Salt Lake City – House and Senate Democrats will hold their bi-weekly Press Briefing tomorrow afternoon at 12:15pm in the Old Supreme Court Chambers of the Utah State Capitol.
Democratic Leaders Senator Ross Romero and Representative David Litvack will be joined by Senator Luz Robles, Senator Karen Mayne, Representative Carol Spackman Moss and Representative Patrice Arent. The legislators will lay out the Democrats’ agenda for the remainder of the week.
Who: House and Senate Democrats What: Bi-weekly Press Briefing Where: Old Supreme Court Chambers of the Utah State Capitol When: Thursday, February 2, 2012, 12:15pm – 12:25pm
Salt Lake City – Today at their weekly press briefing, House and Senate Democrats laid out their plans for the Health Of Utah Families. Watch the video below!
“Few issues are as important for our local State Government to address as the health of the citizens of Utah.” said House Democratic Leader David Litvack. “Whether it be the quality of the air we breathe or the diseases we live with, these are things that we all face on a daily basis and it is a common-sense principle of Democrats in the Legislature to listen to the problems of Utah citizens and address those problems to protect both this generation as well as the future of our children.”
The Utah Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would encourage medical providers to inform patients of the presence of dense breast tissue and recommend extra screenings to detect possible cancer growth.
Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, introduced SB32 this week on the Senate floor and appeared to have total support as lawmaker after lawmaker delivered sometimes-emotional testimony about knowing people diagnosed with breast cancer.
SB 128, which would ban teenagers from using cell phones while driving, successfully passed out the Senate Transportation and Public Utilities and Technology Committee today, on a 3 / 2 vote.
“I”m pleased that the bill will continue through the process. It’s not only about kids not using their cell phones while driving, but also about parents having a conversation with their kids about safety while behind the wheel,” said Senator Romero.
Democrats praised Herbert for his emphasis on education funding and air quality, but said other parts of his remarks sounded like a campaign speech.
“That was fifty-fifty, policy speech and campaign speech,” said House Minority Leader David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City. Portions were aimed at the broader state, but “there were parts that were speaking to a conservative constituent base.”
Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero said Democrats were proud to stand with the governor when it comes to the state’s economic record. But the governor failed to lay out specifics on how to improve education, protect the environment or meet health and human service needs. And the anti-federal tone seemed excessive, he said.
“We are in a relationship with our federal government and having a good working relationship is critical,” Romero said
Senator Ross Romero, Democratic Leader in the Utah Senate
Good evening. I’m Senator Ross Romero, Democratic Leader in the Utah State Senate. Thank you for your civic engagement, and for tuning in tonight to learn about the important issues and unique challenges that we face as a state. I want you to know that Utah Democrats are working on behalf of you and your families. We recognize the struggles so many of us have had to endure during the economic downturn of the past few years. But, there is good news and opportunity on the horizon. We are pleased that Utah’s economy is now headed in a positive direction. For the first time in several years, our state is beginning to once again see a surplus in our state budget. Utah Democrats are excited for what the future holds, and we look forward to working with you over the next 6 weeks as we propose and pass legislation that will strengthen Utah’s economy and prepare us for the future.
At this time I’d like to introduce you to my colleague, Representative David Litvack, your Democratic Leader in the Utah House of Representatives, who will discuss some of the Democratic proposals for the 2012 Legislative Session.
Representative David Litvack, Democratic Leader in the Utah Senate
Thank you Senator Romero. Tonight, I’d like to speak with you about some proposals from my Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate, proposals that we believe will lead to a brighter future – a future where Utah will again realize the promise of economic strength and prosperity.
This year Democrats will introduce legislation to help Utah’s growing veteran population through increased access to higher education. We will assist working families by protecting your consumer rights. Utah Democrats will also present measures to keep all of us healthy through better cancer screening and prevention, and we will make proposals to address the poor air quality we face in our state.
Utah’s strong economy has always depended on an educated workforce. For Utah to attract further high-paying jobs, we must double our efforts to provide a highly-educated workforce. From our neighborhood schools, to higher education and career programs, Democrats recognize this vital importance and renew our pledge to provide a better future for our children. No less than the success of our economic development depends upon our efforts now.
I will now turn the time back to Senator Ross Romero, who will talk more about our plan for Utah’s public schools.
Thank you, Representative Litvack.
For many years, the state of Utah has been #1 in business, economic development, tourism, and even #1 in science, technology and research. In many ways, we’re doing very well as a state. So why is it that our schools continue to rank 42nd in the nation? This must change! Our schools should be the very best in the nation.
This year Utah Democrats are introducing legislation designed to put Utah on a path to make Utah’s schools #1. Utah Democrats believe that every Utah child deserves four things:
An excellent teacher
Neighborhood and family support
If we can reduce classroom sizes in the lower grades or give teachers a little extra help in the classroom, it can do wonders to help our students succeed. Educating Utah’s children has been and will always be our top priority.
