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Day 2 of 45: Research Day

January 24, 2012

Today was “Research Day” at the Capitol, and a number of students were displaying the results of their research. Here I am with Kira Anjwierden from Bountiful. Kira is a freshman at USU. Her project studied the effects of strenuous exercise on female athletes with a propensity for eating disorders. I really enjoyed meeting Kira and her friends. I took them for a little backstage tour of the Senate Chambers, which they seemed to enjoy. (But they especially took interest in the free soda dispenser in the kitchen.)

Day 2 marked my first committee meeting, and my first actual votes on the Senate floor. I was really impressed with Kristen Cox, who is blind, and is the head of the Department of Workforce Services. Social Services administers billions of dollars in the state’s budget. Here are some of the more interesting facts to come out of today’s hearing:

-At 10%, Utah has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment insurance duration rates.

-Workforce Services assisted 466,000 customers last year.

-Utah added 9 new drug classes to the Medicaid preferred drug list last year and saved $27 million. (Why don’t we add MORE?)

-Utah is the 2nd lowest state in per capita spending on its Medicaid. Nevada edged us out of #1

-At 9%, Utah has the nation’s lowest % enrolled in Medicaid. By contrast, here are some other states: NY (24%), CA (19%), Mich (18%), Mass (17%), SC (14%), Texas (13%)

-Of the 50 states, Utah has the lowest smoking rate, the lowest cancer death rate, the 3rd lowest rates of adult diabetes & infant mortality

-Since 2008, the number of public assistance cases in Utah have grown from 121,712 to 174,534 while staffing has decreased by 33%

The speed at which the votes came at me during the second reading calendar today surprised me, and was a good reminder of how much I still have to learn. Fortunately I was able to keep up. And I will be better prepared for tommorrow.

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One Comment
  1. Kira Anjewierden permalink

    Thank you so much for stopping by our presentation! You’re right, we did appreciate the sodas, but we did also enjoy seeing the Senate Chambers! We felt pretty cool getting to go back there.

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