Utah PolitiLinks: Bills would help pregnant and breastfeeding women, give death benefits to Utah National Guard members
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
The following article includes excerpts from Deseret News legislative coverage
The plan: $36 million for charter schools, among other things
Legislators aim to more equally distribute education funds next year with requests such as $100 million for a statewide one-to-one student technology program, $30 million for professional learning for teachers and $17.5 million for optional extended-day kindergarten.
"Though we take great pride in allocating our money toward districts equitably, unfortunately, that money does not always end up at the individual schools on an equitable basis," Steven Eliason, R-Sandy and House chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a Deseret News article. "We need to make sure children are being treated equally around the state."
Business leaders say workforce development, education funding top legislative priorities
The Salt Lake Chamber released its annual public policy guide to Gov. Gary Herbert, top lawmakers and civic leaders Tuesday, marking an educated workforce, low taxes and effective regulation as some of the more important issues for the 2016 session.
“We support innovative, accountable, targeted strategies,” Keith Buswell, vice president of corporate relations at Wadman Corp. and co-chairman of Prosperity 2020, said in a Deseret News article. “This will elevate the educational outcomes that will help us compete globally.”
Death benefits proposed for Utah National Guard members
House Government Operations Committee members favorably received HB98, a bill that would pay $100,000 to the family of a deceased National Guard member within 72 hours of death.
Bill sponsor Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said there aren't death benefits currently and families have to petition the Legislature to obtain financial assistance, according to a Deseret News article.
A bill to help pregnant and breastfeeding women
Last year the Utah Legislature made it illegal to discriminate against mothers in the workplace, but this year Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, is taking it a step further, according to a Deseret News article.
"His bill, SB59, calls for employers of 15 or more people to provide "reasonable accommodations" for workers related to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related conditions unless it creates an undue hardship on the business," the article states.
Watchdog group slams senator's proposal to pay for water projects
"A group critical of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline is criticizing a measure by Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams, R-Layton, that proposes to transfer $35.8 million from the transportation fund and use it to pay for water infrastructure projects," writes Amy Joi O'Donoghue in an article for the Deseret News.
Sach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council, said the bill funds projects that have been funded, are duplicative or can be paid through other resources and is built on a "wish list."
Utah Democrats want to weigh in on court battle over state election law
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon said "enough is enough" — while he and his party have stayed out of how the GOP picks its candidates, they want to make sure the Republican Party is not allowed to rewrite state election laws, according to a Deseret News article.
“The Utah Republican Party may be the state’s majority party, but that doesn’t mean election laws don’t apply to them," Corroon said in the article.
On a lighter note, for several hours Tuesday, undergraduate students from the University of Utah and Utah State University displayed their research.
Research covered a spectrum of topics including sexual assault, climate change, education and extracurricular activities.
"'They say they don't have to have a permit to have free speech, they shouldn't have to have a permit to carry a weapon,' said State Sen. Dave Hinkins, R-Orangeville, who is proposing a bill where all citizens of Utah would be able to carry a concealed weapon without any training whatsoever.
"That might be a more persuasive argument if it weren’t so simple to obtain a permit already."
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