Utah Legislature: Lawmakers helped some, hurt others

Published: Friday, March 11 2011 1:05 a.m. MST

The Legislature addressed many pressing issues during the 2011 General Session, including a high structural deficit, immigration, a fixation on federalism, and feral cats. A record number of bills were filed — more than 700 — and more than 500 bills passed.

The following is a synopsis of those helped or hurt by the 2011 Legislature. 

HELPED: Businesses that employ migrant workers by creating a migrant worker pilot program in partnership with the Mexican state Nuevo Leon.

HURT: College students by cutting higher education funding by at least 2 percent—likely to be made up in tuition increases. 

HELPED: Dixie State College by supporting it's plan to become a university.

HURT: Teacher union presidents by preventing districts from paying them when they are on leave from the classroom.

HELPED: Those who feel the United States is not a true democracy by requiring teachers to teach their students it's really a "constitutional compound republic."

HURT: Schools by eliminating the 1,000-ft. gun-free zone around the perimeter of many schools.

HELPED: Stray animals by requiring animal shelters to hold them for five days instead of three before being euthanized, and by allowing some cats to roam free in the community after being spayed or neutered.

HURT: Farmers and ranchers by who wanted to legally shoot feral animals by letting the infamous "feral cat bill" die in the Senate.

HELPED: Investors in the Utah Educational Savings Plan by exempting the plan from the state’s open-records and open-meetings laws to keep its investment strategies hidden from competitors.

HURT: Charter schools by failing to pass legislation requiring school districts to give them a greater percentage of property tax revenue.

HELPED: School districts by allowing them to earn money through advertisements on the sides of school buses.

HURT: Veteran teachers by preventing schools from considering seniority when conducting lay-offs.

HELPED: Aspiring veterinarians by approving a joint school of veterinary medicine at Utah State University with Washington State University.

HURT: Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s four-day workweek by requiring state entities to reopen on Fridays.

HELPED: Abortion opponents by putting new inspection requirements on doctors and clinics that perform elective abortions.

HURT: Abortion clinics by requiring them to go through an annual licensing procedure.

HELPED: Efforts to move the state prison from the Point of the Mountain by creating a prison relocation authority to study proposals.  

HURT: Politically active Utahns by making the process of getting a referendum or initiative on the election ballot more difficult.

HELPED: Gold and silver coin enthusiasts by recognizing the coins as legal tender.

HURT: Spice and "bath salt" sales by banning those substances, as well as their derivatives.

HURT: Businesses with more than 15 employees by requiring them to electronically verify the legal status of their workers.

HELPED: Devotees of the John M. Browning-designed 1911 pistol by dubbing it the official state firearm.

HURT: Out-of-state gun owners trying to get concealed weapons permits in Utah by requiring them to first obtain a permit from their home state.

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