Utah Senate Committee Changes

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Over the long holiday weekend, Utah Senate president Michael Waddoups released the committee assignments for the next two years. As expected, Senator Dan Liljenquist‘s audacity in running against a sitting President cost him a seat at the leadership table. Senator Dennis Stowell will replace him as the vice-chair of Executive Appropriations. Senator Liljenquist will continue to chair Retirement and Independent Entities and is the new Senate chair of the Ethics committee.

Other Waddoups supporters were rewarded with plum assignments – Senator Margaret Dayton remains the chair of Rules, Senator Chris Buttars – rumored to have switched his vote to Waddoups at the last minute – got Public Ed Appropriations (instead of Senator Stephenson, the current chair), and the chairmanship of the Health and Human Services Standing Committee.

Speaking of the Health and Human Services Committee – its composition has also changed. It now has 4 Republicans, including one who makes a significant portion of his living from Medicaid, and 2 Democrats, leaving one to wonder if Medicaid reform would even have a chance to make it out of committee. When questioned, President Waddoups said he may appoint an additional member of leadership to sit on that committee.

Specifically addressing Medicaid reform, however, Waddoups spoke clearly and emphatically on that issue. “It is one of the key issues for our caucus,” he stated. “No one is better suited than Senator Liljenquist to get these reforms passed.” There is significant grass-roots support for Medicaid reform – and some heavy-duty lobbyist opposition. It will be one of the most-watched issues on Capitol Hill this year.

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4 Responses to “Utah Senate Committee Changes”

  1. Steve Urquhart Says:

    Fiscally, Utah is a step or two ahead of most other states, because (1) our budgets have traditionally been structurally sound and (2) we made our retirement system workable for the long-term. Thanks for that belongs to Utah citizens, who demand fiscal conservatism. The retirement fix, however, was child’s play, compared to the task of taking on Medicaid (which has exploded from 9% to about 20% of the State’s budget in the last decade). Medicaid has many more moving parts, more vested interests, and tighter federal restrictions on what can be done. If the Legislature is to have a prayer of reforming Medicaid, the citizens will have to demand it, cheerlead for it, and work for it — because lots of vested and savvy interests will be working to scuttle the effort.

  2. JBT Says:

    Oh good. The education appropriations committee went from bad to worse. The idiot that proposed doing away with the 12th grade is made chairman of the education committee.

  3. Amazed I agree with JBT Says:

    I’m stunned. I actually agree with JBT about something.

  4. JBT Says:

    That means you are getting smarter. : )

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