Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Bill will put Utah marriage commission into statute
HB147 » Measure aims to strengthen families, decrease divorce
First Published Mar 06 2013 11:34 am • Last Updated Mar 22 2013 02:58 pm

Legislation to establish the Utah Marriage Commission in statute headed toward home plate Wednesday as lawmakers unanimously advanced HB147 out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, will enable the Utah Healthy Marriage Initiative — first launched by former Utah first lady Jacalyn Leavitt in 1998 — to continue in the form of a 17-member commission. HB147 will require ongoing funding of $8,800 per year for basic functioning of the new board.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

In pitching the bill, Christensen referred to marriage as "a noble and worthy subject that predates government itself."

"The heart and soul of the commission has really been the marriage and family science components of our universities," Christensen said, also crediting religious communities for strengthening marital bonds.

Even so, over recent decades, marriage has declined by one-third and divorce has doubled, Christensen said, adding that the number of single-parent families is now one in three.

The financial implications of those statistics to Utah represents about $280 million in health and human services, he added.

While the commission might not achieve drastic results, it "attempts to move the needle," said Paul Schvaneveldt, who chairs the Child and Family Studies Department at Weber State University.

"If you can move these trends in a positive direction, that is certainly progress," Schvaneveldt said.

For several years, Utah’s Department of Workforce Services diverted $700,000 in federal Temporary Aid for Needy Families funding to the initiative. However, shrinking TANF funding will halt that practice this June.

"We had to decide whether to keep funding this marriage initiative or to put those dollars directly toward public assistance that helps clients transition into self-sufficiency," said DWS Communications Director Joe Demma.

story continues below
story continues below

HB147 now heads to the Senate for consideration.


twitter: @catmck

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.