Utah Legislature adjourns after closing budget gap, passing ethics reforms
Legislators fill budget gap, hike tobacco tax
But legislators also took every federal dime they could find, including putting up around $1 million they had to wring from already stressed state budgets to match a $13 million federal grant to extend Internet/communication services to rural Utah.
Democrats got pretty sick of "federal bashing." But when rumors arose (later dismissed) in mid-session that President Barack Obama was considering creating new national monuments in Utah, both parties condemned that idea.
Lawmakers were good to gun owners, as they often are.
Legislators passed a law that says the federal government can't control firearms and ammunition made entirely in Utah, which could well land the state in federal court.
And lawmakers also allowed concealed weapons permit holders to "flash" their handguns or warn someone verbally that they have a gun if they feel threatened by a possible attacker.
Legislative sessions should also be judged on what lawmakers considered, but didn't do.
There was a final-day fight Thursday over how much money charter schools (which are public schools) should be able to take from the district schools in their areas.
In the end, changes were not made, and as with many issues, that fight will continue.
Gay and lesbian Utahns had high hopes that after leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported a Salt Lake City ordinance outlawing discrimination by sexual preference in employment and housing, the Legislature may do likewise statewide.
Then conservatives threatened to pass a measure outlawing such local ordinances.
In the end, nothing was done on the issue.
"That was a significant victory for us," said Litvack — stopping the repeal of local gay anti-discrimination ordinances.
Also to the liking of Democrats, legislators didn't adopt a constitutional amendment outlawing affirmative action, even though the measure was clearly on the fast track for passage before leaders stopped it dead after a public outcry.
Finally, lawmakers didn't raise a general tax or reinstate the sales tax on food, as some wanted.
All of the hundreds of bills passed by the Legislature, along with the votes on those bills and recorded debates, can be found at le.state.ut.gov.
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