As HealthCare.gov Open Enrollment Begins Friday,  Some Utahns Can Get Covered for $10 or Less a Month  

Media Advisory
 

For Immediate Release:
October 30, 2019
 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

Chris Fleming, Get America Covered
202-631-0929 | chris@redhorsestrategies.com

As HealthCare.gov Open Enrollment Begins Friday,  Some Utahns Can Get Covered for $10 or Less a Month  

SALT LAKE CITY – When Open Enrollment begins Friday, November 1, 2019, Utahns shopping for coverage on HealthCare.gov can purchase comprehensive coverage for $10 or less per month, according to new data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The Open Enrollment period begins this Friday, November 1st, and ends on December 15th.

This past year Utahns bucked a national trend of declining enrollments through Healthcare.gov.  During the open enrollment period for 2019 coverage, 194,570 people purchased individual market plans through the federally run marketplace.  That was slightly higher than the 194,118 people who enrolled in 2018.

Approximately 79 percent of HealthCare.gov customers in Utah are qualified for a plan costing $10 or less a month for 2020, and about 88 percent of Utahns could purchase a plan costing $75 or less a month. 

“Despite Republicans on the Federal and state level doing everything possible to sabotage the healthcare market and keep people from accessing affordable healthcare, it’s good that many Utahns are still able to afford the coverage they need,” said Utah House Minority Leader, Rep. Brian King (D-District 28). “That said, we have much work to do in removing significant out-of-pocket cost barriers to make healthcare generally affordable for everyone.”

Get America Covered, a nationwide campaign to make sure people get the facts they need to get covered and stay covered, recently found that most people are not aware of the open enrollment.  They also found a significant gap between consumers’ perception of affordability versus the reality with Healthcare.gov.  According to CMS, almost 9-in-10 marketplace consumers are eligible for tax credits and the vast majority can find coverage at a price that they consider to be affordable. 

“As this data shows, CMS has the information, resources, and reach necessary to help educate people about just how affordable and easy it is to get covered,” said Joshua Peck, co-founder of Get America Covered. “Unfortunately, they are doing just the opposite, and our survey provides concrete new evidence of how the gap between perception and reality is undermining Open Enrollment. In the weeks ahead, we will be working to make sure that as many consumers as possible understand the affordable options available to make sure they and their families can get the comprehensive coverage they want.”

Medicaid expansion coverage is also open year-round for eligible low-income Utahns. Take Care Utah is a local nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides one-on-one assistance, free of charge. Anyone with questions about Medicaid or marketplace enrollment can call 2-1-1, or visit takecareutah.org.

# # # 

 

Democratic Legislators to Announce Package of Pro-Family Bills

Media Advisory
 

For Immediate Release:
October 3, 2019 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

Kennedie Starr, Communications
Utah Senate Democrats
801-712-1556 | kstarr@le.utah.gov

  

Democratic Legislators to Announce Package of Pro-Family Bills 

 

What:
Democratic legislators will hold a press conference on Monday morning, October 7, 2019, beginning at 9:15 AM to announce a package of pro-family legislation to be introduced in the 2020 General Legislative Session.  Legislators will speak to the bills and the need for more expansive pro-family legislation in Utah. 

Who:                    
Democratic representatives and senators 

Where:                
Capitol Rotunda
Utah State Capitol Complex
350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111

When: 
Monday, October 7, 2019, from 9:15 to 9:45 AM.
 

Individual legislators will be available for questions following the presentation of bills.

 

# # #

Utah House Democratic Leadership Response to Davis and Salt Lake County Attorneys’ Positions on Medical Cannabis

Media Statement

For Immediate Release:
July 30, 2019 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

Utah House Democratic Leadership Response to Davis and Salt Lake County Attorneys’ Positions on Medical Cannabis

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democratic Caucus leadership issued the following statement:   

“Legislative leadership told Utah that Proposition 2 - Medical Cannabis, which the voters passed, needed to be replaced because it would not function. Now it looks like their replacement plan also will not function. The legislature cannot override the will of the voters with failed plans, like they also did with Proposition 3 - Medicaid Expansion, and hope to maintain any kind of trust with the people we are supposed to represent.” 

