News and Notes from July Interim Day

A few interesting internal notes out of the Wednesday legislative interim meetings:

 

— The Utah House GOP PAC has around $160,000 in it, and keeping with recent tradition House leaders have appointed a committee made up of members who will not be coming back after the elections to oversee which House Republican candidates get money from the PAC for their general election campaign and how much they get.

Retiring Reps. Ronda Rudd Menlove, R-Garland; Roger Barrus, R-Centerville; and Roger Bird, R-West Jordan; will recommend to leadership the candidates to get the cash.

There was a time when leaders decided basically on their own which caucus members got PAC money, and some believed money went, in part, to members who supported those leaders in leadership elections.

But to insulate leaders from those accusations, several years ago leaders set up the retiree-lead PAC cash committee.

In connection with that, the GOP House members will hold their summer PAC fundraiser on Sept. 16 at This Is The Place state monument.

House Majority Leader Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace, said last year’s fundraiser went well at the monument, but GOP leaders had booked a building that turned out to be too small. This time around the largest building at the monument will be used, giving more room “to talk to people” who donate money to attend the event.

— House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, said leaders have decided to “go back” to a travel policy of years gone by.

Instead of providing $1,500 for House members to use to attend one, two or more summer conferences – like the Conference of State Legislatures and such – the House will pay for only one summer conference.

“We’ll pay for air fare – coach – conference registration and hotel,” said Lockhart, but only for the actual days of the convention.

If a House member wants to go early, stay late, in the conference city, that’s fine, “but you will be paying for all of that time, not the taxpayers.”

She warned House Republicans that their travel expenses can be GRAMAed by reporters or political opponents, so members may have to publicly defend their expenses.

— Finally, Lockhart said that a bill passed recently requires the speaker and Senate president to appoint scores of people to seven new citizen boards who will review public school curriculum.

“I have to find 35 people,” said Lockhart, who is retiring at the end of this year.

She has between four and six weeks to make not only those board appointments, but others as well.

“I’m frankly a little desperate. Make me a list” of possible candidates, she asked her 61-strong caucus.

Dee said members could consider some of their convention delegates for the posts, and should send out emails to district supporters asking if any are willing and interested in serving.