What’s happened on the hill yesterday – excerpts from LWV report

The League of Women voters sends out daily updates by email for those interested in following what’s going on up at the legislature. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan group and their website can be found here. Here’s an excerpt from today’s update:

WHAT HAPPENED IN COMMITTEE YESTERDAY

Yesterday morning HOUSE GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS did a splendid job of rewriting and passing Substitute HB 49, sponsored by Rep Hansen, which sets out proper procedures for challenging a voter’s right to vote in a particular precinct.  Written challenges must be made in writing under oath with clear and convincing evidence before early voting begins. Challenges at the polls on Election Day must be recorded, give grounds for the challenge and can be made only by residents of that precinct or poll workers.  The rewrite was the result of a very thoughtful discussion by the committee in a previous meeting.

The HOUSE REVENUE AND TAXATION COMMITTEE passed a tax break for students. Substitute HB 35 offers a nonrefundable income tax credit for tuition and mandatory fees at a state higher education institution, worth up to 5 percent of their tax liability. The committee added a provision in the substitute bill that allows residents or nonresidents to contribute their tax refunds to the Utah Education Savings Plan, a state fund that allows taxpayers to invest in students’ future college education.

SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES passed SB 87, Sponsored by Senator Christensen, a bill to strengthen the use of medications on the Medicaid preferred drug list.  The list is based on both medical necessity and cost factors.  The bill said health care providers could no longer override the list and choose more expensive medications by writing “medically necessary – dispense as written” automatically on a prescription.  The bill was amended to immediately implement a way for providers to get pre-authorization to use a non-preferred drug.

SENATE EDUCATION debated SB 123, sponsored by Senator Lyle Hillyard which would have changed the way a new school district is created.   Voters in the entire existing district, rather than just voters who live in the proposed district, would have to approve.  However, SB 123 failed to pass committee by one vote.  Goodfellow, Hillyard and Stephenson voted aye. Bramble, Dayton, Jenkins and Morgan voted no. The bill was in response to a recent split in the Jordan School District in Salt Lake County.  Voters outside the new district who may have to pay more taxes because of the split did not get to vote.

The committee did pass SB 48, with Republicans voting aye and Democrats opposed.  SB 48 changes the way a person applies for a competency-based license from the State Board of Education to teach in public schools.  A local school board or charter school request would no longer be required, allowing a person to apply directly to the State Board. The license could cover to just one subject and need not be in a core academic subject like math or reading.

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