SALT LAKE CITY -- The House of Representatives will be asked to consider a bill that would clean up voter registration rolls in the state by removing people who fail to vote in two consecutive elections, among other provisions.
HB 253 attempts to address low voter turnout in the Beehive State, says its sponsor, Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City.
It would amend the state election code to require removal of those who have registered to vote in other states, as well as those convicted of crimes that make them ineligible to vote.
The bill cleared the House Political Subdivision Committee by a 6-4 vote Monday and now moves to the floor for debate. Committee members Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, and Becky Edward, R-North Salt Lake, support the measure.
Powell initiated the legislation because, he said, Utah has the lowest voter turnout in the country.
The bill has no Senate sponsor.
Lawmaker seeks higher ed authority
SALT LAKE CITY -- A local lawmaker is pushing legislation that would give the governor greater authority over higher education officials in the state.
The measure would modify the hiring and termination process for the commissioner of higher education and the president of the Utah College of Applied Technology.
The bill, known as SB 39, is sponsored by Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden.
The measure, which cleared a Senate committee on education Monday, would require the state's Board of Regents to receive approval from the governor and obtain consent of the Senate when hiring a commissioner of higher education.
It would also permit the governor, in consultation with the regents, to terminate a commissioner of higher education.
Some of the language of the bill, especially regarding defining cause for termination of a higher education official, may be tweaked when the Senate takes up the bill later this session, Reid said.
The aim of the measure is to give the governor the ability to encourage the coordination of what Reid describes as the three silos of education -- public education, the Utah College of Applied Technology, and the Board of Regents.
Bee symbolizes new legislative session
SALT LAKE CITY -- The theme of the 59th session of the state Legislature should be the bee, says Senate Speaker Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville.
During the Senate's opening session Monday, Waddoups said the simple theme points to the need for lawmakers at all levels to work in unison. He suggested nothing would be more appropriate for the Beehive State.
Waddoups took his theme one step further than the bully pulpit. As a reminder of the 2012 theme, he gave legislators, staff and interns lapel pins featuring a bee.
Oda: Extra money poses challenge
SALT LAKE CITY -- The question of how to appropriate approximately $400 million in new revenue poses a greater challenge than in past sessions, when legislators have had to deal with cutbacks, says Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield.
"Everyone's hands are out," Oda said of the challenge of deciding where to spend the additional revenue.
Some of the revenue is considered to be one-time funding, so Oda said lawmakers need to ensure that programs are properly structured so one-time funds don't create a problem in coming years.
"If we don't do this, we could end up like California or Greece," Oda said of future financial commitments and their potential consequences.