Daily Fix, Feb 11


Lots of news today. Medicaid reform meets no resistance, fear of a con-con kills a bill, Lee refuses to back Hatch and Chaffetz on the hot seat for his cot.

*Utah’s Medicaid reforms take their first big step forward when the Senate Business and Labor committee passed Senator Dan Liljenquist‘s bill out unanimously. The bill would put into place some anchor legislation to reign in exploding costs. The bill prioritizes managed care over fee for services, it limits growth and ties it to the state budget, it establishes evidence-based standards of care and sets up a Medicaid rainy-day fund. KSL

*Rep Brad Daw’s proposal to call for an Article V amendment convention was defeated in committee. Disagreements abound as to whether the Article V process is the same as a Constitutional convention. In an interesting twist, the Eagle Forum opposed the bill, but almost all of the very conservative Patrick Henry Caucus supported it. Trib // Des News

*The Utah House blog addresses feral cats ala Colbert and providing more echo chamber, they link to several legislators who blog. Vox Populi

*The Utah Senate approved legislation Thursday banning the possession of spice and so-called Ivory Wave, aka bath salts, both substances that lawmakers say are being abused by children. It appears there is no limit to the creative ways one can find to abuse oneself. Des News

*As expected, the State School Board backed away from recommending that the School for the Deaf and the Blind be closed. Trib

*Back in DC, Senator Mike Lee pointedly refuses to endorse Senator Orrin Hatch in the 2012 Senate race – but also says he won’t endorse anyone else, either. The Hill

*Congressman Jason Chaffetz has a watchdog group up in arms about his sleeping arrangements. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics on Tuesday requesting a formal investigation of at least 33 House members who supposedly sleep in their Capitol Hill offices during the week, all of whom are men. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress,” said the head of the group. I must have missed the part where holding federal office requires paying DC rent or taking on another mortgage. Trib

*According to Politico, Jon Huntsman Jr is hiring for his Horizon PAC, which will build the infrastructure for a campaign. The first two hires (both McCain veterans) are “communications advisers”

Tim Miller, 29, was a Glover Park Group director of public affairs for the past two years, and was lead digital strategist. In ’07, Miller was Iowa comms director for McCain. Jake Suski, 27, was adviser and spokesman for Chris Dudley’s campaign for Oregon governor; deputy comms director for Gov. Schwarzenegger; and comms director for Rick Snyder primary race for Michigan governor. Suski (a Matt David guy!) worked for Terry Nelson and was a regional finance director for the McCain primary campaign. He’s in Portland for a few more weeks, then back to Cally for a bit.

*And if none of that interests you, check out some of the Valentine’s Day ideas for you and your sweetheart this weekend. SLC About.com


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10 Responses to “Daily Fix, Feb 11”

  1. John Says:

    They’re banning bath salts? Did I read that right? Is there no end to the nanny-state mentality?

  2. Mark S Says:

    Holly, thanks for keeping us up to speed!

  3. bekkieann Says:

    Holly, I’m hoping you’ll explain HB 331 http://le.utah.gov/~2011/bills/hbillint/hb0331s01.pdf which you are sponsoring. This appears to many of us to be an attempt by the legislature to protect its own retirement while preparing to disembowel benefits to other state retirees. As you know, the retirement benefit to state legislators is already extremely generous. This self-serving legislation is beyond belief.

  4. JBT Says:

    I too would like Holly to explain the bill she is sponsoring, or the bill someone else talked her into putting her name on—whichever fits.

  5. Bronson Says:

    HB 331. This is the kind of pay back legislation you get with non elected representation. Looking forward to the next election hopefully it won’t be rigged. Did not take long for the true colors to come out, Shyster!

  6. hollyonthehill Says:

    You will probably be quite disappointed to know, then, that I have killed the bill.

  7. bekkieann Says:

    Holly, you killed the bill? I am very interested both in hearing the origins of the bill and your reasons first for sponsoring and then for killing the bill. Please explain what this is all about.

  8. Bronson Says:

    We were quite disappointed when you sponsored the bill. Killing it was the right thing to do.

  9. hollyonthehill Says:

    Sure. As a newbie, it’s fairly typical for other legislators to give you bills to carry or be the floor sponsor (for example, I was the House sponsor for a simple Senate bill that passed without any dissent). Last year, after the 2008 economic downturn blew a 30% hole in the pension fund, the state legislature undertook some very hefty pension reforms, moving from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan. That move removes the bankruptcy risk coming from the pension funds – or lack thereof – now being faced by states across the nation. I have spent a lot of time following the national move to reform pensions and, in fact, other entitlement programs. I fundamentally believe that #1, there should be no special carve-outs for legislators and #2, pension reforms are critical to the fiscal health of any and every state.
    So, when I was asked to carry a bill that I was told was a simple “clean up” bill that would bring former elected officials’ pensions in line with the reforms from last year, I said yes. My mistake, of course, was not having all the answers to *my* questions before moving forward and it’s a mistake I won’t make again. When I still couldn’t answer the questions I had, I had to kill it. It will stay in limbo until the session ends.

    And there you have it.

  10. Tammy and Parker Says:

    I touched base with Holly about this bill several days before it hit the MSM.

    Not only did Holly tell me exactly what she explains above….she kept her word and walked away from this bill.

    All of us should have such integrity.

    Tammy and Parker

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