“The outcome of all but about six bills matched the committee’s position,” said Davis County Chamber President John Pitt.
The committee proceeded to go bill by bill to discuss the outcome of each, taking comments from those involved.
“The Salt Lake City bill passed, but the language that would have helped us was taken out,” said Pitt, referring to SB248 that would have provided funds for a streetcar connection from Davis County into downtown. “It helped St. George and helped get the airport TRAX line, but it was not a victory for us because we didn’t get what we wanted.”
Pitt offered to talk to representatives from Salt Lake City to discuss what happened and what the exclusion means for Davis County.
Davis Area Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO, Barbara Riddle was pleased with the legislation that loosened up some of the alcohol restrictions, SB187.
“I was there when the governor signed the bill,” said Riddle. “It was truly remarkable.” Riddle said the bill encompassed so many things her industry has been after for years. “Even the LDS Church said we need to make our state more welcoming.”
Chris Dallin of Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital was also happy with the health care bills that were passed this session. “I think HB81 will help with patient safety,” said Dallin. “Now it will be a law where we have to check a patient’s ID, other than in an emergency,” to make sure the hospital is treating the right person. “This is a big win for patient care and safety.”
He was also supportive of HB188 and HB331 that allow for insurance choice and gives incentives to businesses who offer health insurance.
“I truly believe there was a lot of pressure on state contracts to not offer health insurance so that their bid comes in lower,” he said. “This bill (HB331) actually encourages a company to have health insurance. It’s a great bill for us as a society.”
Other discussion included the hotly debated HB272 about scenic byways and billboards.
“Legacy is out of it (the bill’s scope) for now, but they’ll probably go after it again,” said Mayor Neka Roundy. “I feel bad for the rest of the state.”
Overall, the committee agreed it had an impact on the Legislature this year and proposed its policy priorities for the coming year.
The areas of focus are: economic development, education, transportation, health care reform, military affairs (HAFB), and natural resource development.
Under health care reform, Dallin suggested changing the wording to simply “health” reform. “I believe if you look at America’s health care system and compare it with other countries, anyone here would say they’d want to be cared for in America,” he said. “But for preventive care we need to do better. We need to encourage healthy lifestyles.”
The committee will continue to meet monthly throughout the interim under the new chair, Brad Mortensen.