Legislators Who Care – Legislative post by UEA Advanced Policy Ambassador Lori Buhr

Legislative report submitted by UEA Advanced Policy Ambassador Lori Buhr, multi-language learner specialist at Northlake Elementary School in Tooele School District

My motives for coming to UEA Educator Day on the Hill vary from year to year. I have asked myself, why should I bother? Nobody ‘up there’ cares about me, personally. Once again, I am pleased to say I was wrong.

In the early morning Educator Day on the Hill briefing, Rep. Robert Spendlove spoke about a bill he has opened. House Bill 32 enacts enhanced penalties for assault or threat of violence against an owner, employee, or contractor of a health facility; previously the code only covered ER staff. The proposed penalty could increase acts of violence and cyber-attacks from a class A misdemeanor to a possible third-degree felony.

At the request of UEA leadership, Rep. Spendlove is willing to mirror the language of the proposed HB32 and open a similar bill to cover educators as well. In explaining the bill for educators, Rep. Spendlove said, “What does this bill do? Bottom line is, we want to show you (educators) we care for you!”

His announcement evoked strong emotion. With tears, one educator stated, “Thank you. We are in the trenches right now!” She spoke of educators experiencing mental health issues, stress, and anxiety.

While the educator version of HB32 is not yet prepared, Rep. Spendlove expressed his determination to see it through.

It is encouraging to know there ARE those ‘up there’ on the Hill who truly care about the well-being of educators.