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2007 Legislative Session Ends

2007 Legislative Session Ends



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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Ashley Hayes ReportingIt was a busy night at the Utah state capitol as lawmakers worked down to the wire, ending the 2007 legislative session at midnight.

Some bills were passed, others failed and some never made it to the table.

Several of the most controversial bills failed because lawmakers ran out of time.

The bill that would have banned abortion if another state were successful in overturning Roe versus Wade in the Supreme Court was tabled.

The bill that would allow state law enforcement officers immigration enforcement didn't make it. While it cleared the House, the Senate did not reach a vote.

Another immigration bill that would have denied undocumented immigrants state and local benefits and prevented illegal students from receiving in-state college tuition failed in a close vote.

The House bill that would require employers to use a federal online system to verify their employees' immigration status never made it to the floor.

And a bill that would have made animal cruelty a felony died at midnight.

Several bills did pass, among them the most sweeping tuition voucher bill in the nation, and a school club bill that now requires a faculty sponsor for school clubs, like gay-straight alliances.

Several ethics bills also passed, limiting gifts lawmakers can receive to $10. Free Utah Jazz tickets are off limits, but legislators can still accept meals.

And the fastest issue to become law is the bill that gives Real Salt Lake the go-ahead to build a stadium.

Twelve hours after the 2007 legislative session ended, four key representatives from the House and Senate sat down at the University of Utah with moderator Dan Jones. They talked about the last 45 days.

Representatives from the House and Senate were welcomed by a large crowd at the Hinckley Institute. The immediate response to this year's session was positive.

Dan Jones, moderator: "I've been going to every session since 1959 and can't remember one where it was more amicable, where people enjoyed one another so much."

Senate President John Valentine said it was the first session where the legislature accomplished all its goals.

John Valentine, President Utah Senate: "My personal high point was to be able to do what we promised to do at the beginning of the sessions."

Among those promises: to provide more money for schools including higher education, to create a tax reform, give raises to public employees, pay cash this session without resorting to debt, and invest in transportation.

Last night before midnight lawmakers passed the most sweeping tuition voucher bill in the nation, and a school club bill that requires faculty sponsors for school clubs, like gay-straight alliances. Several ethics bills also passed, limiting gifts lawmakers can receive to 10 dollars, and making free Utah Jazz tickets off limits.

The fastest issue to become law was the bill that gives Real Salt Lake the go-ahead to build a stadium.

Several of the most controversial bills FAILED because lawmakers ran out of time.

The bill that would have banned abortion if another state overturns Roe versus Wade in the Supreme Court failed.

And all three immigration bills flopped, including the bill that would have denied undocumented immigrants state and local benefits and prevented illegal students from receiving in-state college tuition. And for the Humane Society the most disappointing of all the bill that would have made animal cruelty a felony died at midnight.

Gene Baierschmidt, director, Humane Society: "Dogs and cats are part of our families. (They) cannot protect themselves."

Baierschmidt assures us the bill will be reintroduced next year.

Greg Curtis (R), Speaker of the House: "The positive things of the session was the absence of rancor in doing so."

Legislatures are celebrating their accomplishments.

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