With a 400 vote win over Democrat Meaghan Miller, Republican Representative Tim Quinn will retain his seat in the Utah House of representatives.
Republican Tim Quinn represents State House district 54 which covers Summit and Wasatch County. Quinn spoke with KPCW the day after the election. He said the legislature will be busy making adjustments to the three propositions that Utah citizens passed.
“Anytime there’s a ballot proposition there’s going to be consequences, just like sometimes when we pass legislation there’s unintended consequences." Quinn continued, "There’ll be things that we’ll have to go in and make adjustments to to make sure that everything is constitutional that everything reconciles with other statutes on the book. For example, Proposition 2 made void 12 Medicaid statutes that we already had on the books. If there were not going to be a compromise, we would have had to go in and make changes just to restore those 12 statutes of Medicaid that the proposition would have made void. I’m sure an unintended consequence but yet it was a reality. We’ll look at each of these propositions and see if there needs to be some tinkering done to make sure that they can be executed efficiently but the people have spoken. So, I’m sure that the legislative body will respect that decision and move forward.”
Proposition 2, which will legalize medical marijuana passed winning 53% of the vote. Utah legislators struck down bills that would legalize medical marijuana in 2015, and 2016. This year they passed a limited bill that would allow terminally ill patients to try marijuana. Quinn says the passing of Proposition 2 was not necessary with the compromise medical marijuana legislation set to come in a special legislative session at the end of this year.
“The vote was almost irrelevant." Quinn explained, "I think it does send a message, but we’ve already drafted both sides of the issue. We will be called into special session either mid-November or early December whatever the governor decides. We will debate and possibly make a few changes on the floor but probably not and pass a compromise piece of legislation that will truly give patients the opportunity to use. Where they and their physician in consultation with a pharmacist, they believe medical cannabis can be helpful to them. They will be able to have access to that while the proposition the way it was worded would have allowed for recreational marijuana and people are going to argue that all day long. Even those people who wrote the proposition at the end of the day agreed, you’re right it was not well written. There’s an argument to be made that anybody who was caught with marijuana even if they did not have it for medical reasons could reverse engineer it and say yeah but all I had to do was go to my doctor and I could have received it and they would not have been prosecuted. It was a recreational bill. It tightened up some of those loose ends and it will give what I believe both sides wanted and that is truly a medical marijuana piece of legislation.”
KPCW asked Representative Quinn if the compromise legislation would take immediate effect.
“I can’t answer the question because some revisions just this past week." Quinn said, "I haven’t seen that legislation yet, that revised piece, to know if it takes effect immediately. Usually our legislation is months out for some reason though I believe that this one will take effect fairly quickly.”
With Propositions 2, 3 and 4 all passing. We asked Quinn if there’s a lesson the state legislature could take from the citizen sponsored initiatives.
“I don’t’ know that there’s a lesson to be learned." Quinn continued, "For example, Medicaid expansion is something that yes, the people have spoken but there’s a dollar side to this that we will have to make adjustments for to make sure that we have the budget to cover this. We look at other states that have done this Kentucky’s a great example, Nevada’s a great example. Kentucky thought that they would increase the enrollment in the Medicaid expansion. They were an early expander to ACA. They thought they would have 188,000 new enrollees they wound up with 433,000 new enrollees. They have a $300 million deficit yearly because of the Medicaid expansion. There is a budget side to this we will have to figure out how we’re going to pay for it.”