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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert calls special session of Legislature to deal with federal funding

Published: Thursday, Nov. 11 2010 11:10 a.m. MST

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

Michael Brandy, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers will meet in special session next Wednesday to accept $101 million in federal stimulus funds for schools.

Gov. Gary Herbert issued the call for the special session Thursday, limiting the agenda to the federal funding issue as well as Senate approval of several appointments.

House Republicans wanted to reject the funds because they believe Congress usurped their constitutional authority to make budget decisions for the state.

But the Attorney General's office issued an opinion in September stating the chances of a court finding the funding a violation of the 10th Amendment is "about as close to zero as one can get."

Legislative leaders sent a letter to Utah school districts this fall warning that there could be a $50 million shortfall in education funding so they shouldn't count on being able to spend all of the additional stimulus money.

Senate President Michael Waddoups said lawmakers will only be asked to accept the federal funding during the special session. He said decisions about how the money should be allocated won't be made until the 2011 Legislature.

— Lisa Riley Roche

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