One-year anniversary of Russia invading Ukraine; Utah bills prohibiting diversity, equity and inclusion being heard on Capitol Hill
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The Utah Policy newsletter is your one-stop source for political and policy-minded news. We scour the news so you don't have to! Send news tips or feedback to Holly Richardson at editor@utahpolicy.com.

 

Situational Analysis | February 24, 2023

It's Friday and Pamela Atkinson Day! 

It's also the one-year anniversary of Russia invading Ukraine, a sovereign nation. 😢

What You Need to Know

  • Yesterday, HB518, a bill that would require all institutions of higher education to create an educational program about human trafficking, a bill on feral cats and a resolution regarding Navy Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis all passed out of their committees. 

  • Senator John Johnson is running a bill "Prohibiting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education." It has been assigned to the Senate Revenue and Taxation committee but is not yet on an agenda. Rep. Katy Hall is running a bill that would prohibit higher education entities from asking for a statement of "diversity, equity and inclusion, anti-racism, implicit bias or critical race theory" from potential new hires, or for promotion for current employees. It has passed its House committee and is waiting to be heard on the House floor. 

Rapid Roundup

 

Together, We Can Better Support Women in Business

Whether you’re a woman starting a business or looking to elevate your career, Inspire In Utah is dedicated to providing you with the resources to help on your journey. Find funding, training, and even inspirational stories in our dedicated resource center. 

 

2023 Legislative Session

37 days down, 8 days to go! 


Today


Monday

  • 7:00-7:50 am: Executive Appropriations
  • 8:10-10:00 am: House committees: Public Utilities, Energy, & Technology; Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice; Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment; Transportation
  • 8:10-10:00 am: Senate committees: Economic Development & Workforce Services; Government Operations & Political Subdivisions; Revenue & Taxation
  • 10:00-12:00 pm: House floor time
  • 10:00-11:50 am: Senate floor time
  • 2:00-3:50 pm: House floor time
  • 2:00-3:50 pm: Senate floor time
  • 4:00-6:00 pm: Judiciary; Government Operations; Political Subdivisions; Revenue & Taxation
  • 4:00-6:00 pm: Senate committees: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Utah lawmaker proposes rating system for school library books, instructional materials (Deseret News)
  • Mitt Romney says US can’t appear ‘wobbly’ in support of Ukraine (Deseret News)
  • Utah lawmaker releases bill similar to Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' law (KSL)
  • A bill would create a new felony-level charge in Utah called a ‘drug-induced homicide’ (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • ‘The stuff of war crimes’: Lawmaker objects that mental illness left out of exceptions in Utah’s latest abortion bill (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Lawmakers will consider requiring Utah voters to request mail-in ballots (KUTV)
  • Advocates urge Utah lawmakers to prioritize suicide prevention, mental health initiatives (ABC4)
  • Utah bill that would grant some offenders access to guns after 3 years advances. Bill sponsor Rep. Phil Lyman said the measure would result in fewer people being incarcerated. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Advocates call on legislature to fund affordable child care (Fox13)
  • Utah Kidney Health Task Force bill sponsor ‘very disappointed’ after House votes down legislation (St. George News)
  • Doulas offer a helping hand through the anxiety and wonder of childbirth. One bill aims to expand access to doulas by covering the costs for those covered by Medicaid. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Other political news

  • Opinion: Referendums are not weaponized — let the people have a voice (Deseret News)
  • Romney, Lee unlikely to support legislation protecting Dreamers (KSL)

General Utah news

  • Utahns donated essential supplies to Ukrainian refugees to survive harsh winter (Fox13)
  • Nonprofit foundation reaches from Utah County into Ukraine (Daily Herald)
  • ‘We’re in this for the long haul’: How Utah businesses stood up, and stayed there, for Ukraine. On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. State Department veteran Miles Hansen shares his global, and local, perspective (Deseret News)
  • Do Charles and Shaq even know about Classic Skating? There’s plenty to do in Salt Lake City in February! (Deseret News)

Environment

  •  Conservation groups seek emergency halt on Nevada lithium mine (UPR)

Health

  • Idaho lawmaker wants to criminalize the most-used COVID-19 vaccines (Deseret News)
 

