SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that calls for revision of the state's required semesterlong financial and economic literacy course for high schoolers to include units on socialism, communism won final passage in the Utah Senate Friday by a vote 21-6.
HB286 also drops a unit on online shopping, noted the bill's Senate floor sponsor, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.
"We don't need to teach kids to buy something on Amazon because they're already doing that," Weiler said.
"But we do need to, maybe, teach kids about political and economic system that have failed over and over and over again."
Sen. Kathleen Reibe, D-Cottonwood Heights, opposed the bill. She served on a yearlong State School Board task force to develop recommendations to improve the state's financial and economic literacy curriculum, and the legislation does not respect that work.
"As we've added these three terms, we've altered the whole program," Reibe said.
During House debate, the bill's sponsor Rep. Jefferson Moss, R-Saratoga Springs, said it is critical that Utah students have a better understanding of various economic systems.
Moss thanked Gov. Gary Herbert "who's been very vocal on this issue."
In his State of the State address in January, Herbert said he wants Utah students to better understand free market economics.
"When I meet with students, I am impressed by their intelligence and curiosity. But frankly, I have been disturbed by some of the rising generation’s fascination with socialism," Herbert said.