# # #

Utah House Democrats Remember Norma Matheson as a Woman of Grace, Warmth, and Great Intelligence

Media Statement

For Immediate Release:
July 29, 2019 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

Utah House Democrats Remember Norma Matheson
as a Woman of Grace, Warmth, and Great Intelligence

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah House Democrats are saddened by the news that Norma Matheson has passed away at age 89. Norma was a staunch advocate for good governance and civic participation, and she was a beloved leader for Utah Democrats. Norma was the wife of former Utah Democratic governor Scott Matheson, and the mother of former U.S. Congressman Jim Matheson and 10th U.S. Circuit Judge Scott Matheson Jr. We are grateful for her many contributions to the success and well-being of our state. We express our condolences to the Matheson family.  

“I grew up across the street from Norma and have known her almost my entire life,” said Rep. Patrice Arent. “She was like my second mom. She always had time to chat and I could tell her absolutely anything. Norma was a woman of grace, warmth, and great intelligence. She truly understood people. I will never forget knocking on doors with her for my campaigns. People would run out of their homes to see Norma when they heard she was in their neighborhood. I loved Norma and will miss her very much.” 

House Minority Leader Rep. Brian King said, “Whenever I wanted to hear a commonsense, down-to-earth perspective on an issue that I knew was shared by regular Utahns, I knew Norma was the person to talk to. She reflected the values of Utahns.” 

Norma Warenski Matheson was born in Nephi, Utah. She attended East High School, and married Scott M. Matheson in 1951. During and after her tenure as the First Lady of Utah from 1977 to 85, she advocated for and was a member of the Utah Democratic Party, the Nature Conservancy, the University of Utah College of Nursing Development Committee, the State Board of Aging, and more. She was also the President of the League of Women Voters and helped organize the International Women's Year conference in 1977. In 2014, Norma Matheson Served as a co-chair for the Count My Vote initiative to establish a hybrid primary election system and increase participation in Utah elections.

Together with Scott, she had four children: Scott, Jr., James, Thomas, and Lu. James (“Jim”) Matheson served as member of the House of Representatives from 2001-2005, and Scott, Jr. is currently a federal judge. Scott M. Matheson died of multiple myeloma in 1990.

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Utah House Democratic Caucus Statement on Yesterday’s Inland Port Protests

Media Statement

 

For Immediate Release:
July 10, 2019 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

Utah House Democratic Caucus Statement on Yesterday’s Inland Port Protests

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democratic Caucus has the following statement regarding yesterday’s Inland Port protests at the Salt Lake Chamber.

“Utah House Democrats support anyone exercising their right to protest over the Inland Port, but it must always be peaceful and nonviolent.  It is never acceptable for protesters to attack anyone, destroy property, or create mayhem, nor for law enforcement to use inappropriate force. It is incumbent on police and protesters not to escalate tensions into what we saw yesterday. We applaud Utah's highly engaged citizenry who care about good public process and policy. We all want a safe place to exercise free speech.”

 

# # #

Utah Hispanic Legislative Caucus Concerned with Potential Breach of Trust with State DLD Database 

For Immediate Release:
July 8, 2019
 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

 

Utah Hispanic Legislative Caucus Concerned with Potential Breach of Trust with State DMV Database 

SALT LAKE CITY – Rep. Mark Wheatley (D-District 35), and Chair of the Utah Hispanic Legislative Caucus has the following statement:

“On behalf of the Utah Hispanic Legislative Caucus, I am concerned with the recent news about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal law enforcement agencies having increased access to the database for the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Driver License Division (DLD). No one registers for a driver license or state identification card with the belief that this information could be used against them. This is a potential breach of trust that should concern every single Utah citizen.  In addition, this story has already exacerbated fears within our immigrant and non-white communities. For years the Utah Legislature has made clear that federal access to our DLD records is only permitted on a limited basis. To allow ICE and other federal law enforcement wide access without legislative approval is a dangerous misstep that does not allow elected officials a chance to represent their constituents.” 

