Bill would require Utah lawmakers to take class on federalism every two years

Utah State CapitolSometimes even Utah legislators need to go to school.

So believes Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who has a bill, HB207, that would require all 104 lawmakers to take a special “federalism” class every two years.

“Rights we don’t know are rights we don’t have,” said Ivory, a recognized expert on the U.S. Constitution, government, and the Founders’ original ideas.

Several years ago Ivory, working with the state’s Commission on Federalism, passed a law requiring state attorneys, and some other attorneys, to take a special federalism course designed by the Commission and Utah Valley University’s Center for Constitutional Studies.

The attorneys get Bar continuing education credit for the courses.

And now anyone can take the course for free here.

One may think that if you take the course once, you don’t need to take it again, assuming you can remember some basics.

But Ivory says the course is always evolving. For instance, this year the Legislature allocated $30,000 for updates, and next year’s budget will contain the same, he says.

Ivory, as a legislator, will have to take the course, also.

“Yes, I spent 100 hours helping develop the course; but I would have to take it, too,” he said.

He likes to use a bicycle analogy: If the federal government is one wheel, and state governments are the other wheel, we like to argue who is riding the bike. But in reality, the federal wheel has gotten huge, much bigger than the Founders ever envisioned. The state wheel has gotten small, with the rubber worn down to the rim. We need to change the size of the wheels and repair the state wheel, make them equal again.