Final Day Live Blog – Legislative Updates for the 2015 Session

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The final hours of the 2015 legislative session are rapidly coming to a close. At midnight tonight, the gavel will be dropped and the House and Senate will adjourn Sine Die. We will keep this post continually updating throughout the day to provide you with recaps of the events taking place throughout the day. If you would like a play-by-play of events, follow us @utpolcapitol.


12:00 And with the final gavel fall, the 2015 legislative session comes to a close.

11:35 HB 362 – Transportation Infrastructure Funding – passes the House after a 45 day long battle between the House and Senate. Compromise was reached with the Senate’s bill in the final minutes of the session.

10:55 HCR 12 – Concurrent Resolution on Healthcare passes in the House, Rep. Dunnigan gives an explanation to the resolution as a needed. Expects a solution by July and will keep the legislature close in the conversations. Rep Andreeg spoke against the resolution, fearing the resolution had binding properties. Tries to amend the bill to remove any binding nature of the bill, but after 15 mins of discuss, the amendment failed. The resolution passed- 59-16

6:10 In a historic moment, Governor Gary Herbert signs into law SB 296 – Antidiscrimination and Religious Liberty Amendments.

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5:25 SB 235 – Education Modifications Which puts conditions on low performing schools in Utah, Passed in the House 43-29 after a long discussion. Members of the House with experience or family in the Education field expressed serious concern that the bill doesn’t factor in what teachers needs and that the bill would just provide money to consultants to provide improvement plans. Rep Last, the sponsor of the bill, said that the bill has support within the Education community and it is a valuable tool to improve under-performing schools.

Rep. Briscoe called this a “zipcode test,” Rep Poulsen called it segregation by class and Rep. Cunningham bemoaned that the bill didn’t factor in the needs and attitudes of teachers. In counter Rep. Coleman praised the bill, but wasn’t happy with the fiscal note on the bill, expressing the Districts need to have “more skin in the game,” but said that was for another year. It was sent to the governor for a signature.

12:20 President Niederhauser sitting with senators for final noon press conference of the session.
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12:15 PM SB 293 – Historic District Amendments, after a surprising amount of debate over what was considered to many to be a small issue, was given a large amount of time to debate where attempts were made by Rep. Peterson and Rep. Cox and Rep. Draxler to amend the bill. After all amendment fails and many members within Salt Lake County opposing the bill, it fails.

10:20 AM The House passes SB 60 – American Civics Education Initiative was substituted and returned to the Senate. After being debated and amended in the Senate, the House has substituted SB 60 for a second time and passed in the House 46-26.

Opponents see it as an unfunded mandate, while others feel the bill will be a step in increasing civic participation by requiring students to pass a citizenship test before getting a high school diploma.

10:10 AM: SB 297 – Protections for Religious Expression and Beliefs about Marriage, Family, or Sexuality Passes out of the Senate after being ammended. This legislation allows clerks to opt out of performing marriages so long as someone is available to perform the legal act. This bill was pushed through along side SB 296 – Antidiscrimination and Religious Freedom Amendments which granted housing and workplace protections for members of the LGBT committee as well as affirmed religious liberties.

The governor is expected to sign both bills onto law tonight at 6 as part of a special ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.

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