Now that the 2015 Legislature is in the books, our "Political insiders" and readers didn't give them very high marks on their final report card.
The Republicans on our panel gave lawmakers the highest marks, grading them out between a C+ and a B-. The Democrats and our readers were not so kind, giving lawmakers a D. Most of those who voted in our survey dinged legislators for failing to come to an agreement on Medicaid expansion and not funding schools adequately. Our respondents did give lawmakers kudos for passing historic non-discrimination legislation and addressing transportation needs.
Grade Point Average
Here's the "report card" breakdown for lawmakers from the groups in our survey.
Selected anonymous comments:
"Not a lot of representing the voice of the people."
"The legislature did a great job doing heavy lifting this session. Kudos to them."
"Speaker Hughes prevailed on every issue the house took a position on."
"The Senate gets a B, but the House a D. Speaker Hughes and his leadership team have been a disaster, more interested in conflict than resolution."
"Incomplete because of the inability to take any action on Medicaid. It's not like the legislature hasn't been deeply studying this issue for going on two years now."
"They did have some major wins with SB296, education funding, and criminal justice reform. The House embarrassed itself by refusing to debate Healthy Utah; there were far too many silly, Libertarian-concocted bills, and far too much pork."
"They haven't addressed the serious issues Utah faces from Clean Air to education or economic development. Health care for Medicaid clients was a big downer. Their attitude was more like your grandma who put plastic over all her furniture. Keeping things nice was better than making things worse. Reminds me of the US House and Senate – too much hot air and very little action. If you can't have a reasonable debate about an issue, then stay home. Chicken Little has found a home, and it's in the Utah House of Representatives."
"As usual, they couldn't finish the really important bills, wait, they did a few…enough to to hide behind…but not the ones we all were waiting for…ah, interim summers…gotta love 'em!"
"I would give them an A if they passed Healthy Utah. They failed on the most important issue of the session."
"Terrible on health care, scattered on taxes and new revenue needs, obvious on nondiscrimination and meaningless on religious liberty."
"The legislature has failed public education again. Our funding is not back to pre-recession levels, it is a smaller total percent of the state budget than last year, and the legislators make teachers out to be the enemy when all we want to do is help kids learn and progress! I have fears that in a few short years, Utah will not be able to find enough people to teach, qualified and licensed or not. No one wants to be treated like everything wrong with the state is their fault, and that is how the legislature has made teachers feel!"
"Teacher-bashing, vendor bills, failure to adequately fund the WPU, inability to reach agreement on Medicaid expansion, nanny-state laws, partisan school board bills, micromanagement of education, politicking and posturing, refusal to LISTEN to the voters who elected them – UGH UGH UGH! The only thing saving them from getting an F from me is the passage of the anti-discrimination bill."
"This C is only because of SB296. Otherwise, they'd get a D for lack of action on clean air, Medicaid expansion, and prison relocation. Boo."
"The clowns have done their usual incompetent job again."
"Too inefficient with their time, too much bravado."
"So many critical issues left unresolved. If they would spend more time working on legislation that would enhance our quality of life, perhaps they would restore the public trust."
"Utah a great place to raise a family unless you want your children to be educated."
"They continue to ignore their constituents on major issues."
"Greg Hughes was a disappointment."
"Faking that we're in an economic bubble so they can hold back funds from education is unforgivable. The religious freedom bills are a license to discriminate. Funding another study on state lands is fishing for a result they didn't get in last year's report. So many disingenuous raw political moves. Fail."
"If they would like a higher grade, they need to 1) increase education funding by a meaningful amount, not just a pittance, 2) pass at least the Governor's upgrade to Medicare, 3) not spend valuable time on, for example, designating a state weapon, 4) agree to the Count My Vote compromise."
"Wayne Niederhauser led magnificently and drove toward real solutions. The Senate did a tremendous job. Greg Hughes was merely a petulant pebble-thrower. He highlighted the immaturity and incompetence of the House as a body."
"This session has been a mess. Too many important issues glossed over, left until the end and rushed, or completely dismissed to gain political points. Speaker Hughes has been a huge disappointment. The only reason I gave them a D is because the Senate actually did a pretty decent job (they deserve a B) but the House should be embarrassed."