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Utah Senate halts debate after Sen. Thatcher appears to suffer medical issue

Posted at 12:36 PM, Jan 19, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Debate on the Utah Senate floor was halted Thursday after a member suffered what appeared to be a medical issue while the chamber was discussing controversial bills affecting the state's transgender youth.

Following a vote to advance Senate Bill 16, which would ban gender affirming surgeries on anyone under 18, several people were seen attending to Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley City) on the chamber floor.

Thatcher, who is still in recovery after suffering several strokes, defied doctor's orders to attend the legislative session, and even gave an emotional speech against the bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Kennedy.

“After an emotional debate, I took a few minutes to take some deep breaths and get my heart rate down," Thatcher told FOX 13 News. "At no point did I experience symptoms, at no point was I having any type of medical issue. Someone saw me taking breaths and freaked out and everybody freaked out.”

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Sen. Daniel Thatcher sits after apparently suffering a medical episode on the Utah Senate floor

In a series of Twitter posts back in November, Thatcher shared the news following a stroke and his recovery.

After several minutes, Thatcher left the Senate floor, but was seen sitting on the side before going home for the day. The Senate continued to debate, and then also pass, two other bills related to transgender youth that all advanced Wednesday in a House committee.

The bills have one more vote to go in the Senate, where if they pass again, they get returned to the House for consideration.