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Legislative Updates - 3 March 2014
First, here are some updates on bills mentioned in past GrassRoots updates:
HB38Sub2, “Resource Stewardship Amendments,” would create a new position of state coordinator of resource stewardship to be filled by appointment by the executive director of the Department of Administrative Services. This coordinator is to work to implement and report on “best practices and stewardship efforts.” In the past week, HB38Sub2 was amended on the House floor to specify that the “stewardship efforts” are specifically “to improve air quality.” Later HB38Sub2 was amended in the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee to specify that “Each agency will retain absolute discretion whether or not to incorporate any of the practices or measures suggested by the coordinator.”
HB38Sub2 passed the House 61-11 on Feb 24th and the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee 6-0 on February 28th, and awaits consideration by the full Senate.
There is already a Division of Air Quality within Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality, seemingly already established with the purpose of protecting air quality (see www.airquality.utah.gov ). Why the need for this new position in the Department of Administrative Services? GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on HB38Sub2.
HB77, “Tax Credit for Home Schooling Parent”, would provide a nonrefundable tax credit (up to $500) for a home-schooling parent.
HB77 failed the House 32-37 on February 27th, and is probably dead for this year.
GrassRoots still favors a “yes” vote on HB77.
HB223, “School Board Election Provisions” and HB228Substitute, “Utah State Board of Education Elections and Reporting Amendments” would repeal the involvement of the governor and the nominating and recruiting committees in the selection process for the State Board of Education. HB223 would provide for nonpartisan election of Board members, while HB228 would provide for partisan election of State Board members.
HB223 passed the House Education Committee 9-3 on Feb 24th, and awaits consideration by the full House.
HB228 failed the House Education Committee 6-7 on Feb 24th, but is back on the House Education Committee’s agenda for its meeting on March 3rd at 4pm.
Either HB223 or HB228Substitute, as currently drafted, would make a great improvement in the process for electing the State Board of Education.
SB39Substitute, “Home School Amendments,” would ease various regulations on home-schooling parents (see our update of February 17th for additional details).
SB39Substitute passed the Senate 2nd reading 20-5, and is now on the Senate 3rd reading calendar.
GrassRoots still favors a “yes” vote on SB39.
SB43, “Intergenerational Poverty Interventions in Public Schools,” would create the Intergenerational Poverty Interventions Grant Program, and appropriate $5 million to the State Board of Education to fund it (see our update of February 17th for additional details).
SB43 passed Senate 25-1on February 25th, and has been assigned to the House Education Committee. SB43 now has a House sponsor, Representative Gibson.
GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SB43.
SB46Sub2, “Administrative Subpoena Requirement Modifications,” would require a law enforcement agency to receive a court order to collect electronic communication records involving specified crimes, while repealing language that “the prosecutor may issue an administrative subpoena” to an electronic communications system or service provider.
SB46Sub2 passed Senate 25-0 on February 28th, and is now in the House Rules Committee. SB46Sub2 now has a House sponsor, Representative McIff.
GrassRoots still favors a “yes” vote on SB46Sub2.
SB57, “Autism Services Amendments,” would require a health benefit plan to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder.
SB57 passed the Senate 18-7 on February 28th, and is now in the House Rules Committee. SB57 now has a House sponsor, Representative Dee.
GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SB57.
SJR3, “Joint Resolution Regarding Attorney General,” proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to change the office of Attorney General from an elected office to an appointed office, and to provide that the Governor would appoint the Attorney General for a 6-year term from a list of nominees provided by a nominating commission.
SJR3 passed the Senate 2nd reading 16-13, and is now on the Senate 3rd reading calendar. (As a proposed amendment to Utah’s Constitution, SJR3 would need a two-thirds majority to pass the Senate’s third reading.)
GrassRoots still favors a “no” vote on SJR3.
Here are some more bills that have caught our attention:
HB131Sub2, “Public Education Modernization Act” sponsored by Representative Gibson, would:
HB131 passed the House Education Committee 13-1 on February 26th, and awaits consideration by the full House.
HB131 would transfer more power to the (distant) State Board of Education (the holder of substantial purse strings), while removing initiative from local communities, parents, and taxpayers. If the Legislature has this kind of money to throw around, a $200 million tax cut would be much better. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB131.
HB236, “State School Board Nomination Revisions” sponsored by Representative Powell, would:
HB236 passed the House Education Committee 13-0 on February 24th, and awaits consideration by the full House.
Prohibiting paid lobbyists from serving as a member of the nominating and recruiting committees may or may not be a good idea. But why the favoritism shown toward paid government officers and paid representatives of political parties that lobby a public official?
And why the favoritism that would be required to be shown to the incumbent member of the State Board of Education? This appears to be inappropriate favoritism. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on HB236.
SB131Substitute, “Student Leadership Grant” sponsored by Senator Osmond and Representative Briscoe, would:
SB131Substitute passed the Senate 2nd reading 22-3 on February 28th, and is on the Senate’s 3rd reading calendar.
SB131Substitute would fund and extend the Student Leadership Skills Development Pilot Program, another program administered by the (distant) State Board of Education. Instead, returning power to the people by cutting taxes by $500,000 would be better. GrassRoots favors a “no” vote on SB131Substitute.
If you have any questions about GrassRoots’ position on these bills, or related matters, please contact either of us or any other member of the Board of Utah GrassRoots.
PS Do you want to contact a legislator? Go to le.state.gov and click on “Legislators”.
Do you want to read and follow legislation yourself? Go to le.state.gov and click on “2014 General Session Page” then click on “Numbered Bills”.
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