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Several Items Vie for Attention in Special Legislative Session

Several Items Vie for Attention in Special Legislative Session

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Richard ReportingState approval of that Salt Palace funding plan is one of the items that might be part of a special legislative session in nine days. There have been a lot of requests to put things on the agenda April 19th, but there's plenty already, including another look at No Child Left Behind, and the funding of some important programs.

A bill to put Utah education goals ahead of federal requirements would basically reject a Bush administration priority, No Child Left Behind, but that's what the Utah Legislature could do in a special session in 11 days. That's in spite of efforts by the Governor to reach a compromise with Washington.

Governor Huntsman: "We're not there yet. We're working toward some end point where we could consider this a success."

Right now chances are high the No Child Left Behind issue will be one of the items on the special session 'call', or agenda, April 19th and 20th. The other issues are also left over from the winter regular session.

On the list of possibilities are the Salt Palace funding changes agreed to today; funding for a pilot program to rehabilitate drug offenders—DORA; a bill to fund a federal match for a Veterans Retirement home near Ogden, resurrected at the request of Vets like Frank Maughan.

Frank Maughan, Disabled American Veterans Assoc.: "If we don't keep our place in line for federal funds, that money will likely go somewhere else."

Also possible is a proposal to allow the new owners of Envirocare to expand a similar landfill it bought at the same time. The previous owner already had a permit, but there is opposition to this request.

Jason Groenwald, HEAL Utah: "These are the kinds of decisions that should not be made in a fast track type of approach."

Democrats also want reading and skills testing issues and say rosy budget numbers will allow all of it to be possible.

Rep. Ralph Becker, (D) Salt Lake City: "There is money available for the state to address some critical needs that were not addressed."

The specific items on the agenda won't be announced until next Friday. It's the Governor's call, and he's not committing to anything specific right now.

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