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Richard Piatt ReportingOn Utah's Capitol Hill today, another hearing on two emotional issues both of which have failed before -- hate crimes and tuition tax credits each took center stage today.
Hate Crimes and Tuition Tax Credits are both issues that inspire passion and strong feelings, both pro and con. And for each, this year's go-around isn't any easier than it's been in the past.
Mike Sibbett, Utah Board of Pardons: “There would be some who would suggest that murder is murder. Tha’ts just not so.”
When it comes to Crimes against a person, but targeting a group, this latest attempt at Hate Crimes Legislation failed yet again. Again it was promoted as a law enforcement tool. But conservative opponents and lawmakers once again questioned its fairness--even the need for it.
Gayle Ruzicka, Utah Eagle Forum: "It is not fair to all people. And even if you were to take out sexual orientation, I would feel the same thing. And even if you put in Eagle Forum, I would feel the same way."
LeVar Christensen, (R) Draper: “I think it’s wrong to think that Utah doesn’t have hate crimes, and can only have one if we have the one size fits all approach.”
Its defeat comes after two tries---one in the House and one in the Senate.
A hate crime victim, an LDS African American woman, says she's beyond disappointed.
Sonia James, Hate Crime Victim: “If the prophet Joseph Smith or Brigham Young were looking down on this capitol today, they would be ashamed of us.”
Rep. David Litvack, (D) Salt Lake City: "It's too important of an issue. When 65 percent of the public is asking for it, we have the responsibility to do the will of the people. That's what we're here for."
It's another go for another hot issue--Tuition Tax Credits. The bill would give a tax credits to families who enroll their children in private school, starting next year. The sponsor calls it a progressive option; opponents worry it robs the public system.
Rep. Jim Ferrin, (R) Orem: “High enrollment growth and low revenue growth, that’s what harms public education.”
Pat Rusk, Utah Education Association: “And even if it did save money, is that what taxpayers want, to be subsidizing private industry? We say no.”