Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HB 150, restoring State School Board elections to a democratic process and eliminating the state nominating committee

After the farce of a process for choosing candidates for our State School Board elections last fall, HB 150 was proposed to change the process to a non-partisan primary and election just like most city councils, eliminating the nomination committee entirely. It was passed by the House yesterday with some split voting among Republicans. My county voted poorly. I think Steven Sandstrom, Francis Gibson, and Kenneth Sumsion were the only Utah County representatives to vote for the bill. Representatives Dougall, Frank, Fowlke, Daw, Lockhart, Steven Clark, Herrod, Grover, and Painter voted against the proposal, with Rep. Morley missing the vote.

The current members of the State Board unanimously supported the bill, even those members who were nominated through that process. Various Republicans tried to amend the bill to convert the State School Board elections into partisan elections with candidates run through party caucuses and conventions (Rep. Sumsion eventually voted for the unamended bill, but said partisan elections would provide information on candidates’ stands on sex education…) or argue that the current process was fair and effective. "Why fix things that aren't broken?" said Rep. Ron Bigelow, R-West Valley City. Thankfully, their attempts failed and the bill has moved on to the Senate.

Please contact your Senator and ask them to support this bill making the process of electing State School Board members more fair and open, rather than merely the gubernatorial appointments of committees and candidates posing as an “election.”

Especially contact the members of the Senate Education Committee (Click on this link and then the Committee Membership link on the left side), who will decide if the proposal will even get a floor debate and vote, and express your desire for fair elections. They meet tomorrow, Wed. Feb. 25, at 8:00 am. HB 150 is not currently on the agenda, but that may change. If not tomorrow, they will likely consider the bill next week. This common sense bill needs your support.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Unfortunately, Howard Stephenson is my Senator. Do you think it would do any good to ask for his support of HB150? Isn't he responsible for the current mess we have?