For the Record: How has the Legislature performed this year?
Each week, The Park Record asks For the Record, encouraging residents and visitors to weigh in on a topic of interest. This week, the Utah Legislature is nearing the end of the 2019 session. We wanted to understand the public’s assessment of how lawmakers have performed.
Before we get to the reactions, here is a quick recap of bills The Park Record has covered this session:
H.B. 80, a bill that would reduce restrictions on the proximity of establishments serving alcohol to parks, schools and churches. The bill never made it to committee for approval.
H.B. 118 would permit teachers in the state to use a student’s score on the statewide exams to raise a student’s academic grade or determine a student’s competency in a subject matter. This bill passed.
S.B. 96 was the replacement bill for Proposition 3 that would have expanded Medicaid in Utah. The bill, which was signed into law, still endorses Medicaid expansion but does not cover as many people as the voter-approved measure.
H.B. 198 would remove the requirement for the Utah State Board of Education to annually assign schools a letter grade to demonstrate how they are performing. The bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.
S.B. 132 would permit full-strength beer to be sold in Utah’s grocery and convenience stores. It passed the Senate but died in committee in the House.
H.B. 151 would allow drivers to go through an intersection after coming to a complete stop for at least 90 seconds if there are no other vehicles approaching. It passed the House but died in a Senate committee.
H.B. 320 would block a municipal government from prohibiting plastic bags, a piece of legislation that could ultimately overturn Park City’s ban. The bill is awaiting a final vote in the House as of Friday morning before it can advance to the Senate.
H.B. 120 would provide funding for schools to hire safety professionals, create a threat assessment team and improve security protocols. The bill passed the House and is currently on the Senate floor after several revisions to the bill were made.
Many of the people The Park Record interviewed spoke about actions that lawmakers took to amend voter-approved measures from the 2018 election, specifically Proposition 2, which legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and Proposition 3. While the bill to amend Prop 2 technically did not happen during the session itself, instead happening during a special session in December, it was still a sore spot for some.
Comment with your own answer below, or consider sending a letter to the editor.
Rachelle McEwen, Silver Springs
“The (propositions) that were passed, I thought were really good, but the Legislature went and re-did them and passed them in a different way. The one that comes to the top of my mind is the medical marijuana bill and changed it to mean something completely different.”
Kristen Carey, Trailside
“They covered a lot of topics. There wasn’t anything specific (to mention), but it seems pretty standard for Utah what they were upholding, and I’m not surprised. A pretty typical legislative year.”
Janessa Colton, Salt Lake City
“If you’re a member of the LDS Church, probably an A. If you’re not a member, then a C-. The medical marijuana bill was pretty ridiculous, and the beer increase not being passed as well.”
Jerry Otto, Summit Park
“Well, the fact that they’re changing (propositions) after the fact isn’t so great, especially with Medicaid (expansion). I think they’re doing a terrible job. Any time we get a little bit of progress, we go backwards.”
Quotations have been edited for clarity and length.
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