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Wilson Shelves “Adult Designee” Benefits Proposal

The Salt Lake County Council has once again shelved a proposal to give health benefits to "adult designees" of county employees, including gay and lesbian partners.

Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson had tried in 2005 to extend health benefits to domestic partners of county employees, but the proposal failed on a party line vote. She has tried to float a similar proposal since then, but council members have stalled on voting for it.

Wilson pulled her current proposal, modeled after Salt Lake City's "adult designee" partner benefits, from Tuesday's council agenda. She promised it would come back up again "in a couple weeks."

Instead of focusing solely on health benefits for domestic partners as in the 2005 bill, Wilson's new proposal broadens the insurance program to "adult designees" such as gay and lesbian partners, siblings, long-term roommates and parents of county employees.

In 2006, Salt Lake City began offering health insurance benefits to "adult designees" of city workers who live in the same household but are not married to the employee.

The city's program offers health benefits to "adult designees" of city employees as long as they are over age 18, have lived in the city worker's household for a year and is either financially dependent upon the city worker or has financial interdependence with that person. An "adult designee" could be a sister or brother, a parent, a romantic partner or friend. The ordinance also applies to the designee's children.

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