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Bill to give financial boost to Leonardo museum passes committee

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 28 2012 10:28 a.m. MST

Architect Philip Beesley uses his hand to trigger electronic eyes that are in his Hylozoicveil Sculpture Instillation that make it move and light up during a preview of The Leonardo museum Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011 in Salt Lake City.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY  — A legislative measure that would funnel $1 million to help The Leonardo museum advanced out of committee Monday, but it will now compete with other funding priorities on Utah's Capitol Hill.

HB424, sponsored by Rep. Todd Kiser, R-Sandy, would take a general fund appropriation of $1 million and divert it to the state Department of Community and Culture, which would then funnel it to The Leonardo, a science, technology and art museum located south of the Salt Lake Main Library.

The museum, which opened in October, was financed with a $10.2 million bond, about $750,000 in redevelopment money, and hundreds of thousands of dollars from both Salt Lake County and the state. The contractor that renovated the former library into The Leonardo has sued Salt Lake City for allegedly failing to pay $1 million in completed work.

Kiser said he hasn't taken on many issues to personally promote during his tenure in the Legislature and stressed that he believes helping The Leonardo is a worthy cause.

"In the 10 years I have been up here I don't think I have championed too many things," he said, other than transportation and road issues.

"This is one I believe in. I think it is good, I think it is appropriate. ... The Leonardo is one of those museums that will help our children be educated as we bring them through the museum."

He said he brought his own grandchildren to the science and technology-themed museum and they were "totally captivated" by the hands-on learning experiences.

Kiser, too, added that he knows the bill will compete with other funding needs but asked that it get a fair shake at consideration like other bills with fiscal notes.

The measure passed unanimously.

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16

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