Utah Moving Forward

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With national politics storming the news, it’s easy to forget about what’s happening within Utah’s government. Here are a few bills that are going on in Utah’s political scene.

Representative Robert Spendlove has designed a bill, House Bill 283: Child Homelessness Prevention, to target and address child homelessness in Utah.

According to Spendlove, there are 620 homeless children in Utah from nearly 300 families. Spendlove took the initiative to write this bill after Representative Gibson wrote a bill addressing homelessness in Utah. Spendlove said that when looking at homelessness data in Utah, it is easy to forget that homeless children are taken into account in these studies. While looking at the data in Gibson’s bill, Spendlove notes that the number of homeless children is too high.

The bill’s proposal includes taking a closer study of homeless children in Utah while also providing cash assistance through the Family Employment Program. Spendlove says through this bill, it can reduce and prevent child homelessness. This legislation has passed unanimously through the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee and will now be considered by the full House of Representatives in Utah.

Another bill introduced by Justin Fawson, is designed to charge HIV/AIDS patients with rape if they withhold that information from their partner. House Bill 369’s end goal is to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS. However, this bill is hitting a rough patch. Rep. Brian Greene and Rep. Karianne Lisonbee both say that the bill goes too far and that a federal offense is too harsh of a punishment. There is also concern whether this would possibly reduce the number of people getting tested.

Rep. Brian King started a motion to hold the bill, which unanimously passed. Fawson has reported that he would work on the bill.

Utah’s Senate Majority Whip, Stuart Adams has introduced a bill, SB 196, that would repeal a prior law that prohibited promoting homosexuality in public schools’ sex education classes. This would be replaced with a ban of supporting premarital or extramarital sex. This bill was in response to a lawsuit filed against the state by Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Senate Bill 196 has both parties happy and has successfully been voted through the Senate Education Committee and will now head to the full Senate for vote.

With these bills introduced, Utahns might see a change in homelessness, HIV/AIDS reduction, and sex education.

The Utah Legislature began it's legislative session in January. They will consider hundreds of pieces of legislation, including proposals to prevent homeless, HIV/Aids, and make changes to sex-education curriculum. Photo courtesy of deseretnews.com

The Utah Legislature began it’s legislative session in January. They will consider hundreds of pieces of legislation, including proposals to prevent homeless, HIV/Aids, and make changes to sex-education curriculum. Photo courtesy of deseretnews.com

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