Hi there. Senator Brian Zehnder. Did you know that we meet every month for a couple days between January of last year and January of next year to discuss topics that are important to you and to the rest of our state? That's called interim session. So let me just tell you briefly what we covered on the interim session last month. Many of you have heard about Operation Rio Grande, which is currently the one year anniversary. And about 5,000 people that were struggling or having difficulties in the Rio Grande area have now gone through a three phase process, including safety, treatment for mental illness, and getting back into the workforce. So there's still more to do with Operation Rio Grande, but this is the one year anniversary. We talked about that a little bit in the interim session. It's clear that more work does need to be done.
Second thing we talked about was the school accountability updates. And many of you may not know, but beginning this coming year we will have a benchmark approach rather than a comparative approach regarding school progress for our students. Which means a letter grade won't necessarily be forthcoming, but their progress will be available for review and that will be on the website. So more information on that. Refugee services. Did you know that we have 65,000 refugees living in Utah? And one of the things that I'm really proud of is that in Utah we also provide case management and integration services for people during their first two years as a refugee here in Utah.
One of the more exciting things, of course I'm on the Health and Human Services Task Force, is what are we going to do if the initiative passes for medical marijuana in November? That is clearly a hot button topic. We had seven different agencies come and presented to our task force about some of things that we would need to change if the initiative passes. There is a lot of things that need to be done. Part of the problem is that medical marijuana, or marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, pharmacies can't be used for distribution, and there are other issues that we just have to work through if the initiative passes. So more to come on that, but we've been working hard on that issue even though it hasn't passed yet.