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Week Five Recap

 
Last week we had another terrible tragedy in our state that was 100% preventable. The devastating suicide of Drayke Hardman, a 12-year-old boy who took his life because of bullying at school. This is the second child suicide in four months because of this. Last November Isabella (Izzy) Tichenor, a 10-year-old girl took her life for the same reason. I wanted to address this first thing because this is something that is completely preventable. I also want those families to know that we see you, we hear you, and I'm committed to doing everything I can to help prevent another child from dying this way. At the end of this email is a list of resources for anyone struggling with suicide or have loved ones who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide or are struggling with being bullied at school. You are not alone. 

If you ever have any questions or want to talk about issues you can see the best ways to contact me by clicking the button below. 

 
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Happening on the Hill

As we near the end of the session time on the house floor balloons as we get more and more bills that come up and require debate and votes. Here are some of the major votes that happened this week. 

H.B. 224 Optometry Amendments would widen the scope of practice for Optometrists to allow them to perform certain in-office laser surgeries which are often taught in optometry programs but are currently restricted to being performed by Ophthalmologists in the state of Utah. While there were some concerns raised over patient safety and wellbeing, ultimately I decided to vote yes on the bill. 

The biggest debate of the week was on H.B. 331 which is currently circled in the house. This is essentially this year's version of the perennial voucher bill that seeks to take funds away from public schools and funnel them into charter schools. This is problematic because it not only takes money away from our already underfunded public schools but it puts that money into charter schools which are not as accountable to the public for what they teach. 

S.B. 121 Anesthesiologist Assistant Licensing Act which would recognize licenses for Anesthesiologist's Assistants. This bill was very controversial, especially among the community of CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) who saw it as undercutting the market for anesthesiologic care while leaving patients in the hands of less qualified healthcare providers. I decided to vote yes on this bill to help with access to care where there is already a huge shortage. This bill passed through the house and will be read on the Senate floor. 

I'm proud to be the floor sponsor of S.B.137S03 Property Decamination Amendments which is sponsored by Sen. Karen Mayne. This will enable municipalities to regulate the abatement of certain conditions, particularly properties affected by methamphetamines. This bill will be heard in committee on Tuesday morning and is intended to help our communities and keep residents safe. 
The Great Salt Lake

This week we had a birds-eye view of the Great Salt Lake and the dire situation we are in. Thanks to the National Guard for allowing us to tag along on their training exercise to see exactly how bad the situation is. I'm happy to be a co-sponsor of H.B. 410 Great Salt Lake Watershed Enhancement that will help allocate resources to saving and preserving the Great Salt Lake. 
Follow Along

Utah's award-winning website set up by the Legislature has set up is the ability to track bills that you are interested in following. To do that you can go to le.utah.gov/tracking/trackinglogin and set up an account. 
Once you create an account you can type in the Bill Number and click "add" and it will send you emails and updates on how the bill is progressing. You can also log in at any time and check the status of the bills you are interested in. 

If you would like to tune into the Legislative Session, you can watch it live, or see past sessions by going to le.utah.gov and clicking the Calendar Icon on the main screen. That will pull up the week's schedule and you can click the play icon in any session you would like to watch. As of now, you can go to the calendar and sort by week to tune in to whichever day that's important to you. 
Reaching Across The Aisle

On the 18th, First Lady Abby Cox hosted the Legislative Spouses for the "Reaching Across The Aisle" service project. My wonderful husband Que along with other legislative spouses joined in to help shop for refugee families. They were able to fill their carts with groceries and items they needed for their families. This program was able to help 17 refugee families thanks to Associated Food Stores. 

Suicide Prevention

 
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Utah, but it can be the absolute most preventable. If you or someone you know is thinking about self-harm here are some resources available to help you or someone you care about. 

SafeUT is designed to help youth stay healthy and safe in schools by providing high-quality, confidential counseling services. This is an app that you can download on your phone. Schools can be one of the toughest environments at times. This app is for parents, students, and educators to have a confidential safe place to turn to help you or someone you love in most situations. 

Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition is a resource that residents can use to get help if they are thinking of taking their life. They also have access to training to spot the signs that someone may be suicidal and support for those who may have lost someone they love to suicide. 
 
The National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255 is 24/7 and can help support people who are in distress and provide additional resources for loved ones. 

Remember that you are not alone and it's okay to ask for help. 

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