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Thursday, January 04, 2007

This Year's Crop (of Bills)

By Lyle Hillyard
Utah State Senator, District 25

It's tough to pick which bills to sponsor.

Some appear troublesome, but then pass with no problem. Others appear simple but result in uproar. With that in mind, I wanted to outline some of my bills for the 2007 Legislative session. I would appreciate your thoughtful feedback.

Repeal of Prisoner Demands for Disposition

The Statewide Association of Prosecutors asked me to run a bill to repeal what has been called the Speedy Trial Act. This has been used to cause courts to dismiss charges for inmates whose trials have not been heard within a short time while in prison. There are better ways to protect constitutional rights without this very unique law. I am sure most citizens will support the repeal.

Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult Amendments (SB7)

The Utah Commission on Aging asked me to sponsor a bill to complete what was started several years ago to protect elderly people from being exploited. This bill would allow courts to assess attorney fees and costs against someone who unfairly takes advantage of an elderly person.

Extended Day Kindergarten

I will be carrying a bill for Governor Jon Huntsman to authorize extended day kindergarten for those children who want and need the program. It will be optional with the local district. This will be a small investment which should reap great benefits with our most vulnerable citizens.

Use of Oil and Gas Revenue (SB18)
Resolution Regarding Permanent State Trust Fund (SJR 2)

I have seen a lot of good publicity on this idea. I believe the state should invest the current severance tax windfall into a permanent fund so we have something to show after these non-renewable resources are used up. It is bad public policy just to use an income stream that grows and shrinks on programs that are not so variable.

We desperately need a reliable flow of money for infrastructure investments. The income from this trust fund would help generate that stability. To build programs on volatile income streams leaves us at the mercy of whatever next year’s taxes will generate.

This investment will make us think about the future beyond just the next election cycle.

Once again, I'd love to have the benefit of our readers' input.


Anonymous Lyle Hillyard said...

I will also file several "uniform law" proposals. More detail on those tomorrow.

1/04/2007 7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for carrying the bill for voluntary extended day Kindergarten. Districts that have implemented this voluntary program have seen tremendous results in their students. It meets the needs of all by preparing students for their next year and allows for other students who are ready for first grade to have more confident and skilled classmates. It is money well invested with a proven return, in both the long and short term

This bill which invests our tax money in an additional half day of instruction by a professional is money that will be accounted for and will reach more children more effectively then another bill being run that attempts to achieve the same goal of preparing all children for first grade through state funded parent training.

Thank you for working to give every one of our children their best possible start in their education.

1/05/2007 1:03 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Amen on All-Day-K. It took me a while to be sold on the idea, but I now believe it will be quite valuable. I haven't seen the bill yet (standard waffle), but I like the principle of an optional program in high need areas.

1/05/2007 3:05 PM  
Anonymous teacher said...

It should be on a voluntary basis. Kindergarten shoule NOT be mandatory as the parents may want to still keep the kid home. I don't want things to ever reach the level of mandatory preschool too. The kids still need time to be kids.

And I DO say this in terms of being a frist grade teacher. Since I have started teaching, my expectations for those coming in has changed. When I first started, I assumed they knew some sounds and it would be a while before we started the writing and extended reading. NOW I expect them to come in knowing their alphabet and knowing simple words. Note that of course, it is different with different kids. Many kids in my own class are into chapter books before the year is ended.

I DO think we need to look at grades 5-8 too. That is really where we lose some kids.
What is the "state funded" parent training?

Hopefully, we can establish a climate of cooperation and effectiveness between early grade teachers and parents. That is something we REALLY need to strive for. Too many political agendas are getting in the way.

1/05/2007 3:07 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

All I know about SB7 so far is what you've posted above. From this small bit of information, the bill seems too narrow. "This bill would allow courts to assess attorney fees and costs against someone..." Is this just a variation of the concept of "loser pays" rules for litigation? If "loser pays" is a good idea, why are we restricting it only to people who target the elderly?

1/05/2007 6:06 PM  
Blogger Mark E. Towner said...

Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

Finally somebody looks to the future. All you have to do is look at what Alaska did in this regard, and now look at their multi-BILLION fund.

Way to GO!

Mark Towner

1/08/2007 8:13 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Thank you for your willingness to sponsor the bill that will fund voluntary all-day kindergarten.

I agree whole-heartedly with Anonymous - this will be a valuable tool in helping close the achievement gap.

However, unlike Anonymous, I think that Senator Stephenson's bill that will fund parent-training may have some merit in helping Utah's Pre-K children. I am looking forward to learning more about his proposal, and I hope that it will be considered in addition to all-day kindergarten, not instead of it.

1/08/2007 9:55 PM  

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