Rep. Angela Romero and Sen. Luz Escamilla are also members of the state Hispanic Legislative Caucus. Rep. Wheatley, Rep. Romero, and Sen. Escamilla are also members of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL).  

 

# # #

House Democrats Supportive of Salt Lake City Mayor’s Amended Inland Port Lawsuit

Media Statement

 

For Immediate Release:
June 24, 2019
 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

 

House Democrats Supportive of Salt Lake City Mayor’s Amended Inland Port Lawsuit

 

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah House Democrats representing the districts around the Inland Port west side of Salt Lake City are expressing support for Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s amended complaint in the City’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Utah Inland Port Authority.  The mayor’s objections include mandating that the Inland Port Authority take 100 percent of the City property tax increment and a portion of the City’s sales and use tax revenue within the designated development site.  The suit also challenges the state’s attempt to override local control for critical land use decisions. 

“We think the mayor raises some valid points,” said Representative Sandra Hollins, D-District 23.  “As representatives of the communities of those that will be most impacted by the inland port, we have serious concerns about tying the hands of our communities with these mandates that usurp our local sales and use taxes.  We are also very concerned about how this project will degrade the environment and the health of our constituents.”  

Representative Elizabeth Weight (D-District 31), added, “Because of the pre-emptive nature of the initial and subsequent legislation on the Inland Port, it is difficult to place confidence in the quality and longevity of jobs, a fair tax structure, or necessary considerations for environmental issues.  When the process to create the legislation has precluded satisfactory research and information to address legitimate community interests and experts' credible concerns, the uncertainties will remain. A more inclusive, transparent, and research-based process is needed to provide a secure image of this project.” 

Representative Angela Romero, serving District 26, also supports the mayor’s amended lawsuit.

 

# # #

 

Utah House Democrats to Host Town Halls on Tax Reform

Media Advisory

 

For Immediate Release:
April 17, 2019 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

 

Utah House Democrats to Host Town Halls on Tax Reform

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah House Democrats will hold a series of town halls to discuss tax reform over the coming weeks. A total of six town halls will be held in Salt Lake, Weber, and Utah Counties next month, with potentially more to be scheduled later. 

 

After tax reform efforts stalled during the legislative session, and with future necessary reforms pending, Democrats want to make sure the public is heard. These public events will provide opportunities to discuss the state’s tax structural problem, and the many options the state has for reform.


“While we may need to address the structural imbalance of our state tax system, any reforms need to happen in a collaborative and public way,” said House Minority Leader, Representative Brian King. “Utahns want transparency, not policy made in closed caucus meetings. We look forward to collaboratively discussing the challenges and opportunities Utah has to improve our tax structure. We want to work with all stakeholders as we and our Republican colleagues proceed with legislative ideas.”
 

The House Democratic Leadership will hold a media availability to discuss these upcoming tax reform town halls tomorrow, Thursday, April 18, between 8 AM and 9 AM, or between 11 AM and 12 Noon, in the House Minority Offices at the Capitol, Suite 400.

 

Public town halls will be held in the following locations next month:

 

Date:              
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Location:        
State Capitol
350 North State Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114
Senate Building, Room 210
Time:  6:30 to 8:30 PM
 

Date: Thursday, May 16, 2019
Location: West Valley City Hall
3600 S Constitution Boulevard
West Valley City, UT 84119 
Multipurpose Room
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 PM 

Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Location: Weber County Main Library
2464 Jefferson Ave, Ogden, UT, 84401
Auditorium A
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 PM

Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Location: Provo City Library at Academy Square
550 North University Avenue,
Provo, Utah 84601
Bullock Room #309
Time:   6:30 to 8:30 PM 

Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Location: Sandy City Hall 
10000 Centennial Pkwy,
Sandy, UT 84070
Multipurpose Room
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 PM


Date:  Date Pending
Location: Holladay City Hall

 

# # #

 

House Democrats Praise the Passage of Stronger Hate Crimes Law for Utah

For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2019

 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

  

House Democrats Praise the Passage of Stronger Hate Crimes Law for Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – Today during Governor Herbert’s ceremonial signing of S.B. 103 “Victim Targeting Penalty Enhancements,” Utah House Democrats Rep. Patrice Arent and Rep. Sandra Hollins spoke about the significance of the legislation that strengthens Utah’s hate crimes law. 

Rep. Arent, who is the only Jewish member of the legislature, spoke about an attack by a man on her synagogue in 2012.

“His actions sent fear throughout our Jewish community in a different way than a simple property crime,” said Rep. Arent. “But under Utah law at that time, he could only be charged with a misdemeanor, so federal prosecutors had to step in. With the passaging of SB 103, Utahns will be protected by our own state law.”

Rep. Arent added, “It is a strength of our country and state that expression of a belief is protected, no matter how offensive it may be to others. But until today, it has been a failing of our state to allow people to commit a crime motivated by that hateful belief without serious consequences. Today, that ends. Today, we come together as a state to hold accountable those who commit crimes in the name of hate. Today, we stand together to ensure the safety and welfare of all our neighbors.”

Rep. Hollins, Utah’s first female African American legislator, spoke about the impact hate crimes have had on her community.

“We know that there are those in our community, including myself, who wonder if they are in danger simply because of where they pray, what they look like or who they love,” said Rep. Hollins. “I am encouraged by what we have accomplished in the 2019 session, but this does not mean that we have prevented all future hateful challenges and injustices from occurring.  This law is a tool that we now have to fight against those injustices. We must continue to stay vigilant and committed to the well-being of all Utahns.”   

# # #

Utah House Democrats Urge Attorney General Reyes to Drop Utah from ACA Lawsuit

Media Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 1, 2019 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

  

Utah House Democrats Urge Attorney General Reyes to Drop Utah from ACA Lawsuit
 

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democrats have the following statement: 

Utah House Democrats call on State Attorney General Sean Reyes to immediately remove Utah from the multi-state lawsuit aimed at striking down the Affordable Care Act.  It is hypocritical for Utah leaders to celebrate receiving a Federal waiver to expand Medicaid – although not fully to the extent most Utahns want under Prop 3 – while also advocating that the ACA be struck down as unconstitutional. That healthcare law currently covers over 390,000 Utahns with pre-existing conditions and will provide Medicaid services for 90,000 more. Those protections would be gone if Attorney General Reyes’ argument prevails.  Striking down the ACA would also threaten coverage for nearly 195,000 Utahns currently enrolled in the marketplace.  Utah’s attorney general should not back a lawsuit that runs absolutely counter to what most Utahns want – greater healthcare security, not less.  We urge Attorney General Reyes and other state leaders to join us in actually listening to the voices and needs of most Utahns and withdraw Utah’s support from the multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ACA.

# # #

Utah House Democratic Statement Addressing Intolerance 

Media Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, March 11, 2019

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

Utah House Democratic Statement Addressing Intolerance 

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democrats have the following statement condemning intolerance:

 
Utah House Democrats affirm that we condemn ALL forms of speech and practices that perpetuate prejudice, injustice, and hate, including conversion therapy.  We are inspired by our constituents who immediately spoke out against such harmful intolerance. 
 

We believe the vast majority of Utahns are fundamentally open-minded and accepting of their neighbors, no matter one’s race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, citizenship status, abilities, or faith. As policymakers, we bear a great responsibility to follow inclusive standards and the highest principles. We listen to the experiences of those impacted and use the best available information to ensure safety and protection for children and other marginalized communities from harmful practices.

