Legislators Scramble to Finish Up Session

Legislators Scramble to Finish Up Session

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Richard Piatt reportingThe Utah State Capitol is buzzing with activity. The Legislative session ends at midnight tomorrow, and there is a scramble to push bills that haven't quite made it though the system yet.

There is still some uncertainty about what's going to happen to a few key bills this year.

Utah senators say they're unlikely to vote on the No Child Left Behind resolution today. Gov. Jon Huntsman met with lawmakers today to discuss the resolution.

The House has amended and passed the bill that requires a new class of driver's license for undocumented immigrants. A bill to ban smoking in bars and private clubs is on hold---but there is a push to bring it back.

Then, there's the debate over money.

Innocuous meetings are one of the places key budget decisions are made. Leaders from both the House and the Senate confront each other, sometimes not coming to a resolution at all. Stakeholders are relegated to the hallways, where they catch the decision-makers when they can.

One of the key sticking points: Funding a veterans retirement home near Ogden. As of early Tuesday, the Senate wants to fund the 4-and a half million dollars. The House wants to bank the money.

One Congressional Medal of Honor veteran is pushing for 'yes'.

George Wahlen/War Veteran: "I just feel good about the state's veterans home rather than being on welfare, I don't think veterans should be on welfare."

Activists continue to push health programs for the poor. They're mostly funded. But not everything, yet.

Pamela Atkinson/Community Activist: "We have got more money than we have in the past, but there are still some bills around, like House Bill 114 which is funding for CHIP, and that's a big issue for us."

Rep. Ron Bigelow/Exec. Appropriations Co-Chair: "There are people who are doing that right now. Talking to individual legislators, saying, would you support additional money going into this program or that program. And that will continue into tomorrow night."

Lawmakers have until midnight tomorrow night to get their work done. Nothing is completely secure in the budget or with policy until it's all over.

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