As always, education is a hot-topic during Utah’s legislative session. Cache County lawmakers discussed in their weekly town hall some of the ways the pandemic is adding to the conversation.
While most schools in the state returned to in person learning in the fall, students have still been participating in a variety of online learning scenarios and Salt Lake City School District students are just beginning to return to the classroom. Rep. Dan Johnson said there has been some fall out over this. When it comes to teacher safety, he said many of the solutions are at the local level.
“How they clean things up, how they go up and down the hallway, how they sit in, in a lunchroom, how they excuse people, and so forth. So those kinds of things can be developed for safety, right, within a classroom, in a hallway, in the gym, out on the playground,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he believes Salt Lake City School officials are creating a good plan for returning to in person learning, which will allow teachers to receive the educator bonus the legislature is planning on giving to all teachers whose schools have been in person.
Another topic that is being discussed again this legislative session is repealing the death penalty. Rep. Casey Snider said he will not support this legislation.
“There are crimes that are committed that are so heinous in their action that there is no other solution. In many instances, it has yielded at least some closure outcomes,” Snider said.
For Sen. Scott Sandal, term limits are a policy topic he opposes. When it comes to decision making on capitol hill, he said lawmakers aren’t the only people involved—lobbyists and agency heads play a role too.
“if you limit just the amount of time and the institutional knowledge that goes with the lawmakers, those other two categories tend to become more and more empowered,” Sandal said.