 

While we are encouraged by the long-overdue progress of hate crimes legislation this session, we all have more work to do, given some of the terrible events that occurred this past year. We urge all Utahns to join us in condemning hateful expressions of intolerance and celebrating our diverse and vibrant community.

 

# # #

 

 

Utah House Democratic Statement on Ongoing State Budget Negotiations

Media Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, March 11, 2019

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

Utah House Democratic Statement on Ongoing State Budget Negotiations

 

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah House Democratic Leadership has the following statement regarding state budget negotiations:

Utahns are feeling whiplash from calls early in the session for big tax cuts to now hearing fears that our fiscal situation is dire because tax reform efforts stalled.  While our economy is doing well, we need to be frank and collaborative about the necessity of stabilizing our tax system. Utah House Democrats acknowledge that tax reform is pressing.  As currently constructed, sales taxes are insufficient to fund the many state programs and agencies Utahns depend on.  At the same time, the education fund generated through income tax revenue is healthy and must be protected. We do not support cutting income taxes in a way that would harm funding for education.  Instead, any budget proposal should include at least a 4 percent increase to the WPU and full funding of school growth. A strong Utah depends on an educated workforce. 

As we finalize the state’s budget in the shadow of future revenue concerns, our constituents should not be forced to worry about how it would affect their quality of life. Medicaid expansion, housing affordability, suicide prevention, and air quality programs affect all residents of the state and are vital to Utah’s prosperity. Taxpayers should not be harmed in the name of tax reform.  


We look forward to working openly with our constituents and colleagues to make this process a success.  

 

# # #

 

Utah House Democratic Statement on Delaying Tax Reform Efforts

Media Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

  

Utah House Democratic Statement on Delaying Tax Reform Efforts

 

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democratic Leadership issued the following statement on delaying state tax reform this session:

House Democrats have made clear our position that the process for moving forward with state tax reform should be inclusive, transparent, and open to diverse viewpoints as it always should have been. We agree with those in the majority caucus that we should make greater efforts to listen, gather information from all who want to be heard on this issue, and develop the best policies for reforming our tax system.

We are glad the people of Utah made their voices heard to slow down the process of developing tax reform legislation which will affect every resident and every company that does business in the state. We were given insufficient time to assess all of the unintended consequences of broadening the sales tax base to include services while lowering the rate.

We agree that as we shift from a goods-based economy to a service-based economy, tax reform is necessary to balance our state finances. But it cannot be done on the backs of small local businesses and cannot come at the expense of education.  


We appreciate the efforts put in so far, and we look forward to working with our majority colleagues, individuals and businesses to stabilize our tax system to benefit all Utahns.

 

# # #

 

House Democratic Statement on Medicaid Expansion Legislation

Media Statement 

For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2019  

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov
 

House Democratic Statement on Medicaid Expansion Legislation

  

SALT LAKE CITY – Today the Utah House Democratic Caucus issued the following statement: 

“We stand with Utah voters and believe that any Medicaid expansion passed by the legislature must fully cover all individuals up to 138% of the federal poverty level, begin April 1, 2019, and have no enrollment caps or additional eligibility requirements.  We are open to all funding mechanisms, including the sales tax increase approved by voters and additional options provided in the Affordable Care Act. 

 
SB96, in its current form, is a brazen effort to repeal Prop 3 and replace it with a lousy alternative that would rollback Medicaid expansion if a Federal waiver isn’t secured by next July.  There is no guarantee Utah could secure the waiver by that time.  Our state has waited for a similar waiver since August 2017.  The purpose of these waivers is to improve Medicaid assistance for people, not to diminish it.  Saying we cannot afford a full Medicaid expansion while pushing for a tax cut is a blatant misplacement of priorities.”
 

