Now that the 2016 Legislature is in the books, it's time to give lawmakers a final grade.
Our "Political Insiders" didn't give legislators very high marks this year. Only our "Republican Insiders" decided to hand out an A grade to lawmakers, giving them an overall GPA of 2.35.
The Democrats on our panel were much more harsh with their grades, mostly giving the legislature C's, D's and F's for a final GPA of 1.27.
Our readers were not happy with the job lawmakers did at all, handing out mostly D's and F's for a failing GPA of 0.9.
Selected anonymous comments:
"Were they high on cannabis?"
"They did nothing but cater to their political contributors and lobbyists. Shame on them for not representing the people of Utah."
"Horrible and disgusting. More attacks on 'the gays' and on women. The corrupt deal to ship coal to California. Continued attacks on public education. Doing away with bipartisan legislative committee for no reason. Giveaways to Rocky Mountain Power. These people don't serve Utah; they serve themselves."
"Sad to watch the non-compete battle. Publicly, it was a mess, and I can only imagine what it was like in the trenches. I wish the business community and House were better aligned on the issue. Discussions should have started months ago. Now we have a compromise that may hamper state's economic development efforts and Utah businesses."
"Very limited Medicare expansion was a travesty in light of pledging $50+ million for a coal port and $14 million on federal lands fight. I think they spent more money per person by covering fewer people rather than a full expansion. The Utah Legislature’s lack of compassion for the less fortunate while giving big business a pot of gold is something I have come to expect, but I will never accept."
"Until they manage to pass a real Medicaid expansion solution, the legislature has failed."
"Irresponsible governing and wasteful spending on public lands and coal. Lack of leadership on medical marijuana and anti-discrimination. Complete failure on health care/Medicaid expansion."
"Trampling rights, underfunding education, making sure those who need it WON'T have the care they need, this Legislature was one of the worst in my memory. It makes me ashamed to be a Utahn and ashamed to be a human."
"It would be nice if they could leave local government issues to those elected to manage them and not micromanage us."
"This year's legislature reached a new low in secrecy, arrogance ( the uncontrollable drive to micro-manage agencies), condescension (the insistence that they know much more than do we), lack of compassion for the people they represent, and the wasting of both time and taxpayers' money as reflected in massive and futile spending bills designed to accommodate a public lands seizure that surely will not and should not happen."
"Nice to see a little funding for the schools - not nearly enough, but it's a start. However, the legislature's willingness to cave on some important bills on oblique hints from the LDS Church is very discouraging."
"$51 million for a coal port, $14 million for a steal the lands bill, burning more money on the prison move....you get my point."
"Didn't pass a decent marijuana bill, did pass a weak Medicare bill, no movement on clear air policy, no loosening of liquor laws."
"They made progress on health care expansion, funding future water infrastructure costs, and put a boat-load of money into education!"
"Total waste of time. Full Medicaid action was need as well as improvements in air quality."
"So what really did they accomplish?"
"Overall the legislature has tackled some very tough issues. I would like to see them address Medicaid expansion and 'Count My Vote' in a more comprehensive way, but overall they have done a good job this year. Also, they should lay off of abortion and support updated hate crimes legislation."
"They did nothing that would actually make the lives of Utahns any better, including removing the Zion Curtain!"
"It was another average year, meaning they deserved a D. With all the important & urgent needs our state has they still had to spend so much time on foolish things like financing the quixotic multi-million dollar public lands lawsuit."
"The State Legislature refused a full Medicaid expansion as an act of defiance to the Affordable Care Act, leaving 27,000 poor Utahns in the coverage gap and leaving millions of Utah taxpayer dollars with the federal government. Meanwhile, it approved the expenditure of $14 million in state tax money to pay an out-of-state law firm to pursue a futile lawsuit to transfer public lands to state control. None of this represents the best interest of the citizens."
"Great job standing firm against the massive and well-funded pot lobby. Thank you for putting the safety of Utah citizens first."
"They tackled hard issues and did it in a solid, thoughtful way, not bowing to the loud, often vitriolic voices."
"Average...not remarkable...same rhetoric...mean leadership...what can I say?"
"The Legislature needs to appropriate themselves more education funds. Nah, it wouldn't help."