Final Legislative Wrapup (my picks)

  • Several bills dealing with illegal immigration didn’t make it through. HB105 would’ve given law enforcement the option to allow their officers to train as immigration enforcement officers. Sundry bills also would have denied illegal immigrants special benefits and certain public services which they shouldn’t be entitled to in the first place (ie legal immigrants don’t get them, illegals certainly shouldn’t).
    • The positive side – significant progress has been made – more bills dealing with the issue, more legislator support, and they made it much further in the process than in the past (despite heavy lobbying by business who want the subsidized labor on your tax dollar).
  • Education – School vouchers passed. This will, finally, give parents significantly greater control over their children’s eduction and help cut the ultra liberal NEA-linked teacher union’s (UEA) monopoly on education. Public ed received a huge boost in funding ($500 Million) and teachers were given bonuses and sweat deals for them to buy a home ($15k towards the home). Nevertheless, count on the UEA griping about not enough money, anyway(it’s their perpetual line). Unfortunately, I think there was a bill to allow for ‘merit pay’ based on a teacher’s performance which didn’t make it (the UEA was opposed – it’s better that inept teachers get the same pay as those who excel).
    • All Day Kindergarten (read taxpayer subsidized daycare) passed. The governor really wanted this one and got it. So it appears taxpayers will be providing daycare to anyone who wants it, regardless of income level. The teacher’s union, as I recall, were also big supporters of this. Ironic – they opposed school vouchers because the rich might benefit (although not by much – voucher value was based on income level) but all day kindergarten is ok (even though it doesn’t have a tiered value system like the vouchers).
  • Identity Theft – the legislature decided it was fine for ID thieves and fugitive pedophiles to feel safe working here (see ID Thieves and Fugitives: Utah Welcomes You!). I think there were three bills which would’ve had the State and/or businesses verify their prospective employees SSN (you know, make sure it didn’t belong to you or your children). Manufacturers and restaurateurs lobbied hard against the bills (evidently, they like their fugitive/id thief employees working off your kid’s back). In the past, I’ve heard Zions Bank and Wells Fargo, among others, have also lobbied against these types of bills, but since they are big spenders they get to do so behind closed doors to avoid the public exposure.
    • Positive side: there were more of these bills with greater support and making it further in the process
    • Tip: Arctic Circle restaurants supposedly have an excellent training program for spotting fake id’s used for employment. Consider them next time you feel hungry.
  • Second Amendment – The UofU failed to get it’s gun ban but dorm residents can ask not to room with a concealed permit holder (I can’t wait until a quick witted young male states he has a phobia of everyone but female cheerleaders and, therefore, requests to room with a cheerleader or a single room at not additional cost based on the standard established by SB251).
    • BCI was allowed to retain funding from concealed carry permit fees rather than seeing them sucked into the general fund. High demand for the permits had strained their budget into the red. The trend won’t change after the Trolley Square shooting – an instructor I talked to noted they don’t have time to do very much training and isn’t well known but had four calls in less than a week after the shooting. Local gun stores have also stated they’ve seen a marked jump in business (particularly handguns).
    • A bill that would’ve prevented the government from confiscating law-abiding citizens’ guns in an emergency (ala NOLA) and a bill allowing you to leave a firearm (in your vehicle) in an employer’s parking lot made it to the House floor (passed the senate) but time ran out before they could be debated. The latter was due to AOL firing two employees who had the nerve to go hunting after work (they didn’t realize AOL’s no gun policy extended to the parking lot).
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