###

Utah Democrats Saddened by the Loss of Civil Rights Icon Robert “Archie” Archuleta

Media Statement

For Immediate Release:
January 25, 2019

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

Jon Hennington
Utah Senate Democratic Caucus
801-214-4611 | jhennington@le.utah.gov

 

Utah Democrats Saddened by the Loss of Civil Rights Icon Robert “Archie” Archuleta

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah House and Senate Democrats are saddened by the passing of longtime civil rights leader and educator Robert “Archie” Archuleta, who was 88.  Archuleta was a kindhearted and passionate advocate for many in our community whose voices have been marginalized.  He was an outspoken leader for hardworking Utahns, and he helped many to understand and appreciate Chicana/o history. As a dedicated community servant, Archie embraced many roles as an educator, mentor, and champion for civil liberties and peace.  We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.  We will miss him dearly.  

“Archie was the voice for the Utah Latino community,” said Rep. Angela Romero. “We are who we are today because of him. We hope to honor his legacy by continuing to advocate on behalf of marginalized communities.”  

“Utah’s Latino community has lost a titan, a champion and advocate for so many issues and causes,” said Richard Jaramillo, current president of Utah Coalition of La Raza. “Archie helped shape the Latino community, the nature of local activism, and made so many personal connections across the state that his impact has been truly profound.”

Biography

Robert “Archie” Archuleta was a graduate of Idaho State College and a post graduate of the University of Utah. He taught school in the Salt Lake School District in 1953 in the old McGillis School on 1300 East. He eventually was the Principal of an alternative school for young people who were pushed out of Salt Lake School. He planted the seeds for what is now the Horizonte Instruction and Training Center. He retired from the Salt Lake City School District. Later, he was hired by Mayor Rocky Anderson as the minority affairs director. He retired from this position in 2004. He is survived by his wife Lois and their five children—Jason Roberto, Florencia Lucienne, Keith Emiliano, Micaela Lisette, Letitia P.—and six grandchildren.

Archie was an activist and advocate in minority, poverty, peace, economic, civil rights, civil liberties and cultural issues. He served as a member of several boards and committees. But, it was the Utah Coalition of La Raza where he put most of his energy. Archie was the President of Utah Coalition of La Raza for 9 years as he mentored and grew the next generation of community advocates. He worked tirelessly to hold higher education institutions, criminal justice institutions and k-12 education institutions accountable for meeting the needs of Latino/a and all “minority” students.   He was a member of many ethnic, political, advocacy, educational, peace, civil rights, civil liberties, poverty and labor groups and boards. He was President of the Board of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, member of the board and ex-Chair of the Salt Lake County Democratic Caucus as well as a member of the following boards: Centro Civico Mexicano, Center for Documentary Arts, Concerned Citizens Committee, Alliance for Unity, Utah Aging Commission and the Enriching Utah Coalition. 

Archie received numerous awards, including the Quixote Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Cualli Ohtli Award from the Mexican Consulate, the Cesar Chavez Education award from UCLR, the Charles E. Bennett Humanitarian and Civil Rights Award from the Utah Education Association, and The Chicano Scholarship Fund honored him for civic and humanitarian achievement at the University of Utah.  He is an icon of social justice in Utah.  

Please contact Rep. Angela Romero with questions or inquiries for his family.
angelaromero@le.utah.gov

# # #

Utah House Democrat Speaks Against Proposed Abortion Bill

Media Statement
 

For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2019 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov
 

Utah House Democrat Speaks Against Proposed Abortion Bill

SALT LAKE CITY – Today Rep. Angela Romero (D-District 26) spoke out against a proposed bill by Rep. Cheryl Acton (R-District 43) that would restrict a woman’s right to have an abortion in Utah from 20 weeks of pregnancy down to 15 weeks.

“This is a Federal issue, and the state should leave it alone,” said Rep. Romero.  “Bills like this that have been tried by other states are always struck down.  It’s a waste of time. It’ll never stand up in court.”

Last year a judge struck down a similar 15-week abortion bill passed by Mississippi, which also negated a similar law passed by Louisiana.  In 2014 federal judges struck down attempts for six- and 12-week bans in North Dakota and Arkansas and ruled them unconstitutional.