Utah Democrats understand that while our economy is recovering, family budgets are recovering, too. But let me be very clear: we do not believe it is fiscally wise to raise taxes for Utah’s working families.
That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the “Best Schools Initiative” includes a funding plan which reprioritizes our resources and does NOT raise taxes. We simply need to change our focus in order to do what’s best for Utah’s kids.
During the economic downturn of the past several years, we have worked diligently to streamline our state budget. Due to Utah’s wise fiscal management, we are now seeing more funds coming into our state revenues. Utah Democrats believe in using these increased revenues for the long-term security of our future. The Best Schools Initiative is designed to wisely plan for Utah – to give our children the very best opportunities, to create new jobs and new businesses, and to secure our economic strength and prosperity.
Thank you again for being with us tonight. We look forward to working with our colleagues in both the House and Senate to meet these important goals. And, as always, we look forward to seeing you and working with you at this year’s legislative session and beyond.
Dense Breast Tissue Awareness Bill Passes Senate Committee Unanimously
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah State Senators gave a nod to Senator Karen Mayne’s Breast Cancer Awareness bill today. The bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Health and Human Services committee this afternoon.
SB31 would recommend that patients who have received a mammogram be notified as to whether or not they have dense breast tissue. In some cases, dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to diagnose breast cancer through a mammogram . “The bill simply gives women more information about our own health. Knowledge is power. This arms us with knowledge about our bodies and gives us tools to properly deal with our personal medical issues,” Senator Mayne testified.
Committee members Senator Luz Robles-D, Salt Lake City, and Senator Pat Jones-D, Salt Lake City, expressed concern that women are not already receiving this information, and encouraged the medical community to give as much education to women as possible regarding the issue. “Please take this to all of Utah’s doctors an make sure that women are aware, so that they can get proper information regarding their health,” said Senator Jones.
“Women are smart,” said Senator Mayne. “If you give us the knowledge, we will know what to do to take care of ourselves. But first, we need the information.”
Advocates for Alzheimer’s education rally at Utah Capitol
Senator Karen Morgan-D, Cottonwood Heights
Alzheimer’s disease and its crushing burdens on caregivers, families, the health care system, businesses, worker productivity and taxpayers’ wallets must be addressed, a crowd of about 200 agreed during a Capitol rally Wednesday.
Billed as an advocacy day for Alzheimer’s and other dementias and sponsored by the Utah chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the event was aimed at lawmakers who are considering a bill outlining a five-year state plan to address the 100,000 Utahns expected to have the incurable brain-wasting diseases by 2025. That would be a 127 percent increase since 2000, the highest growth rate in the nation.
For 13-year-old Boo Bustos, sitting in the front row, the rally was about his late grandparents, Cherie and Ed Hoerman, who lived with Boo’s family after their Alzheimer’s diagnoses. They both died, his grandfather in fall 2010, his grandmother last October.
Boo said he misses having them at home.
“After they had Alzheimer’s, they knew who I was,” Boo said. “But they couldn’t remember my name.”
Sen. Karen Morgan, D-Salt Lake City, and Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss, D-Salt Lake City, are cosponsors of SJR1, the Alzheimer’s State Plan Joint Resolution, now moving through the Legislature. A 20-member task force made recommendations that encourage state agencies, the private sector, the media and corporate and philanthropic organizations to make Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias a top priority. Morgan says she also is working on a bill that would put some of that plan into statute.
Key to the effort is eliminating the stigma that surrounds sufferers and their families by bringing the illness into the open.
Boo plays football with a recreation league team called the Royals. He asked team members to wear purple socks for a game — purple is the color for Alzheimer’s awareness — and posted his plan on a web site. Eight other rec teams wore purple socks, too. At Boo’s game, his parents hung a banner that said, “Royals knock the socks off Alzheimer’s.”
He wants other kids to understand what is happening with their older relatives when they have dementia. “It’s not a good disease,” he said. “If your grandparents get it, try to spend more time with them.”
Utah House and Senate Democrats to hold Media Availability immediately following Governor’s State of the State Address, January 25, 2012
Who: Utah House and Senate Democrats
What: Media Availability in Response Governor Herbert’s State of the State Response
Where: House of Representatives Lounge
When: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 immediately following the Governor’s speech
Utah House and Senate Democrats, led by Democratic Leaders Ross Romero and David Litvack, will be available immediately following the Governor’s State of the State response to discuss the Governor’s proposals.
Members of the media are requested to meet with the Democratic legislators in the House Lounge of the Utah House of Representatives as soon as the Governor finishes his remarks and leaves the chamber.
In addition to the media availability, a pre-recorded response is available. To receive a copy, call Emily Hollingshead, Communications Director for the Utah Senate Democrats, or visit us online at www.utahsenatedemocrats.org.
For more information, contact Emily Hollingshead, Communications Director for the Utah Senate Democrats: firstname.lastname@example.org or 435-590-9961, or Eric Ethington, Communications Director for the Utah House Democrats: email@example.com, 801-647-8609.