Respite care for Utah’s homeless – Rep. Jim Dunnigan is sponsoring HB34, “Medical Respite Care Program” which would create a respite care program for homeless Utahns who need additional care after visiting the emergency room. “The idea is that they’ll stay there for maybe up to two weeks to get stable, and then [the respite care center will] try to get them into either one of our new research shelters for the homeless or some other type of housing or treatment…It will give them a chance for a better life.” The bill passed the House Health and Human Services committee on Jan. 21 and is likely to be heard by the full House this week.
Reining in no-bid contracts – Rep. Candice Pierucci says HB43, brought forward in response to no-bid contracts last spring would allow “the executive branch to be both nimble and responsive while also putting guardrails and checkpoints into place to encourage transparency, accountability and ultimately the competitive bid process.” The bill stipulates that a no-bid emergency contract could last not longer than 30 days, except in the case of a natural disaster, and then they would be limited to 60 days. A pandemic does not meet the definition of “natural disaster.” After the emergency contracts expire, the state would go through the standard procurement process. The bill passed out of the Government Operations committee unanimously and now goes to the full House for debate.
The veneer of politeness is gone in DC – Some House lawmakers are privately refusing to work with each other. Others are afraid to be in the same room. Two members almost got into a fist fight on the floor. And the speaker of the House is warning that “the enemy is within.” The friction is particularly intense in the House, where two-thirds of the GOP conference voted to overturn the election just hours after lawmakers were attacked by a mob that demanded that very action. The position of those 139 members is now threatening to upend decades of relationships in the House, forcing long-time colleagues to work through their raw emotions and palpable anger in the weeks since the attack. (Politico)
Hunting Bigfoot? – Oklahoma is debating a bill that would issue hunting permits for Sasquatch. Not kidding. The bill would only allow trapping Bigfoot and would offer a $25,000 bounty to anyone who successfully snags the elusive creature. Bill sponsor Justin Humphrey says that while he has never seen evidence of Bigfoot, he knows there are people who have. Mostly, though, the novel idea could bring visitors to the state – or even just boost state coffers by people who want a license they can hang on their wall. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is all weird about it, saying they believe in a science-driven approach. Go figure. (Travel and Leisure)