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Matt Gade, Deseret News, File

Bill passes to swap school days for teacher training; School technology bill advances

By | Posted - Feb 27th, 2014 @ 1:31pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday allowing school districts to use up to four instructional days for teacher training. A committee also advanced a bill that aims to get technological devices in the hands of every student in Utah.

Committees also advanced a bill allowing cities and counties the option of adding a transportation tax and a resolution to give the governor and Senate power over Utah's State School Board.

Bill passes allowing schools to swap instruction days for teacher training

Both chambers of the Utah Legislature have passed a version of a bill that would allow school districts to use up to four instructional days for teacher training and preparation.

On Wednesday, members of the Utah House voted 50-24 in favor of SB103, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, following a 21-6 vote of the Senate earlier this month. The bill will now return to the Senate to reconcile different language between the versions passed by each chamber.

Committee advances bill to increase technology in schools

The broad strokes of a plan to fill Utah's schools with digital learning devices have been public for weeks, but on Wednesday lawmakers got their first chance to hold debate and take action on the proposal.

HB131, or the Public Education Modernization Act, would upgrade the technology and network infrastructure in Utah's public schools and begin moving the state toward a so-called "one-to-one" device ratio where each of Utah's more than 600,000 students would have access to a digital learning device.

Committee passes bill to make child exposure to pornography a custody factor

A parent intentionally exposing a child to pornography could soon be used as a factor in determining child custody.

A Senate committee voted unanimously Wednesday to send SB227 to the Senate floor.

"If you are intentionally exposing your children to pornography and your parental rights or your custody rights, in terms of primary custody, are being questioned, that's one factor that may be used against you," said bill sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.

Committee passes bill to allow cities option to add transportation tax

One of the most substantive "clean air" initiatives pushed by Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker and the Salt Lake Chamber was approved by a legislative committee Wednesday, giving authority for local sales tax increases to fund transportation improvements.

The measure, HB388, does not apply to any extension of light rail but could foster enhanced bus service, more bike routes and other transportation-related options to move people from place to place more efficiently, with less air pollution.

Sponsored by Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, the bill allows cities and counties to put up to a quarter of a cent sales tax increase on a ballot to be approved or rejected by voters.

Panel advances resolution to give governor, Senate power over State School Board

The State School Board's selection of a state superintendent would be subject to confirmation by the governor and Utah Senate under a proposed constitutional amendment that gained committee approval Thursday.

The proposal, SJR12, is sponsored by Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, who sponsored similar legislation last year but withdrew it from consideration.

In addition to confirmation power, the resolution would grant power to the governor and Senate to remove a state superintendent from office.

Contributing: Benjamin Wood, Madeleine Brown, Amy Joi O'Donoghue

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