Donald Trump surprise speaker at LDS General Conference

DIETER F. UCHTDORF – The next speaker at this Conference will be Donald J. Trump of the US Presidency. Following his remarks, the Choir will sing “Master, the Tempest Is Raging.” Brother Trump… DONALD J. TRUMP – Thank you. It’s a terrific honor to be here, and I’ve got to tell you, this Conference Center is just fantastic. These beautiful flowers and people coming up to me and say “President Trump, thank you so much” and “President Trump, we love you,” it’s just been amazing. It’s a great, great pleasure…

School financing should focus on struggling students

Should we raise taxes to provide more money for our public school system? Utah has one of the lowest per-pupil spending rates in the nation, if not the lowest at times, and yet we seem to do pretty well with what we have. In fact, we seem to do rather exceptionally with what resources we invest. Our per-pupil spending might be low but the overall investment in education is the largest part of our state budget, by far. But would more money make a difference? The backers of the new…

Jeff Moss: Amendment B represents good policy, would be a win for schools

I would like to voice my support for an important measure that will be on the ballot in the November election. Utah Constitutional Amendment B represents a small change that would make a big difference to our public schools. As you may know, the State of Utah invests a $2.15 billion permanent State School Fund, comprised of the profits earned on the 3.5 million acres of school trust lands. Amendment B would modernize and update the distribution formula on that permanent school fund. It would increase the amount of money…

Put Common Core clamor aside: Let’s talk about educational standards

By Boyd Matheson and Christine Cooke Education, which represents two-thirds of our state budget and is vital to our future, continues to be front and center in Utah’s political and policy debates. It is worthy of our attention and our best efforts to engage in serious, meaningful dialogue. We are convinced that a marketplace of educational options and a culture that respects the unique, individual learning needs of students is critical. In order to cut through the clamor of political rhetoric, here are a few of our insights on this…

Boyd Matheson: Intolerant tolerance is not tolerance at all

Editor’s Note: This op-ed originally appeared May 5, 2016, in The Salt Lake Tribune. By Boyd Matheson The recent kerfuffle over Lynette Gay and the honorary degree that the University of Utah plans to award her is a case study in the kind of intolerant tolerance that seems to be driving and, in my view destroying, meaningful public dialogue and serious debate on the important issues of our day. Crying intolerance and spewing accusations of hate have become the new go-­to strategy for shutting down debate or discrediting those who…

Senator Jerry Stevenson: Please support IT Academy

During the Session we approved an appropriation for our IT Academy, which unfortunately was vetoed by the Governor. This is an excellent program that provides high school students the opportunity to graduate from high school certified in Microsoft and other software programs, which helps these students gain employment straight out of high school. I appreciate that this program offers these high school graduates the potential to support themselves through higher education as they find employment with their certification. I have attached a letter from the IT Academy and a PDF with more information…

Utah Senate: Senator Howard Stephenson veto override statement

Dear Colleagues, I write for the purpose of providing you with context and information related to the Governor’s veto of SB 2, Item 6 (found on lines 205-220). I strongly believe that we should exercise our Constitutional authority to override this veto. This veto significantly impacts funding for important educational programs in our state which we had carefully studied and vetted through the legislative process. In his veto letters, the Governor explains his reasoning for vetoing this item – but I don’t believe he had complete context, or accurate data,…

Sen. Daniel Thatcher: To vote yes on medical marijuana, we need reliable data

To vote yes on medical marijuana, we need reliable data. We won’t have that until the Federal Government reclassifies marijuana and the FDA can properly research it, including what conditions are helped, dosage, potential side-effects, and warnings against drug interactions, just like any other drug. Throughout this process, I have seen individuals being shamed and attacked for holding differing opinions. These tactics are causing many good people who hold strong and valid opinions to keep their heads down and their mouths shut. This does not make for good policy. I…

Damschen, Gordon, and Donaldson: A proposal to put more money into Utah schools

Written by David Damschen (State Treasurer), Natalie Gordon (School Children’s Trust Specialist), and Tim Donaldson (School Children’s Trust Director). Senator Ann Millner and Representative Mel Brown are proposing SJR12, an amendment to the state constitution that, if passed by 2/3 of the legislature and approved by voters, will increase and stabilize the distribution from the permanent State School Fund through the School LAND Trust program. A corresponding bill, SB109, details the formula that will be used for the distribution. The goal of the amendment is to insure that the distribution from…

Rep. Jeremy Peterson: HB162: Transparency and Accountability for Taxpayer Funded Film Incentives

This session I am running a bill to provide more legislative oversight and more accountability for money that the state spends in promoting film production here in Utah.  Currently, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) has been granted permission from the Legislature to issue up to $6.7 million dollars in tax credits for film productions that the department deems worthy to receive them.  Certain benchmarks and yardsticks are used to quantify which productions show the most promise for spending money and driving economic growth in the state. The problem…