It was one for the books.
Children from J.A. Taylor Elementary School, Centerville, met with legislators Monday to lobby for better libraries."Our library isn't large enough. We need more books and we need more stuff," said Billy McNichols in his own "rap" version.
Kendra Thompson said the school had conducted a survey that found approximately 14 percent of Utah's schools had inadequate libraries. "We need legislative support," she said. Her own school has inadequate housing for the media center, no place to put equipment and insufficient shelf space for books.
Other speakers also bemoaned the state of Utah's public school media centers. Members of the House Education Committee listened, then passed out favorably HJR21, a resolution that would require a closer look at the situation.
Although the measure had good support, some legislators looked beyond the concept to the possible price tag of updating school libraries.
"Where is the money coming from?" asked Rep. Michael G. Waddoups, R-Salt Lake. "Are we sending a conflicting message - that we want more and are willing to pay less?"
(BU) PUT AWAY THE GOLDFISH. The Utah House has given its approval to a bill that calls for criminal penalties against those who engage in the time-honored tradition of "hazing" - the bizarre - and usually embarrassing - rites of initiation into fraternities, sororities and a litany of other social organizations.
HB219, sponsored by Rep. Grant Protzman, D-North Ogden, makes most categories of hazing a class B misdemeanor. If the hazing involves the operation of a motor vehicle, the offense is a class A misdemeanor. If the hazing results in serious injury, it becomes a third-degree felony. And if a dangerous weapon is used, it becomes a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The bill defines hazing as anything that endangers mental or physical health, willfully destroys public or private property, involves brutality to animals, involves brutality of a physical nature or involves the forced consumption of food, alcohol or drugs. Hazing also includes anything that causes mental stress or embarrassment.
The bill has the support of national fraternities and sororities, as well as education organizations and law enforcement, who see it as a tool to battle youth gangs.