The Latest: Lawmaker likes governor's school-focused budget



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on the Utah governor's budget plan (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

State Sen. Lyle Hillyard says he likes that Gov. Gary Herbert is emphasizing education in his budget proposal but says lawmakers may not be able to fund everything on the governor's wish list.

The Republican from Logan is the chairman of the Legislature's main budget committee.

Hillyard said lawmakers may look to send more money toward school technology than Herbert has allowed for in his budget proposal released Wednesday.

Herbert has called for Utah to cover the $110 million cost of additional students in public schools and Hillyard says he expects the Republican-controlled Legislature will find a way to do so.

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2:50 p.m.

Utah state Rep. Joel Briscoe says he and other Democrats found much that they like in Gov. Gary Herbert's budget proposal released Wednesday but would like to see more money put toward education and health care.

Herbert has set aside $10 million to address any possible Medicaid plan lawmakers come up with but Briscoe says Democrats would like to see much more dedicated to help cover Utah's poor.

Briscoe says Democrats like the governor's proposal to fund growing enrollment in public schools and send an extra $130 million for districts to use for teacher pay, professional development or other programs.

But he says that money would be used quickly to address many needs and Democrats would like to see additional money freed up to bolster education.

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11:40 a.m.

Gov. Gary Herbert is asking lawmakers to pay for two state police officers to watch over refugees coming from Syria and elsewhere.

The plan calls for Utah's Department of Public Safety agents to both monitor for possible problems with refugees and help if they become crime victims.

Herbert announced Wednesday he wants to set aside $360,000 for the program as part of his $14.8 billion budget proposal for the upcoming year.

The Republican governor's office says the agents will be police liaisons for refugees who help with U.S. legal processes as well as monitor for signs of trouble or possible radicalization.

Herbert's office says the agents will pay special attention to refugees from Syria and other vulnerable communities.

The plan comes after Herbert ordered a review of the refugee vetting process following the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.

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11:20 a.m.

Gov. Gary Herbert wants lawmakers to pay for ballooning enrollment in Utah's public schools, collecting better data on water use and a new refugee program.

Those are some of the highlights of the Republican governor's $14.8 billion budget proposal released Wednesday.

Herbert's budget proposal serves as a jumping off point for state lawmakers who meet for their annual session in January and set the budget.

The governor is not proposing any tax increases but is asking lawmakers to spend about $110 million for additional students in public schools and $6 million to install advanced water meters in some cities and towns.

He's also asking for $360,000 for two state police agents to watch for possible problems with refugees in Utah and help if they become crime victims.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Michelle L. Price

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