Bills and Bagels – Legislative update for Southern Utah County

 This morning I attended  the Bills & Bagels event at the Nebo School District office. The following legislators were in attendance:

  • Norm Thurston
  • Francis Gibson
  • Marc Roberts
  • Dedrie Henderson

The meeting felt almost routine in that it was more of a legislative update than anything that was too interactive. They discussed some of their bills, stated their positions on questions that were offered from the audience (via pink notecards), and briefly answered questions afterwards.

My question was the first addressed. I asked if the legislators would finally do something about teacher salaries, instead of punting to next year. Francis Gibson addressed my question and noted that they were working on a 3 percent increase, he noted how much that meant, which was tens of millions, and then he noted that the legislature also funded college education. It was an answer that said: “Yes we will increase funding.” But it didn’t really address if such funding was adequate.

There was a young individual in the audience who participated in drafting a bill that would install cameras on school buses and then ticket the individuals. Gibson again noted that while it is nice that people are getting involved, he wouldn’t support that bill, a cop would be better equipped to issue tickets.

There was some discussion from Marc Roberts on a bill he was working on to address issues with minors being labeled as sex offenders.

Norm Thurston noted some stats saying that 40 percent of Utahans had their health care paid for in part by the state, and he even made some comment that implied that some think teachers should be responsible for all of their health care costs.. which came across as weird given that we live in a country where employers foot the cost of health care.

Dedrie Henderson trumpeted her food truck bill, as well as a proposal to include the total cost of a bond at the top of all local bond proposals. She casted her bond proposal as a sort of government ethics reform, I thought of it as something more akin to posting calories at fast food restaurants. If you want that hamburger do you really care that it has 800 calories? If you want that bond does the cost scare you to voting no – for me probably not.

I was glad I attended, and will continue to do so.  While not as exciting at the Chaffetz smack down earlier this month, it was a worthwhile event.