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Richard Piatt ReportingAt the State Capitol there are still hundreds of bills, and not enough time to get to them all. This is the first of the final three days of the 2004 Legislature. So far key issues that have to do with everything from education to human rights are still half-done.
This is a nervous time for people who have an interest in funding state programs, or in changing state laws in any way. State lawmakers are picking and choosing very carefully in these final hours. For members of both the House and Senate, this is marathon week into the final stretch.
Lawmakers are expected to work late into the evening tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday. Outside the chambers, lobbyists are also hanging out to try and protect their interests. Overall, demands on the state's budget were about triple the money that's actually available.
While some people are trying to figure out ways to spend money, others are trying to do the opposite.
Mike Jermain, Utah Taxpayers Association: "It's been a huge fight, it always is. The bottom line is, there are a lot of people who want to spend a lot of money. But there are a lot of people like me who want to keep things under control. So there's no shortage of people who want to spend tax dollars."
Some of the issues left undone at this late hour include: reform proposals to the Department of Child and Family Services; proposed Asset forfeiture changes; a same-sex marriage amendment; workman's compensation changes; medical arbitration.
In almost every case, these issues are very important, but debate on them can be very dry.