A Plea to the Governor

by Senator Mike Dmitrich
Senate Minority Leader

Amidst the school voucher mess, the Utah Senate Democrats would like to reiterate their position on HB148 and HB174 intended to enact the voucher law.

For the record, the Senate Democrats voted against HB148, the original voucher bill and subject of the successful referendum. The governor has called a statewide special election for November 6, 2007, and directed that the referendum challenging HB148 be submitted to the voters at that special election.

HB174, another voucher bill containing some, but not all, of the provisions of HB148 also passed during the past legislative session. As outlined by Senator Scott McCoy in a previous post, HB174 was explained as a clean-up bill and contained some of the amendments offered (but rejected) during the HB148 debate. Knowing the primary voucher bill had been signed by the governor and wanting to cure some of the more egregious problems with the original voucher bill, the Senate Democrats voted for HB174. In fact, HB174 passed by two-thirds majorities in both bodies, rendering HB174 referendum-proof.

Speculation now abounds concerning the validity of HB174 to stand on its own to implement vouchers in Utah. In an effort to eliminate the confusion of these two voucher bills, Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich and House Minority Leader Ralph Becker sent a letter to Governor Huntsman last week imploring the governor to call a special session to “provide a way to clean up conflicting interpretations of whether vouchers should be implemented in the middle of a referendum called by the people.”

Click below to read the letter in its entirety. (No response from the governor as yet.)

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In last Monday’s Tribune, a pamphlet was tucked away in the folds of the newspaper entitled “The Real Salt Lake Stadium.” Here is an excerpt from page 2:

Who supported HB38?

“The new law received broad bi-partisan support from both Democrats and
Republicans, with support from Senate President John Valentine, House
Speaker Greg Curtis, Majority Leader Dave Clark, and Minority Leader
Ralph Becker.”

Noticeably absent from the list of bi-partisan supporters in the pamphlet (and on the ReAL website) is Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich.

Deja vu???

Scarfless & JerseylessAfter the passage of HB38, a pompous news conference was held outside the State Capitol, attended by key players who put the deal together (political players–not soccer players, though they were in attendance, also).

To his credit, Governor Huntsman acknowledged the bi-partisan effort and invited the State’s minority leadership to attend the news conference. Senator Dmitrich even took a turn at the dais.

ReAL owner Dave Checketts and his entourage then presented ReAL scarves and jerseys (with their names on them) to Republican legislators and left the Democrats scarfless and jerseyless.

The issue is not a scarf or a jersey. The issue is that Mr. Checketts failed to acknowledge the vital role of BOTH parties in passing HB38, which appropriated funds for the stadium.

Six Senate Democrats deserve thanks for their aye votes, which were ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the stadium ReALity.

Grand Old Elected Official & Sports Official

Sen. Dmitrich at News ConferenceDon’t miss today’s Utah Policy Daily featuring a profile of Utah Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich. He was elected in 1968 to the Utah Legislature at the age of 31 and has served continuously since then, making him Utah’s longest-serving legislator. It is a colorful characterization written by Greg Jarrard entitled “Mike Dmitrich: Grand Old Man of the Legislature,” and also highlights his professional career and his career as a high school basketball and football referee. He and his wife Bo live in Price USA (as he affectionally calls his home) and have three children and three grandchildren.

A Permanent Home for Sports

DmitrichSenator Mike Dmitrich’s Senate Bill 167 (2nd substitute) passed the Legislature and is awaiting the signature of the governor. The legislation creates the Utah Sports Authority (USA), a seven-member board appointed to oversee promotion, development, and marketing of sports events and sports tourism in Utah. Three members of the board will be appointed by the governor, two by the Senate president (no legislators), and two by the Speaker of the House (no legislators). The Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Commission, presently under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce, will move under the USA umbrella.

The Utah Sports Authority will attract and oversee all types of sporting events, including cycling, wrestling, volleyball, fencing, cross country skiing, golf, tennis, gymnastics, and that’s just the beginning of the list.

SPORTS:  They’re great for participants, spectators, and Utah’s economy.

Welcome to our Site and Blog

Welcome to the Web site and blog of the Utah Senate Democrats, where you can become acquainted with the views and perceptions of Democrats in Utah.

We bring to the table a diverse conglomerate of backgrounds offering expertise in natural resources and mining, higher education administration, public relations, labor and industrial organization management, law, political polling and research, and engineering. We represent a diverse aggregate of citizens in both rural and urban Senate districts, and we believe our diversity complements their diversity.

We take our lawmaking responsibilities seriously and are committed to quality representation for our constituents. Please visit our site often for Utah’s sound, sensible outlook.

Mike Dmitrich
Senate Minority Leader