President Obama Issues Healthy Communities Challenge to Utah

Salt LakeHealthy Communities challange City is one of 20 communities across the country issued the ‘Healthy Communities Challenge’. The community with the highest sign-up percentage of citizens on the Health Insurance Marketplace at will receive a visit from President Obama to tell the whole country about their success.

“Utah, see how easy it is to get health care coverage inexpensively on the health exchange,” states Utah Senator Gene Davis. “The President of the United States has challenged the nearly 200,000 uninsured Utahns to get coverage, see how affordable it is to protect you and your family. Log onto, do it today and spread the word!”

In Utah nearly 8 in 10 people can get healthcare coverage for $75 or less a month on the Health Insurance Marketplace at Last year Utah consumers saved an average of $209 a month thanks to tax credits for Marketplace coverage.


According to a recent Salt Lake Tribune Op-Ed (link):

“Getting covered used to mean filling out endless pages of forms – and sometimes even a medical exam. But today, makes the process fast and simple – you can shop around, compare plans, and choose the one that works for you and your family. If you, a friend, or family member need health coverage, head over to and sign up.”

Here’s the good news about health coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace at

  • 6 million American people now have healthcare coverage
  • The number of insured citizens has increased significantly
  • Millions of families not only have the security of healthcare coverage, they now have security knowing that they won’t become bankrupt when they get sick
  • Insurance companies can NO LONGER deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions
  • Preventative care like checkups and mammograms are now covered for free

Open enrollment is already underway, and if you sign up by Dec. 15, you’ll have coverage on New Year’s Day. But no matter what, sign up by Jan. 31 to get coverage next year.

Check it out for yourself! Go to or to get information and sign up. Or call 1-800-318-2596 for confidential assistance 24/7 — help is available in more than 200 languages.



Additional Information:

5 Years Later: How the Affordable Care Act is Working for Utah

FACT SHEET: Healthy Communities Challenge for Salt Lake City

Members of Minority Caucus React to the Rejection of Medicaid Expansion

Earlier this week, the Utah Access Plus proposal was rejected in the House of Representatives. There will likely be no special session for Medicaid Expansion. Alternatives for covering the gap will be revisited during the 2016 Legislative Session.

Senator Davis, Minority Leader of the Senate Democrat Caucus, said, “The failure to get any Medicaid Expansion in Utah means we continue to step over tens of thousands of Utahns who need it most. It is incalculable how much this failure will cost Utah’s economy. Without expanding Medicaid, Utah is continuing to forgo millions of federal dollars. This is money lost to our economy. This shows on the part of the Legislature that there is no desire to make sure those on the lowest income scale have access to health care.”

Senator Davis continues, “It is a shame that the citizens of our state cannot count on the Legislature to adopt a sensible Medicaid Expansion plan that would provide access to health care for all Utahns. This affects everyone in our state and we cannot keep putting off a solution.”

Senator Escamilla shares her thoughts, “I am disappointed in the lack of action on this critical issue. Once again the most vulnerable residents of our state are suffering from nonsense politics.”

Immediately following the House’ rejection of the Medicaid Expansion proposal, Utah Access Plus, on Tuesday, Senator Dabakis said, “This is a red letter day for stupidity in Utah’s political history…The shameful actions of the Utah GOP House put ideology and politics ahead of common sense.”

The Ambassador of China visits Utah

Today we were honored to have the Ambassador of China, Cui Tiankai, his wife Madame Ni Peijun, and several members of their delegation visit the Utah Senate.

Senator Gene Davis?: “Having the Ambassador of China and his wife in Utah is always an honor and a pleasure. I am looking forward to growing future relationships with China, and in particular, the Zhejiang Province.”

Senator Karen Mayne: “It was great meeting with the Ambassador and getting the chance to talk about cooperation and commerce between states and the goodwill shown between people.”

