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View From the Gallery - Week 5

It only took 5 weeks, but the legislature has turned it up to 11 and has started to move through some important legislation at break neck speeds.

End SAGE Testing

The week started off with Senators Aaron Osmond and Howard Stephenson calling for an end to the new computer adaptive Student Assessment for Growth and Excellence or SAGE test. But, in a disappointment to schoolchildren everywhere, Osmond says it’s not because he wants to get rid of testing, just that the SAGE test isn’t very good. He’d rather replace it with another test that is another acronym that I won’t bother you with.

Count My Vote Compromise Survives

Speaking of acronyms, Utah GOP chairman James Evans didn’t have the greatest week on the hill. His attempt to get the legislature to pass a bill delaying the implementation of the Count My Vote compromise lasted just long enough to get to the Senate floor, where it was defeated in a vote that wasn’t actually very close.

Medical Marijuana

In less wonky headline news, Sen. Mark Madsen is running a bill that would make the use of medical marijuana legal in Utah. Madsen also told lawmakers that he to traveled to Colorado a few weeks ago and used marijuana. It came as a surprise to most people, but especially Senate President Wayne Neierhauser. Madsen says he ate the marijuana gummy candy under the direction of his doctor to help ease his chronic back pain.

The Healthy Utah Battle

And finally, there was considerable movement on Medicaid expansion this week. Sen. Brian Shiozawa’s bill, now known as Healthy Utah 2.0, passed out of the Senate and was sent to the House, where Speaker Greg Hughes quickly smothered the life out of it. As one would imagine, that angered Governor Gary Herbert, who struck back by criticizing House leadership and by threatening to veto some of their pet legislation. While I can’t confirm this yet, word is Hughes and Herbert will settle this dispute with a duel on the lawn of the Capitol before the end of the session.

And that’s this week’s View From the Gallery.

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