Monday, April 07, 2008

The Omnibus Bill

By Bob Van Velkinburgh

They called Senate Bill # 2 the omnibus bill and rightly so. It was a collection of twelve bills related to education. They should have called it "Utah Leadership do it to the People Again" bill. This bill was grossly unfair and represents arrogant public policy. It sets a precedent for future policymakers. All you have to do is bundle all the garbage bills together, put them in a vital appropriation package and say "one vote passes all."

There were some good bills in this $2.5 billion package and there were some stinkers. The point is that the citizens have the right to expect each bill to be debated and to stand or fall on its own merits. Several of the bills had already been voted down in the House.

Senator Howard Stephenson, sponsor of SB # 2, is quoted as saying,… "it was the best way to pass many education reforms in a coordinated way as the end of the session approached." Senator, I see no educational reforms in this Omnibus Bill unless you consider giving taxpayer's money to help fund charter schools and funding software programs to home schooled students. Where are the "many" educational reforms, Senator?

Governor Huntsman Jr. should never have signed this bill but instead should have vetoed it. Then he could have called a special session and told the Legislative body to debate the twelve bills one at a time.

Utahans, where is your public rage? Where are the letters? Let these lawmakers know your feelings!

Robert Van Velkinburgh


Anonymous said...

“…where is your public rage? Where are the letters?”

There is no need for letters or out rage – it’s a good bill.

Remember a number of democrats in the house voted for this bill.

Tom said...

I'm outraged. I believe it violates the single-subject and descriptive title requirements for bills as set out in the Utah Constitution. (For example, the bill was titled "Minimum School Program Amendments," but its most controversial provisions, UPSTART and charter school changes, are not part of the Minimum School Program.)

Yes, I'm outraged, but the nature of my elected office means many legislators simply say, "There they go again...."

What outrages me even more? The vitriolic letters and personal attacks some of my colleagues have endured for daring to disagree with a handful of powerful legislators. They have been verbally abused and personally attacked in public meetings. As a Republican, I'm embarrassed that certain lawmakers in my party would stoop to such behavior. (And complaining about it on a
Democratic web site isn't gong to do any good.)

Yes, I'm outraged, but there is no prize for fighting and winning.

Tom said...
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