Utah 2024 Legislative Session Update

Utah state capitol building in Salt Lake City in the evening

We’ve passed the halfway mark of Utah’s 45-day legislative session, and lawmakers have made significant progress on many bills, notably in healthcare, education, and the state budget. 

Medicaid Expansion: HB 193 would extend the repeal dates for various Medicaid assessments and proposes using the Medicaid Expansion Fund to cover Medicaid expenses for certain pregnant and postpartum women and mental/behavioral health services. This bill has passed in the House and is awaiting its introduction in the Senate.  

Doula Services: SB 85 is currently under consideration by the Senate. It would authorize Medicaid coverage for doula services, contingent on a Medicaid state plan amendment, and set training and registration standards for doulas serving Medicaid enrollees.

Health Data Authority: HB 41, which passed the House on February 12 and moved to the Senate, proposes adding new members to the Health Data Authority Committee and eliminating the committee’s expiration date. The Health Data Authority Committee has played a key role in analyzing health data to identify and address state health issues for 30 years.

Post-Employment Restrictions: HB 305 proposes to nullify post-employment restrictive contracts if an employee is laid off or if the agreement involves a non-exempt employee. The bill is currently pending in the House. 

Telemedicine: HB 267 would mandate that health plans reimburse telemedicine services at a minimum of 90% of in-person provider rates. The bill is unlikely to progress to a full House vote, casting doubt on its passage this year, after it failed to receive a favorable recommendation in the House Business and Labor Committee on February 13.

Behavioral Health Licensing: SB 26 would reduce the required training needed to obtain a behavioral health clinician license from 3,000 to 1,500 hours. However, such a change may impact those clinicians’ eligibility for Medicare reimbursement, as federal licensing standards require at least 3,000 training hours. The bill has been through its second reading in the Senate and is being put aside for further consideration. 

Protected Health Information: HB 427 would penalize healthcare providers who fail to respond to PHI requests within 30 days, with $200 fines going to pay patients’ outstanding medical bills. The bill has passed through all House committees and is now on the House’s 3rd Reading Calendar.

State Budget: Governor Spencer Cox has proposed a $29.5 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but the Legislature still needs to share its budget plans. Earlier this week, the Executive Appropriations Committee (EAC) received reports from each of the seven topical budget committees (view subcommittee priorities). Based on these reports and other discussions throughout the remainder of the legislative session, the two chambers will likely settle on a final budget in the waning days of the legislative session.

Education Priorities: Over 100 education-related bills are under consideration, with priority measures including HB 1, which would allot $19 million toward education initiatives in 2024, and HB 261, which Gov. Cox signed into law on January 31, that will eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at state universities. 

Additionally, HB 221 and HB 287 would provide stipends to future educators and establish a scholarship program for advanced degrees. The former passed the House and was placed on the Senate’s 3rd Reading Calendar table, while the latter is currently in the House Education Committee.

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