The odds against getting the matter of a Utah lottery on the ballot went down a notch Tuesday when the House Public Education Committee failed to muster the necessary two-thirds vote to bring it off the table.
The vote was 8-5. One more vote in favor and one less against would have brought the measure up for a reconsideration. Last week, the committee voted 8-7 to table the measure sponsored by Rep. Arlo D. James, D-Kearns.Rep. Janet Rose, D-Salt Lake, on Tuesday attempted to revive the bill. During the preliminary debate in the committee, there was some sentiment for putting it before the whole House, although it did not appear to have the necessary votes in the committee itself to indicate it could succeed before the entire body.
James believes a lottery is a valid way to help fund educators. Opponents believe the potential for social ills related to gambling offset any benefit.
- Rep. Grant D. Protzman, D-North Ogden, would like to add a fourth "R" to the standard education program - reasoning. He offered a resolution Tuesday that would promote critical thinking as an integral part of Utah's school curriculum.
The resolution passed out of the House Education Committee favorably. The sponsor said education should be more than memorizing. "Children need to be able to think," he said. While the state's curriculum contains some samples of problem-solving and other critical thinking skills, there are not enough.
Rep. Joseph Hull, D-Hooper, said he favors the resolution but stressed that additions to the curriculum should carry the funding to make them possible. Teachers in Utah have such large classes they have little time to spend on items beyond curriculum basics, he said.
Doug Bates, staff legislative aide for the State Office of Education, said legislators should be aware that the office takes resolutions very seriously, even though they lack the weight of statute. The measure supports a direction the State Board of Education already is trying to move, he said.