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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Random Synopsis: Day One

Julie Rose tees up the session in "Taking Taking Temperatures on Capitol Hill." The key take-home: this year's big issue is how to deal wisely with the budget money with which we've been entrusted. "Cringeworthy" message bills will take a backseat. John Valentine says, "I trust the process."

Picture by Douglas C. Pizac, Associated Press. Deseret Morning News caption: Senate President John Valentine is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine Durham at the start of the 57th legislative session Monday at the state Capitol complex in Salt Lake City.

Rep. Craig Frank stopped in the icy pre-dawn (and, we assume, mashed down on his parking brake), on Apricot Street to take a picture of the Dome. Check it out.

Chris Vanocur on abc4.com:
Sen. Lyle Hillyard said, "I think there's some frustration up here that we've funded public education but it doesn't seem to get us the results we want."
Tiffany Erickson re: Senator Stephenson’s push to increase teacher salaries in Utah from among the lowest in the nation to above the national average
"I think it is something that can be achieved over the next four years and would ensure that we have the quality of teachers in classrooms that children deserve, and be able to retain the teachers that we currently have," Stephenson said.
"Vague but not looney" This might be the closest thing to a compliment we'll ever get out of Voice of Utah re: Senator Chris Buttars. BTW - his intention is that Private Investigators can have 20 days total, not per case.

The Chief Justice asked for increased judicial salaries. The Deseret Morning News:
[John] Valentine, who is an attorney, said he recalls judges 30 years ago. "These judges had been at the peak of their careers," he said, adding most had made their fortunes and wanted to give back to the community. "They were the best and the brightest," said Valentine. Now, many judges have but 10 years legal experience under their belt, and that troubles him.
The Salt Lake Tribune:
Senator Greg Bell, R-Fruit Heights, a member of the Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee, agrees the enormous amount of money available in private practice has diverted some of the state's best minds away from the bench. "She's spot on," Bell said of Durham's address. "We have seen a real decrease in applicants."
In the blog world, we’ve had good ongoing public participation here, here, here and here. Love to have you join in.

And finally, in case you missed this in the Daily Herald:
Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, told his colleagues that they should strive to be "the great anchors of state policy."

"Take the long view," he said. "Make careful decisions based on the facts and the merits of the issue, not short-term political expediency."

Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo, quoted Abraham Lincoln's assertion that "shades of opinion may be sincerely entertained by honest and truthful men."

Lawmakers should keep that in mind during the session, he said.

"There's been a lot of speculation that this is going to be contentious.

"If you attribute to your political opponent that same passion, that same conviction, that same commitment to their values that they hold that you yourself hold to your own," Bramble said, "... it makes it quite easy to focus simply on the merits of that particular argument, and when that argument is done to put your arm around your opponent and go get something to drink.

"You know -- a root beer."

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