“This shouldn’t happen.  This is part of a nationwide, calculated effort to impede women from having a choice for an abortion,” Romero added. “Utah has already done enough to hinder women who seek their constitutionally-protected right to govern their body.  We shouldn’t be pushing women further into the shadows. A much better issue for the legislature to focus on should be comprehensive sex education and improving access to healthcare programs.”   

Nationally, abortions have dropped to their lowest rate in a decade, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In 2015, the most recent year that data is available, the rate was about 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 14 to 44. The number of women in Utah who seek an abortion each year is well below the national average, at 4.6 abortions per 1,000 women in 2014, according to Guttmacher Institute.  

# # #

Rep. Sandra Hollins Opens Bill File to Remove Exception from Utah’s Constitution that Allows for Slavery

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release:
January 4, 2018 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

Rep. Sandra Hollins Opens Bill File to Remove Exception from Utah’s Constitution that Allows for Slavery

SALT LAKE CITY – Generally, Americans believe slavery in the U.S. was completely abolished more than 150 years ago. The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865 following the Civil War, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, but with an exception for punishment for a crime.  Also, the language in Utah’s 1896 constitution, similar to many other states, still seems to permit slavery as a form of punishment for a crime.

Article I, Section 21: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within this State." 

Rep. Sandra Hollins (D-District 23), says it is finally time to change this outdated and troubling language.  She has opened a bill file that, if passed by more than 2/3 of the Legislature’s House and Senate, would let Utahns vote to remove the exception the law currently gives for punishment for crime. 

“Regardless of how we feel about the criminal justice system, it should be clear that it shouldn’t be slavery,” said Rep. Hollins. “Our constitution serves as a basis for all of our laws and policies. We need to be clearer about what prison is for, and what prison is not.  The notion of ‘slavery or involuntary servitude’ should not be imposed on people merely because they are convicted of a crime.  By passing this measure we will assert that slavery is not a Utah value.”

This year Colorado voters approved a similar ballot initiative to amend their state’s constitution to remove the language “except as punishment for a crime” from the section that bans slavery or involuntary servitude.  Colorado’s newly adopted language reads: "There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude."

Half the U.S. states do not mention slavery or involuntary servitude at all in their constitutions.  Twenty-five states have language explicitly forbidding slavery or involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. 

Rep. Hollins’ bill is still in the process of being drafted.


# # #

Rep.-elect Stoddard Opens Bill File to Increase Capacity for Civil Liability in Wake of Murder of Lauren McCluskey

Media Statement

For Immediate Release:  
December 20, 2018

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(385) 228-5483 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov

 Representative-Elect Andrew Stoddard
Utah House District 44
info@voteandrewstoddard.com | 801-884-9943

Rep.-elect Stoddard Opens Bill File to Increase Capacity for Civil Liability 
In Wake of Murder of Lauren McCluskey

SALT LAKE CITY --  Representative-Elect Andrew Stoddard (D- District 44) has opened a bill file to increase the capacity for civil liability for firearm owners who knowingly lend a weapon to an individual who uses that weapon to commit a violent crime. This proposed legislation has been dubbed “Lauren’s Law,” in memory of Lauren McCluskey, the 21 year-old University of Utah student athlete who was murdered on October 22, 2018 by Melvin Shawn Rowland. 

Rowland was a convicted criminal and registered sex offender who had a brief relationship with Lauren before he shot her to death outside her on-campus dorm, and who later took his own life. Rowland’s criminal history prevented him from legally purchasing his own firearm, but law enforcement authorities say Rowland was able to kill McCluskey using a firearm that was lent to him by a friend under the guise of using it for target shooting. “Lauren’s Law” is not focused on criminal liability in cases like these, but explores the capacity for civil liability and would act as a deterrent to casual gun-sharing culture.

“Owning a gun comes with a tremendous responsibility, and I think most gun owners recognize that,” said Rep.-elect Stoddard. “It’s good that we are now having this important conversation among many different stakeholders. I want us to reach a solution through the legislative process that will both affirm this great responsibility gun owners have, and pass a law that will work to protect people like Lauren in the future.”  

