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  • Writer's pictureRep. Candice Pierucci

Week 6: Stabilizing Education Funding, Drug Pricing & Bills

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

Congratulations to the winners from our district in the 48thAnnual Utah All-State High School Art Show! I was pleased to have the chance to meet Taylor Hart (Herriman High) and Eve Peck (Mountain Ridge Highschool) and see their art. This week I appreciated the opportunity to meet with educators and leaders in the Jordan School District to discuss the education funding proposal. Thank you to the many constituents who have come up to join me on the house floor to watch the debate.


Pharmacy Benefits Amendment

Utahns spend more out-of-pocket for their health care and prescription drugs than the average American. Branded drug prices have nearly tripled since 2008 and for every dollar spent on health care, only 23.3 cents goes towards prescription drugs. Representative Ray’s bill, HB 272 Pharmacy Benefits Amendment will address these concerns and significantly benefit Utahns by increasing drug price transparency and bending the cost curve on health care. HB 272 unanimously passed the House of Representatives and has moved to the Senate. I am a cosponsor of this legislation and look forward to continuing to work on increasing transparency in healthcare.

Education Funding

The legislature heard SJR 9 and HB 357 this week, two bills which are of significant importance. We have been working closely with education leaders and stakeholders to craft a proposal that will help address our state budget’s structural imbalance and reduce volatility in education funding. The proposed solution modifies the constitution to allow income tax revenue to serve children and individuals with disabilities while still protecting, stabilizing, and growing public education funding. Additionally, this proposal includes no tax increases. This proposal will only go into effect if Utah voters approve the amendment during the 2020 general election. Tonight I voted in favor of 1 Substitute HB 357. This bill is supported by Utah’s State Board of Education, Superintendents, the Charter School Association and many school districts. I look forward to discussing this with many of you—this is an exciting opportunity for our students, teachers, and as it provides stability and a guarantee for enrollment growth and inflation in education funding. Below is a chart comparing our current funding structure for education vs. HB 357.


Urban Development Amendments

This week, 2ndSubstitute HB 305 Urban Development Amendments, was passed out of the House of Representatives (63-2). Since the mid-1980’s, state policy has been to treat land use authority for Salt County differently than the land use authority of other counties. The reasoning for that difference wasthe population center and size of the county, as well as the factthat not that long ago the majority of the population lived in unincorporated county, and the county provided municipal services. Since the 1980’s the following cities have incorporated: West Valley, Taylorsville, Holladay, Millcreek, Cottonwood Heights and Herriman. If you add the number of people who live in those cities, that is 400,000+ residents that live in cities or towns that didn’t exist until relatively recently. Today 93% of Salt Lake County is incorporated. While the makeup of the county has evolved, the legal framework still exists that treats first class counties differently while the status quo has changed significantly in Salt Lake County.

This bill is the first of many in evaluating current statute surrounding first class county land use authority. This bill does the following:

Current law prohibits second to sixth class counties from approving urban development within a city or town’s expansion area (land that can be annexed) unless the county notifies the city or town and either (A) the city or town consents to the development or (B) within 90 days of notification, the city or town files a written objection and the county responds. This bill extends the same notice requirements to first class counties (Salt Lake County).

In reviewing the county council’s vote on the Olympia Hills development, having this bill in place would have certainly helped facilitate dialogue in the decision making process early on.

As we look forward to the future of our state and plan for population growth, it is important to recognize that the bulk of undeveloped land in Salt Lake County is in unincorporated area and will have impacts on incorporated cities and communities. HB 305 is a tool for our cities by requiring notification, dialogue and collaboration in the development process. I am grateful for the support of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, Herriman, Riverton and South Jordan on this legislation.

Penalties for Misconduct with Students

I presented HB 416to the House Law Enforcement Committee this week, it passed with unanimous consent and has the support of the State Board of Education. Currently, it is against the law for a teacher to engage in sexual relations with a student enrolled in their school, even if that student is not a minor (ex: 18 year-old seniors). This bill prohibits teachers from engaging in sexual relations with non-minor students enrolled in their LEA/district’s k-12 education program. Unfortunately, this is an issue that has come up recently, and is one that needed addressed to ensure the safety of our youth.


On Monday, Governor Herbert announced the creation of the coronavirus task force - made up of health care providers and state and community stakeholders - and the state’s plan to mitigate COVID-19 and minimize disruption in Utah. We are confident in the task force’s efforts and encourage everyone throughout the state to take the advised precautions outlined by the CDC and task force. To find current and accurate information on COVID-19 in Utah, follow @CoronavirusUtah on twitter and visit

Thank you for taking the time to stay engaged and informed on issues important to our state. As always, please feel free to reach out by emailing me at cpierucci@le.utah.govor by phone at 385-414-1488.

Candice B. Pierucci

State Representative for House District 52



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