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Politics & Government

View From the Gallery: Week 2

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Week two of the Utah Legislature is coming to a close and lawmakers are slowly starting to get back into the swing of things.

Speed Traps

Starting with Sen. Lyle Hillyard of Logan who is fed up with police in Mantua pulling over everyone who drives through the town for speeding. His bill would cap the amount of money a city could make off of traffic tickets to 25% of their total budget. Mantua’s mayor, Mike Johnson, says that’s unfair. He also happens to be the city’s only full time police officer.

Milking

Week two also saw legislators debate a bill that would help provide workplace protections for pregnant and nursing women. But some Senators were confused by the bill and thought that it would force employers to allow women workers to bring their babies into the workplace. That had Sen. David Hinkins particularly worried about women coal miners and if they’d be bringing their babies into coal mines. The simple answer is, no, no they wouldn’t.

Sen. Scott Jenkins, on the other hand, was worried about women breastfeeding in his office, and whether he’d have to set up a special room for women to, in his words, milk themselves.

After that discussion, the Senate somehow managed to pass the bill.

School Board Elections

They also managed to pass a stop gap bill aimed at making Utah’s process for nominating and electing school board members legal again. However, the bill does not make an actual decision on how school board members should be elected in the future, be it by partisan or non-partisan primaries.

Medical Marijuana

And finally, dueling medical marijuana bills received their first hearings of the session. Both passed out of their respective committees, but in the end, only one can survive. Will it be Sen. Mark Madsen’s more open, but still restrictive bill, or Sen. Evan Vickers’ very restrictive bill, that’s so restrictive it might not even be worth calling it a medical marijuana bill? For that answer and more, you’ll have to tune in next time.

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