Legislature Week 5 Update

davidwicaiBlog, Legislature

As the Legislature heads towards its penultimate week, the fifth week focused mostly on resolving smaller issues and setting up the drama that almost always accompanies the final days.

For the department, one of the bills of primary concern — Senate Bill 81 — easily passed the House. This bill allows for the consultation of American Indian tribes about potential locations and processes for the burial sites for ancient human remains. That bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.

The department’s clean-up bill, House Bill 224, remains stuck in the Senate Rules Committee. While it’s never not a concern for a bill to get stuck in Rules, in this case it may simply be a matter of workload for the Senate.

One bill of some concern that continues to move is House Bill 387, which makes sweeping changes to state-run boards and commissions. This includes the elimination of the Commission on Civic and Community Education, which currently provides grants of $20,000 each for UserveUtah (to run their Campus Compact program for college students) and Utah History Day. This funding is important to the department, so hopefully it can be preserved in some fashion.

As the Legislature approaches its conclusion, the budget will begin to clarify. Right now, very little has been said publicly. The massive tax reform bill has been unveiled, and that will drive the budget decisions. But nothing else has been said to indicate where legislative leaders will go.

The Legislature has less than two weeks to finish its business, and it should be interesting.