from the shotgun in me,” Carolyn Tuft told the committee in a Deseret News article. “So I was disabled from that day.”

She said that she lives on the $500 she gets from disability and has no prescription coverage so she can’t afford drugs to counteract the hundreds of lead gunshot pellets still in her body.

Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houch, D-Salt Lake City, said Tuft’s testimony was one example of the coverage gap and the legislature needed to move forward with “what we’ve had in front of us the last three years.”

Committee approves bill allowing tastings at liquor distilleries

HB228, a bill that would allow liquor tastings at state liquor distilleries, was unanimously approved by the House Business and Labor Committee and will go on to the full House.

“Most people are not going to spend $100 to $300 on a product without knowing what they’re buying,” bill sponsor Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville said in a Deseret News article.

Read Deseret News article here.


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