A bill changing the way the nine members of the state Board of Education are elected was approved by the House Thursday. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Brigham City, predicts it will also be approved in the Senate before the session ends next Wednesday.

HB296 attempts to do away with costly and time-consuming campaigns for the board by creating local committees responsible for submitting the names of three nominees to the governor. Voters then say yes or no to the governor's choice in a general election.If voters approve, the winner of the uncontested election serves a four-year term. If they don't like the pick, the governor has to name one of the two remaining nominees to serve two years until the next election. Either way, the nominating process begins again at the end of a member's term.

Bishop told representatives that the bill would force the state board to work more closely with its local counterparts, ending its position as "the grandfather of education, handing down its wisdom." Rep. Conrad Maxfield, R-Salt Lake, whose brother, Richard, is a member of the state board, opposed what he said was taking away "the right of the people to vote."

-A COMPROMISE reached over the use of pound animals in medical research easily passed the House Thursday. Substitute HB109 would remove a provision in the law allowing medical researchers to demand the release of animals, and makes payment for the animals mandatory. The bill also allows owners to sign a form preventing their pets from being sold to research facilities. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mel Brown, R-Midvale, was praised for negotiating a compromise that ends three years of attempts to repeal the law.