Guest Opinion: “Utah Fits All” intentionally mislabeled and misleading
by Deborah Gatrell
Make it make sense! After the proposed “Hope Scholarship” voucher crashed and burned in the 2022 Utah legislature, Rep Pierucci is back with an even worse proposal this year. House Bill 215, a “Utah Fits All voucher” scheme, is intentionally mislabeled as “Funding For Teacher Salaries and Optional Educational Opportunities.” This proposal hands out piles of tax payer cash to an independent contractorr to administer a voucher program with no meaningful oversight by the Utah School Board of Education.
Where to start? First, there is no legitimate justification for further fragmenting the educational options available in Utah – this is wasteful! Parents have lots of choices. Open enrollment and special permits within and between districts are wonderful. Charter options abound. Parents can already homeschool. Many already utilize private school options as well....
The proposal also intentionally dodges requirements in the Utah Constitution. The bill’s requirement that USBE hire an independent contractor to manage the program only makes sense when you realize the state constitution specifically prohibits public money being spent on religious schools, which many private schools are. The voucher bill language also explicitly prohibits the State Board of Education from assessing any program or outcome associated with the voucher scheme – the program manager has free reign. This is puzzling since Article X of the Utah Constitution states “The general control and supervision of the public education system shall be vested in a State Board of Education....”
Contact your Legislators and tell them to vote NO on House Bill 215. Ask them to put the money in the WPU instead so each district can put the money to best use meeting local needs, whether that’s teacher pay or Full-Day Kindergarten, bus driver benefits or part-time custodians, and so on. (Read More)
Romney joins colleagues in effort to permanently ban taxpayer funding for abortions
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined his colleagues, led by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), in reintroducing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. This legislation would establish a permanent prohibition on federal funding for abortion, replacing the current restrictions with a single, government-wide standard. (Read More)
Curtis appointed Vice Chair of Energy, Climate, and Grid Security subcommittee
Today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) announced the subcommittee assignments for Congressman John Curtis (UT-03) for the 118th Congress. A critical role, he was appointed Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security as well as a membership on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
In addition to his role on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Curtis also sits on the House Natural Resources Committee under Chair Bruce Westerman. Details on those subcommittee assignments will be made public once available. (Read More)
Curtis, Cruz lead coalition to re-introduce consumer protection bill
Today, Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act in the Senate. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.
“This common sense and bipartisan bill ensures consumers are aware of the recording capabilities of items they are putting in their homes, while also balancing flexibility for companies who are developing smart technologies,” said Representative Curtis. (Read More)
UIPA & Box Elder County announce framework for rural Inland Port Project Area
Box Elder County Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution today to begin the creation of an Inland Port Project Area in Box Elder County. This Project Area will consist of areas in the County with a focus on agricultural production and manufacturing. The new Project Area designation provides heightened coordination between Box Elder County and UIPA, as well as an anticipated loan for logistics infrastructure. (Read More)