- 2016 Interim
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May 2016 Special Session: The Details
UPDATE, 5/18/16: The special session is today, boys and girls. We start at 4 p.m., which means we’ll start at the crack of 4:10. The senate will first consider the restoration of education funding (see articles, below), while the house debates a Bears Ears Resolution. After considering whether to restore the education funding – and if the house is still debating Bears Ears – the senate will go into Advice and Consent (i.e. consider and vote on nominees to various boards and commissions).
These issues have already been fairly thoroughly discussed, so we don’t expect a long session. That’s a good thing, since special sessions are usually reserved for consensus items and technical fixes.
Here are the le.utah.gov links you need to follow along today (bill files, livestream, etc.).
Prediction: We’ll be done by 6.
~ April 18, 2016 ~
Today, Governor Gary Herbert, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Speaker of the House Greg Hughes announced that the Legislature and Governor’s office have agreed to convene a Special Session to address education funding items which were vetoed after the 2016 General Session. (Here’s the Media Release.)
The Special Session will be called in conjunction with our regular May Interim meetings for the purpose of restoring funding to each of the initiatives included in Senate Bill 2, Item 6, for their original intended purposes. (More on this funding item below.)
Moving forward, the governor’s office and legislature will continue to monitor these programs and their funding mechanisms. This will include visits to participating schools and discussions with participants to better understand how they are being implemented. Both branches will evaluate whether adjustments need to be made to maximize the effectiveness of these programs.
The special session will be called in conjunction with the legislature’s regularly scheduled interim meetings in May. By doing it this way, cost savings to the state will be about $40K.
As a result of these developments, we’re suspending the veto override poll discussed here, pending the issuance of a call to special session.
[Update: the official call has been issued. Click for full size view.]
Background + Landscape
After the 2016 Legislative Session adjourned, Governor Gary R. Herbert vetoed three bills and several items of appropriation. The Governor vetoed six items of appropriation for technical reasons.
Five of the items – House Bill 3, Items 47, 52, 125, and 149; and House Bill 2, Item 111 – were vetoed because they funded the implementation costs of various bills which ultimately did not pass the 2016 Legislature. House Bill 3, Item 31 – was vetoed because it duplicated an appropriation contained in Senate Bill 43, Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention in Public Schools.
The Governor also vetoed a seventh item of appropriation – Senate Bill 2, Item 6 – for non-technical policy reasons. SB2, item 6 vetoed additional funding (+ one funding cut) for six education initiatives. This is the item we’ll address during the Special Session, and then continue to monitor and study for effectiveness. Collaboration is a beautiful thing. Here are the specifics:
$1.5 million ongoing Education Funding plus intent for an additional $500,000 TANF for UPSTART, an early education initiative targeted toward individualized reading, mathematics and science curriculum.
$275,000 one-time Education Funding for ProStart, a culinary arts program that provides career training and certifications for high school students.
$500,000 ongoing Education Funding for Elementary Reading Assessment Tools, a statewide assessment tool used to enhance the evaluation of early education programs.
$3 million one-time Education Funding for K-3 Early Intervention, a program which addresses early reading through the use of interactive reading software.
$500,000 one-time Education Funding for IT Academy, a program that provides opportunities for high school students to obtain basic to advanced certifications in software and network administration, which helps them gain employment after high school.
Senator Stephenson + ABC4 Video: Senator Howard Stephenson joined Glen Mills on Inside Utah Politics to walk Utahns through the education programs we’ll be addressing.
Line Item 6: ICYMI (from earlier), read about each of the SB2, Item 6 initiatives in depth here: So, what exactly is in SB2, Item 6?
Veto Override Info: A look at when we initiated the Veto Override Poll (now suspended): Policy + Process Notes: A 2016 Veto Override Session?
Stephenson Email: Howard Stephenson emailed his legislative colleagues with arguments for three of the included programs: K-3 Early Intervention Reading Program Funding, UPSTART, and ProStart.
Stevenson Email: Jerry Stevenson also emailed his legislative colleagues in regards to funding for the IT Academy.
Bears Ears: Senator Hinkins blog post about the Bears Ears National Monument proposal (spoiler: he’s not in favor. And either are many Navajo Utah residents who actually use the land).
House Blog: The Vox Populi 2016 (AKA House of Reps’ veto information page is here: http://www.utahreps.net/utahreps-2/blog-post/2016override
Funding Index: For a more formal list of items included in S.B. 2, Item 6, see page 6 of this Approved Funding Items index.
COBI: For more information on Upstart, K-3 Reading Early Intervention, ProStart, and the other programs in the USOE Initiatives line item, see the Legislature’s Compendium of Budget Information (COBI) at http://cobi.utah.gov. For details on the funding changes in Senate Bill 2, Item 6, choose the “Issues” tab, then expand the “Subcommittee Prioritization” box.
Gentle citizen, what do you think ? We invite you to contact your state senator with your thoughts. Find your senator and their contact information at senate.utah.gov.