Senator Jim Dabakis: “Back in Utah meeting with Chinese Ambassador Cui Tainkai at Capitol. Special place in my heart for China as my husband Stephen and I lived in Beijing for two dazzling years in 2005-6

Senator Luz Escamilla also joined in this exciting conversation with the Ambassador of China: “At a great meeting with the Chinese Ambassador and his delegation, honored to participate of these conversations.”


China meeting group photo

Statement on Hildale Flooding

The Senate Democrats Release the Following Statement on the Flooding in Washington County:

We are saddened over the devastation and tragedy caused by flash flooding in Washington County, Utah. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we extend our deepest condolences during this difficult time. We appreciate the efforts of volunteers and first responders as they work to provide support and resources for the areas affected. At this current time, a new flash flood warning has been issued as another storm is expected in the area.

Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis Discusses Fight for SB134: Game Fowl Fighting Amendments

The Humane Society of Utah interviewed Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis on the passage of SB 134, Game Fowl Fighting, and named Senator Davis as one of Utah’s best legal champions for animals.

Gene- Headshot

Senator Senator Gene Davis discusses the difficult three year push for making game fowl fighting a felony:

“As its sponsor, I did manage to get the felony cockfighting bill through the Senate all three times. But the first year it died in the House, just sort of laughed off the pages and voted down. The following year, it was basically gutted — the House totally eliminated everything we wanted to accomplish with it.”This year, it was also watered down to the point where it became almost unrecognizable. As it ended up, cockfighting is a Class B misdemeanor on the first offense, then it progresses to a Class A misdemeanor. We don’t even get to the felony level until there’s a conviction on the third offense. In retrospect, I wish we could have got the bill through in its original form. We need to put an end to this archaic and brutal activity once and for all in Utah. But this is a beginning — it’s much farther than we’ve ever come before.

Prison Relocation: Senator Luz Escamilla Joins Community Members in Opposition of SLC Site

Today at a press conference at Riverside Park west of Salt Lake City, legislators and members of the District 1 community came together to speak out against relocating the State Prison to Salt Lake City.

Senator Luz Escamilla of District 1 spoke strongly against this relocation stating, “I will continue to speak up on behalf of the constituents of Senate District 1 on why it is not a good investment to place the new state prison in the west side of the capital city. Not only is it the most expensive site, but it is not a wise economic development decision and continues to disproportionally impact one community in the entire state.”

 Luz-Prison Relocation Pic Fave

Senator Escamilla Shares Thoughts on Prison Relocation to SLC

Media Statement

Senator Escamilla

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lisa Beaudry, Communications Director
Utah Senate Democrats
801-427-2232 |

Senator Luz Escamilla
Cell: 801-550-6434

Sad Day for Salt Lake City, its Residents and its Leaders

Salt Lake City –Senator Luz Escamilla voices overwhelming frustration with
location announcement by the Prison Relocation Commission and issues the
following statement:
“I am truly disappointed with the news that the Prison Relocation
Commission has selected Salt Lake City as the site for the building of the
new state prison,” exclaims Senator Escamilla. “The residents and leaders
of Salt Lake City have been loud and clear when opposing this possible
west side relocation site.”

“I feel a big mistake is being made to build a state prison in this
limited available space area when we should be developing this area for
economic development purposes. The west side of Salt Lake City has been a
helpful and responsible neighbor and stepped up to house the only State
Parole Violator Center (The Fortitude Treatment Center) and several
halfway houses. Instead of this area being asked to bear the
disproportionate burden of having these types of facilities in their
community, the only fair choice would be that the rest of the state share
this responsibility.”

“I believe this matter is not finished, and I am hopeful members of the
state legislature will consider the importance of a more appropriate
relocation site for the state prison than the west sideof Salt Lake City.
I will be sure to remind them that this vote is a vote on the site and
location, not on prison reform or our state’s criminal justice reform.”


