Utah Dems’ message about message bills: enough already
Politics • From public lands to health care, lawmakers worry about the ramifications.
Published: March 6, 2012 02:21PM
Updated: March 6, 2012 11:37PM

Utah Democrats delivered a message Tuesday about the many “message bills” that Republican legislators are running this election year to attack the federal government and the Obama administration.

“Enough is enough,” House Minority Leader David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, said in a news conference.

House Democratic Assistant Whip Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, complained that message bills take “time and the energy and the resources of the state Legislature … and divert them away from productive activity and into an attack on the federal government and an attack on the Obama administration.”

While Democrats don’t like the many message bills that attack public lands policies, they especially targeted the Senate-passed SB208, which would have Utah join a compact of states seeking to opt out of federal health care reform and, if allowed by Congress, control such programs as Medicare and Medicaid locally with federal block grants.

“This is not just a benign message bill,” said Senate Assistant Whip Pat Jones, D-Holladay. “Utah would be in charge of our own Medicaid and Medicare.”

Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, sponsor of the health care compact bill, said it is not posturing but a serious response to “a federal health care program that is in disarray,” and a move to ensure Utah can continue delivering reliable health care while ensuring that rising Medicaid costs do not devour the state budget.

“We have the capacity to lead. Do we sit back and let others take this on?” he said. “We need to set the agenda as a state.”