The Senate on Wednesday torpedoed a proposal to take away from state employees their current "floating holiday," which they may take off on any day they wish, and force them instead to use it on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
In the end, the only senator left supporting SB145 was sponsor Bill Hickman, R-St. George. Only he opposed killing it on a voice vote.
Hickman told the Senate in debate that most state employees take that day off anyway, so he proposed making it a state holiday called "Family Day."
Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, complained it would make state government less efficient by closing everything that day. But Hickman said, "Operating government with a skeleton staff is more inefficient."
Many senators opposed taking the choice away from employees about which day they may take off. Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, said, "Most people like employees to have a choice," and said the worry about eliminating that killed the bill.
But before the bill died, senators enjoyed some silliness in debating it.
For example, Waddoups said making that Friday a state holiday could close banks and credit unions on one of the busiest shopping days of the year so state employees and others could not cash checks in time to enjoy the big sales that day and would hurt the economy.
"They'll have to go to payday lenders ... they'll be charged a fee. They won't be able to stimulate the economy," he said. "So who is this day really good for? It's good for the bankers because the (pay) checks will go out but the bankers will get another three days of float because people won't be able to cash those checks until Monday."
Sen. Bill Goodfellow, D-West Valley, joked, "This bill has another problem" because on Thanksgiving people "eat and eat and eat. They gorge themselves. Then thank goodness they have to go to work the next day because they would continue to eat." If they took the next day off, "They're going to be obese, and then we are going to have to spend more money."Joining the silliness, Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake, the only openly gay senator, asked if the Family Day bill attempted to define families. "If it is broad enough to include traditional and non-traditional families, I'm delighted."
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