Rep.-elect Stoddard added: “As a longtime victim advocate, I do not seek to prosecute victims. Individuals who have their firearms stolen are victims of a crime, as are individuals defending themselves against violence who use a firearm in self-defense. Ensuring that pursuit of civil liability does not overstep to unfairly punish crime victims is a key concern of mine as this process continues.” 

Representative-Elect Stoddard  is welcoming comments about the proposed legislation, which can be directed to him at andrew@voteandrewstoddard.com.

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Rep. Arent to Revive Straight-Ticket Voting Bill

Media Statement 

For Immediate Release:
November 21, 2018 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

Rep. Arent to Revive Straight-Ticket Voting Bill

SALT LAKE CITY – Today Representative Patrice Arent, D – District 36, announced that she opened a bill file to eliminate straight-ticket voting (STV) in Utah. 

 “After an election that saw an unprecedented interest for a midterm, now is the time to move past this outdated voting practice,” said Rep. Arent. “Forty-two other states do not allow straight-ticket voting.  It’s time that Utah joined them.”  

Rep. Arent ran similar legislation in 2013 and again in 2016.  

Straight-ticket voting allows voters to choose a political party’s entire slate of candidates with just a single ballot mark.  Utah is one of just eight states that still allows STV, along with Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.  Texas passed legislation to eliminate it, which will take effect in 2020. Over the past two decades the number of states that allow for STV has decreased, according to The National Conference of State Legislators.

 “Straight-ticket voting denies good candidates in both parties the opportunity to receive fair consideration by voters,” added Rep. Arent. “If we want voters to be educated and hold their elected officials responsible, we ought to encourage them to learn about the candidates they are voting for and not just paint all candidates with a single partisan brush on election day.” 

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Utah House Democratic Leadership Team for 2019/20

Media Statement 

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2018 

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

 

Utah House Democratic Leadership Team for 2019/20
 

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah House Democratic Caucus elected its new leadership team for the upcoming legislative session Tuesday evening. 

  • Rep. Brian King, D – District 28, was selected to continue serving as Minority Leader.

  • Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D – District 37, was selected to serve as Minority Whip.

  • Rep. Angela Romero, D – District 26, was selected to continue serving as Minority Assistant Whip.

  • Rep. Karen Kwan D – District 34, was selected to serve as Minority Caucus Manager.

“I am grateful and honored that our caucus continues to have confidence in my leadership,” said Rep. Brian King. “We have a very cohesive team, and we will continue speaking up for hardworking Utahns.  I look forward to working closely with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues on tackling the challenges facing Utah and ensuring that all Utahns have opportunities to succeed and thrive.”

Minority Leader, Representative Brian King was first elected to the Utah State House in 2008. He has practiced law in Salt Lake City for over 30 years. His district covers the east side of Salt Lake City along with parts of Summit County and Parley’s Canyon. Following the 2014 election he was first elected to serve as the House Minority Leader. 

The Minority Whip-Elect, Representative Carol Spackman Moss was first elected to the State House in 2000.  Before serving in the legislature she taught English and student government at Olympus High School for 30 years. Her district covers neighborhoods in Holladay and Murray. She previously served as the Assistant Minority Whip in the Utah House from 2004 to 2010.

The Minority Assistant Whip, Representative Angela Romero was first elected to represent Salt Lake City in 2012.  Her district covers much of Salt Lake City’s westside. She is the Community Programs Manager for Salt Lake City’s Youth and Family Division. In 2016 she was selected by her colleagues to serve as House Democratic Assistant Whip.  She is also currently the First Vice President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.

The Minority Caucus Manager-Elect, Representative Karen Kwan is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Salt Lake Community College. She was first elected to the Utah House in 2016. Her district represents neighborhoods in Taylorsville, Murray and West Valley City. 

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