Gov. Herbert signs Medicaid expansion bill into law, vetoes two bills

Governor Gary Herbert signs House Bill 472, which grants Medicaid expansion to some in Utah. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s governor signed a bill into law that expands Medicaid coverage for approximately 70,000 more of the state’s poor.

In a Capitol Hill ceremony, the governor praised House Bill 472, which provides coverage up to 100 percent of the poverty level — but also has a work requirement. Speaking to reporters, the governor said the Trump administration seemed willing to grant a waiver with a 90/10 split for state and federal funds.

Advocates for the poor said the bill will help those who desperately need it.

“Every day we see people come into our food pantry, come into our thrift store and they’re choosing between paying for food, paying for rent, and paying for their mental health medication or the arm they hurt at work looked at by a doctor,” said Bill Tibbitts of the Crossroads Urban Center. “Every day we see people who are having to choose between paying for healthcare or paying for other necessities. For us, if this helps tens of thousands of people be able to pay for the healthcare they need, it’s important.”

The bill passed ahead of a ballot initiative that offers full Medicaid expansion in Utah. The initiative is still gathering signatures to make it on the ballot.

The governor vetoed a pair of bills on Tuesday. One would direct the Utah Attorney General’s Office to provide a legal opinion for the legislature on request.

Read the governor’s letter here:

The other would allow the Utah State Legislature to insert itself in lawsuits against the state. The governor has argued that oversteps his authority.

Read the letter here:

The governor allowed a bill on divorce to pass into law without his signature. Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, sponsored the bill that shortens the length of divorce in the courts from 90 days to 30. It also allows some couples to skip out on a mandatory divorce educations class.

Here’s the bills Gov. Herbert signed into law:

  • HB0230 Related to Basic School Programs Review, Fawson, J.

  • HB0241S02 Post-employment Restrictions Amendments, Schultz, M.

  • HB0292S01 Utah Athletic Commission Amendments, Schultz, M.

  • HB0417S01 Federal Grants Management Amendments, Gibson, F.

  • HB0472 Medicaid Expansion Revisions, Spendlove, R.

  • SB0072 Business Income Tax Modifications, Harper, W.

  • SB0233S01 Sales and Use Tax Amendments, Stephenson, H.

  • SCR012 Concurrent Resolution on Reducing Gang Activity, Mayne, K.