Session Opening (reported by Mike Kelley): In his opening comments to the House of Representatives, Speaker Brad Wilson began by addressing the recent referendum to repeal tax reform legislation. “Legislation by referendum, while part of the political process, can be divisive and at many times be short of facts. It has proven ruinous for many states that have turned down that path and turned away from the basic principles of a democratic republic,” he said. “We must find new ways of both listening and explaining to our constituents the issues that we face and the decisions we make to address them.”
The Speaker made no direct mention of public education in his formal remarks, however, a video included as part of his presentation said, “education and education funding will continue to be a top priority for lawmakers. We’ve substantially increased education funding over the past several years and this year will be no different.”
Senate President Stuart Adams described Utah as having “the best economy in the nation.” His only direct reference to public education was to praise specific senators who are helping Utah to “lead the nation in outcomes for education dollars spent.” He later noted that the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration account “currently has $2.7 billion in it and this year will deliver almost $100 million to help with additional funding for our schools.”
House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Opening day is typically for bills previously recommended by interim committees. Just one UEA-tracked bill was heard today:
- HB16: School Meals Program Amendments amends provisions to broaden the use of school “lunch” revenues to school “meals” allowing funds to be used for school breakfast and other items. The bill passed 59-15, with some of the more conservative House members voting against the change. It now goes to the Senate.
See the 2020 UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet for the current bills tracked by UEA.