Legislature special session to discuss hot topics

Rick Bowmer
The Utah State legislature will meet Monday, September 16, to discuss medical cannabis, census funding, the Utah Election Code and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A Utah State legislature special session, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, will address topics on a variety of issues, including medical cannabis, census funding, the Utah Election Code and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

The conclusions reached during this session will largely be shaped by the comments from the public and lawmakers’ personal insights.

“The best thing we can do is to move in what we think is the right direction, understanding that we will have to make changes and adjustments moving forward,” Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, said.

One of the major proposed changes will focus on the dispensing of medical cannabis. According to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, the distribution of medical cannabis is just as crucial as its quality.

“My administration is dedicated to ensuring that quality, medical-grade cannabis products are accessible to patients by March of 2020,” Herbert said in a press release dated Sept. 5. “Removing the requirement for a state central fill pharmacy will provide efficient and timely distribution of this substance for those who need it.” 

Other legislators, including Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, said the proposed change is unrealistic.

“Financially there is no way to make it work,” Thurston said.

The census is another important issue that lawmakers hope to reach a definitive decision on.

In a press release, Herbert said lawmakers will consider “appropriate census funding.”

Ensuring that an accurate census is taken in 2020 will help lawmakers make educated and fair decisions regarding federal funding and congressional representation.

State Planning Coordinator Evan Curtis said there is a push for Utah residents to submit census forms primarily through the internet in hopes to boost response rate and increase accuracy. 

“Higher response rates will determine how the government disperses tax dollars as a state, influences political representation and how we allocate our representation as a state,” Curtis said.

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