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The Utah House decided Friday that it could use refresher courses on federalism the constitutional relationship between the states and the federal government and approved spending $350,000 to develop the curriculum.
Critics complained the money could be better spent on public schools.
But the House voted 44-25 to pass HB207, and sent it to the Senate.
Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who regularly gives speeches at the Legislature about the Founding Fathers and how America has allowed the federal government to seize more control than intended by the U.S. Constitution, is sponsoring the bill. He also spends much of his time off Capitol Hill as a paid advocate for federalism and states rights.
The state already worked with Utah Valley University to develop a course that is a good introduction on the topic, Ivory said. But he wants money and authorization to develop more detailed, follow-up classes for lawmakers.
"It's time we learn what a compound republic does," Ivory told the House.
The bill originally would have mandated that legislators attend such classes every two years. That was removed from the bill, and Ivory said the plan is now to include the curriculum in regular training and planning meetings that lawmakers have.
Ivory said the $350,000 uses no new money, but comes from savings found by the Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. He is the co-chairman of that committee.
Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, criticized such spending.
"I am thinking what $350,000 would do for all of the priorities that were not funded in our public education budget," she said. "Is this the most important thing we could be spending money on? Is this what your constituents would want?"