Senate kills a proposal to require lawmakers to take class on Federalism

Utah State CapitolThe Utah Senate killed a proposal to spend $350,000 for lawmakers to take a class on federalism every two years.

HB207 went down in flames on the Senate floor Wednesday morning after lawmakers questioned the prudence of spending those funds. Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, was behind the idea and spent more than 100 hours developing the course.

Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, took pains to point out he’s a fan of the concept of federalism, but this class was not needed.

“Why are we spending $350,000 on this bill when there’s a plethora of information about Federalism online already for free?” he said.

Sen. Todd Weiler says there are so many other things that lawmakers should learn about before federalism.

“One moment we’re voting on contractor licensing, the next on some sort of algae growing on the bottom of a boat,” he said. “These are all issues that we, as legislators, could be better educated about. I don’t think we’re sending the right message to our constituents that we’re going to spend a third of a million dollars so that we can learn more about the Constitution.”

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, said the money in the bill could be better used elsewhere.

“We’re going to take $350,000 and who knows where it’s going. Let’s put this money where it’s going to have an effect on the lives of children.”

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, argued the money is a small price to pay to better understand the proper role of government.

“If there’s so much available out there, why aren’t we using it?” he asked his colleagues. “What a cheap price this would be to help us be better Federalists.”

The bill failed 11-17.