Lawmakers Tackle Pledge Mandate, Sheriff's Qualifications

Lawmakers Tackle Pledge Mandate, Sheriff's Qualifications

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Government Specialist Richard Piatt reportingFrom the Pledge of Allegiance to deciding who can run for sheriff -- all are things lawmakers are moving forward while they wait to tackle the budget.

A House committee agrees with a Utah judge who says Bart Albrecht can't be Wayne County's sheriff, even though he won the election.

A ruling that scraps the election results follows the same intent House Bill 194 does.

The measure that passed a House committee would require a candidate for sheriff be a certified law enforcement officer.

It's just one of dozens of bills which seek to change tomorrow the problems Utahns are facing today.

Other issues are more lofty, like the Senate's approval of a bill requiring a daily recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. On the Senate floor -- a 23-3 vote in favor of the measure, with the majority saying:

"I believe patriotism is not an intangible item. I think it's real. I think it's something that needs to be emphasized in our schools," says Sen. Mike Waddoups, R-Taylorsville.

"It shouldn't be offensive to anyone that in America that we pledge to our country, especially in the time of war," says Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan.

Of the three who voted 'no' on the bill, there are philsophical differences about who decides and what the pledge stands for.

"I think this is an issue for local school boards. It's something that doesn't need to be mandated at the state level. I vote no," says Sen. Ron Allen, D-Tooele.

"What's freedom of speech? Freedom of speech isn't that you're going to mandate everybody has to say this. Rather, the Bill of Rights says you don't have to," says Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City.

At his monthly news conference, Governor Mike Leavitt put the brakes on momentum building at the Capitol for a tuition tax credits bill that was approved in a Senate committee Wednesday.

"I'm prepared to support it only after the public schools have received adequate funding and to be honest, we are a long way from adequate funding," Leavitt says.

Also today, a bill that would limit the use of so-called 'holding therapy' passed the full House.

And a resolution was introduced to urge Congress to withdraw the United States from the United Nations.

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