Senator Mayne Kicks Off Utah Safety Week 2015

Against a construction site background for today’s press conference, Senator Karen Mayne kicked off Utah Safety Week, a week of celebration and support to continue Utah’s emphasis on job safety for our workers.   “Our companies, our Legislature, and our Governor came together to promote workplace safety to make it possible for our workers to go to work in the morning and go home whole,” remarked Senator Mayne today at the press conference.  Events are planned for the entire week, culminating with Utah Safety Council’s 2nd Annual Night Out with the Salt Lake Bees.

Workers Compensation Fund sponsored an essay contest and awarded scholarships to the following winning students.

Jordan Miles
Caleb Curtis
Aleisha Keller

DSC_0015 DSC_0024 DSC_00442015 Work Safety Week Flyer

Senator Davis Op-ed: Fully Expand Medicaid to Truly Help Needy Utahns

Senator Gene Davis recently had an Op-Ed published in the Salt Lake Tribune (March 10th, 2015).  Davis 2013

This Op-Ed explains his position concerning the several health care bills that have been brought before the legislature this session. As the session ended without any resolution concerning health care, we, as the Utah Senate Democrats, want you share this Op-Ed with you.

Below is Senator Gene Davis’ Op-Ed in it’s entirety. The link follows below and we encourage you to share.

Op-ed: Fully expand Medicaid to truly help needy Utahns

As the Utah Legislature winds down, one major issue remains before us — deciding if and how the state of Utah will provide access to health care for those at the lower end of the economic scale.

Before us is Healthy Utah, a program that many have touted as the solution. Healthy Utah provides health care coverage to 199,000 people with federal tax dollars for two years and then dead-ends. At the end of
those two years,we will be putting thousands of lives in jeopardy as we will need to have the same debate we are having today — if and how Utah will provide access to health care for many of its citizens.

I recently had a conversation with a young woman who was gainfully employed and had access to health insurance from her employer. Then she became ill and, consequently, she lost her job. Now her only option for health care is through the emergency room, where she has amassed $250,000 in medical debt. She cannot afford the tests needed to diagnose her health problems. Many people find themselves in similar situations without access to needed health care. Healthy Utah, utilizing federal dollars for premium subsidies, would provide health insurance to many individuals; but my huge concern with Healthy Utah is the large amount of money needed for deductibles and co-pays, which results in large annual out-of-pocket expenses.

During this 2015 session, I offered Senate Bill 83, Robust Utah (full Medicaid expansion). This bill provides an ongoing program that allows access to Medicaid coverage for eligible individuals. In the state of Utah, 199,000 individuals would be able to access health care starting in 2016. Each year using 90 percent federal dollars and 10 percent Utah dollars, an average of $500 million (with a five-year total of nearly $3
billion) would be placed into the state’s economy. Under the Affordable Care Act, the state has the opportunity to accept the expansion of Medicaid (Robust Utah) and provide access for those living below 138
percent of the federal poverty line. That means a family of four with an annual income of $33,465 or under would be eligible. Healthy Utah, while covering the same number of people, essentially subsidizes the health insurance industry, requires enrollees to accumulate large amounts of out-of-pocket expenses, and dead-ends after two years.

I have proposed Robust Utah because I have noted Healthy Utah’s incredible downfalls. Robust Utah is all about access. Robust Utah provides health care access well into the future. It ensures that individuals who work hard can get the health care they need. Utah still has a consequential choice to make this legislative session. Do we, as a state, provide affordable health care coverage to Utah’s citizens, including the working

Sen. Gene Davis is a Democrat representing South Salt Lake and parts of Salt Lake City, West Valley City and Murray in the Utah Senate.

link to article:

Our 2015 Interns were Amazing!

The Senate Minority team at the end of the 2015 Legislative session! 

It takes teamwork and a whole lot of energy to make it all come together!

z1We could NEVER do this without our interns, they are the BEST!


Top Row: Janeen Halverson, James Dabakis, Karen Mayne, Gene Davis, Jani Iwamoto, , Luz Escamilla, and Sylvie Batchelor.

Bottom Row (our AMAZING Interns!) Connor Yakaitis, JC Hamilton, Katie Crawford, Nick Hagen, and Viviana Felix .