Legislative Update: April 2016
Legislative Business During the Interim
Though the 2016 Legislative Session has ended, the work of our representatives continues. Throughout the year, various interim committee meetings are held and one day is set aside most months – generally the third Wednesday – specifically for these meetings. A calendar of committee meetings can be found here.
Unlike during the general session, when the House and Senate each have standing committees comprised of only their own members, interim committees are made up of both representatives and senators. They study key issues facing the state and make recommendations on legislation for the upcoming session.
This year, the Utah Legislature will have its first interim day Wednesday, May 18. Committee meetings are open to the public. These can also be streamed live or listened to at a later date, here. A list of agenda items that are scheduled to be studied during the interim can be found here.
Legislative leadership and the governor have also agreed to a special session on that day as well, for lawmakers to consider action on the governor’s veto of funding for a number of education initiatives.
May Special Session
A special session will be convened on May 18 in order to address education funding items vetoed by the governor following the 2016 General Session. The special session will look at restoring funding for the following initiatives:
- $1.5 million ongoing Education Funding, plus intent for an additional $500,000 TANF for UPSTART, an early education initiative targeted toward individualized reading, mathematics and science curriculum.
- $275,000 one-time Education Funding for ProStart, a culinary arts program that provides career training andcertifications for high school students.
- $500,000 ongoing Education Funding for Elementary Reading Assessment Tools, a statewide assessment tool used to enhance the evaluation of early education programs.
- $3 million one-time Education Funding for K3 Early Intervention, a program which addresses early reading through the use of interactive reading software.
- $500,000 one-time Education Funding for IT Academy, a program that provides opportunities for high school students to obtain basic to advanced certifications in software and network administration, which helps them gain employment after high school.
A concurrent resolution will also be considered during the special session opposing the unilateral use of the Antiquities Act and designation of a national monument in Utah by the Obama Administration.
The special session will be called in conjunction with the regularly scheduled interim meetings. Additional information about the vetoed bills can be found here.
Utah Vietnam Veterans Day
The Utah Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day took place at the State Capitol on March 29. Utah is home to approximately 46,000 Vietnam War Veterans, according to the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.
Vietnam veterans and their spouses were honored with a commemorative pin, a documentary film, “Long Journey Home” and a Utah 50th Anniversary Commemoration book at the ceremony. New Utah highways signs to honor Vietnam veterans and Purple Heart recipients were also unveiled.
Thank you veterans for your service, dedication and sacrifice to this great nation. See additional photos of the event here.
One hundred forty-five people from more than 40 countries became U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Utah State Capitol on March 28. The event, hosted by Rep. Norm Thurston, was the second to be held at the Capitol in recent memory.
The Oath of Allegiance was administered by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services District Director Angela K. Barrows. Read more about this event and see additional photos here.
Utah 4-H Mock Legislature
Utah State University Extension Utah 4-H youth gathered at the Utah State Capitol to hold a mock legislature. These future leaders had the opportunity to experience the role of legislators and learn first-hand about the lawmaking process.
During the mock legislative session, 4-H members presented and debated bills from the 2016 legislative session on the House floor. The students also held committee meetings where they presented their sponsored legislation. Representative Paul Ray and members of the Office of Legislative Research sponsored the event and observed the proceedings. See additional pictures here.