National Headlines

General

  • Discovery of ‘monster’ galaxies rewrites what scientists know about the cosmic dawn (Deseret News)
  • Harvey Weinstein will likely spend the rest of his life in prison after LA sentence (NPR)
  • Jimmy Carter took on the awful Guinea worm when no one else would — and he triumphed (NPR)
  • ‘Incredibly damning:’ Fox News documents stun some legal experts (Washington Post)

Politics

  • Biden’s approval rating climbs while Trump faces dip, new poll shows (Deseret News)
  • Republicans grapple with how to win over women voters (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • U.S. aid to Ukraine fulfills a promise made in 1994 (Deseret News)
  • Freedom isn’t free: What a year of war in Ukraine has taught the world
    The struggles that have occupied the world since the concept of freedom and democracy first emerged haven’t gone away. (Deseret News)
  • ‘Never saw such hell’: Russian soldiers in Ukraine call home (AP)
  • UN approves resolution calling for Russia to leave Ukraine (AP)
  • How Ukraine endured. A year on from Russia’s invasion, the country and its government have not just survived. They’ve fought back. (NPR)
  • The conflict in Ukraine offers old—and new—lessons in 21st-century warfare (Wall Street Journal)
  • Prigozhin’s feud with Russia’s military leaves questions about battlefield results (New York Times)
  • Lethal threat or tolerable risk? Ukrainians must judge constantly. (New York Times)
  • They were married. They shared a trench. They died in it together. (New York Times)
  • Leaders recall dismay, fury on first day of war in Ukraine (Washington Post)
  • Bloodied Wagner fighters captured in Ukraine recount path from prison to war (Washington Post)
  • As the war in Ukraine enters its second year, refugees hang in limbo (Deseret News)
  • Tears, defiance and new tanks in Ukraine for war anniversary (AP)
  • US commits $2 billion in drones, ammunition, aid to Ukraine (AP)
  • The war has claimed countless lives. The story of an 11-year-old's death sticks with me (NPR)
  • Ukraine marks successes, mourns losses as war enters second year (Wall Street Journal)
  • 365 days of war in Ukraine — by the numbers (Politico)

World

  • Venice canals are drying up because of a drought in Italy. The city is experiencing extremely low tides that are drying up the canals the ancient city relies on for transportation (Deseret News)
  • South Korea: The world’s lowest fertility rate sinks lower (Deseret News)
  • The ancient Turkish city that ceased to exist after the earthquakes (Washington Post)
 

Guest Opinion: End predatory copay accumulator programs to help people like me

by Jami Carter

It is likely you know someone who is a cancer survivor.  Maybe you are a survivor yourself.  Perhaps you also know someone who lives with multiple sclerosis.  I am the rare person who has survived cancer, and now lives with multiple sclerosis (MS).  

There is no known cure for MS. Once it damages parts of my nervous system, it cannot be repaired. Fortunately, there is disease-modifying medication that keeps me living a normal, productive life. 

For the first three years after being diagnosed with MS, I couldn’t get the medication that I needed—and to make matters worse, I was still paying off bills from cancer.  I cashed out my retirement account and emptied college funds in an attempt to pay for my new treatment, which costs around $97,000 a year.  My annual out-of-pocket maximum is a whopping $10,000.  And like many specialty medications used to treat chronic illnesses like MS, there is simply no “generic” or equivalent option for me or my doctor to consider.

Unfortunately, a few years ago health insurer companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) began slipping language into health plans that allow them to deny counting third-party financial assistance for specialty medications towards a patient’s deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.  This language, known as a “copay accumulator,” allows insurers to effectively pocket the patient assistance funds intended to help patients like me.

Insurers and PBMs pocket my patient assistance – right up until it runs out, and leaves me no closer to meeting my $10,000 out of pocket maximum than I was at the beginning of the year. When my patient assistance runs out, I’m forced to make an impossible choice – risk permanent brain damage or continue to pay thousands of dollars. 

Here in Utah, Senator Curt Bramble has sponsored S.B. 184, Prescription Cost Amendments.  This bill would end practices like using accumulators, or using other predatory practices, to pad the bottom line of the insurance companies at the expense of patients and their families. To date, 16 states have passed laws banning copay accumulator practices and Utah should be the next state to do the same thing.  

