Legislative leaders skip over request for school safety audit

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19 2012 7:30 p.m. MST

Unlike the House, the Senate is planning to hold a second pre-session caucus next month to focus on policy issues. Wednesday, they spent the day behind closed doors discussing budget issues.

The Senate Republicans agreed with the governor's efforts to get the federal government to allow the state to expand its current health insurance exchange program to comply with the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

House and Senate GOP leaders had earlier sent a letter to Herbert saying they wanted the state to have no part in the health insurance exchange required under the new federal law.

But the Senate majority caucus did not take a position on a proposal to restore the sales tax on food, made by Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem.

Valentine said there is too much uncertainty about the economy, especially the looming threat posed by the so-called “fiscal cliff” the nation faces if Congress and President Barack Obama can't agree on spending cuts and tax increases.

The House speaker has already publicly opposed restoring the sales tax on food, suggesting the measure might not make it out of the Senate.

Niederhauser said based on the discussion of the issue Wednesday, he believed there would be enough votes in the Senate to pass Valentine's proposal.

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