It is time for Utahns to come together to put an end to copay accumulator programs that have harmed so many of our families, friends, and neighbors that are struggling to afford their medications. For patients like me, Senator Bramble’s bill will literally make the difference between whether I am able to receive life-supporting medication or not.  I have waited for years for a legislator willing to stand up to insurance companies and help root out this practice. Please join me in thanking Senator Bramble for being that person, and sponsoring this critical legislation that takes on insurance companies. (Read More)


News Releases

W. Bradford Wilcox joins Sutherland Institute as visiting scholar

Sutherland Institute announced today the addition of W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and professor of sociology at University of Virginia, as a visiting scholar.

“Brad is a nationally renowned leader in family policy,” said Rick Larsen, president and CEO of Sutherland Institute. “His expertise will provide an important perspective as Sutherland elevates and strengthens the family as the fundamental institution of civil society.”

Wilcox is also a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His work for Sutherland will address the impact of family structure on child outcomes; the importance of education, work and family formation on upward mobility; and policy recommendations to support and strengthen Utah families.

For more information visit sutherlandinstitute.org.


Community leaders unite to provide support and resources for thousands of Utahns with rare diseases

Rare Disease advocacy organizations and biotech and healthcare industry leaders will partner to accelerate the diagnosis and improve the care of more than 344,000 Utahns living with a rare disease. On Rare Disease Day, Feb. 28, 2023, community leaders will host a free event from 5 to 7 p.m. at Recursion Headquarters, 41 South Rio Grande Street in Salt Lake City to provide support and resources for those living or impacted by a rare disease. Additionally, Gov. Spencer J. Cox will declare February 28, 2023 Rare Disease Day in the State of Utah. (Read More)

 

Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 24, 2023

 

Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-02-24 at 6.56.07 AM

 

Upcoming

  • Ditch Your Debt and Transform Your Net Worth with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — Feb. 28, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, Virtual, Register Here
  • The American Imperative: Reclaiming Global Leadership Through Soft Power with Daniel Runde & Bonnie Glick, Breakfast and Panel — Mar 2, 7:45-9:30 am, Register here
  • Legislative session ends — Mar. 3, le.utah.gov
  • Provo Women's Day — Mar. 4, more information here.
  • Women in International Business Conference with World Trade Center Utah — Mar. 8, 8:30 am - 2:00 pm, Register Here
  • Teaching Your Child Consent with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — Mar. 16, 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm, Virtual, Register Here
  • Sutherland Institute Annual Gala honoring Lowry Snow & Ian Rowe — Mar. 23, 7 pm, Hyatt Regency, More Information Here
  • MWEG Spring Conference with keynote speaker Becky Edwards — Mar. 25, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm at UVU or virtual, Register Here
  • Hatch Foundation Gala with special guest Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sec. Elaine Chao — April 14, 7:00 pm, Grand America, Register Here
 

On This Day In History 

  • 1803 - Marbury v. Madison confirms the legal principle of judicial review.
  • 1864 - Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first Black woman to receive an M.D. degree.
  • 1868 - President Andrew Johnson impeached on 11 articles of impeachment.
  • 1912 - Henrietta Szold founds Hadassah, the largest Jewish organization in American history, focusing on healthcare and education in Israel and the U.S.
  • 1955 - Steve Jobs is born.
  • 1967 - Jocelyn Bell Burnell makes the first discovery of a pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star.
  • 1977 - US President Jimmy Carter announces US foreign aid will consider human rights.
  • 1984 - Prince Charles gets engaged to Lady Diana Spencer.
  • 1988 - Supreme Court defends right to satirize public figures
  • 1991 - Gulf War ground offensive begins
  • 2020 - Katherine G. Johnson, the groundbreaking NASA mathematician featured in Hidden Figures, dies at age 101.
  • 2022 - Russia invades Ukraine

Heard on the Hill

“Utahns have made it clear they love voting by mail. I don’t see any reason for government to arbitrarily make it harder to do so.”

—Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson


On the Punny Side

How do farmers party?

They turnip the beets.

 

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