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HB??: 'Secret' voucher bill shows up on unofficial web site

Rep. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George has started an interactive political Web site he is using to debut his school voucher bill.

Urquhart put his draft bill on the site before formally introducing it in the Legislature. He is asking people to comment on the bill at Politicopia, an interactive wiki site linked through his blog," Target="_BLANK">

"I wanted the public to have a look at it before I lock it in," Urquhart's blog said. "If anyone can show evidence (not just alarmist rhetoric) that public education does not come out financially ahead with this bill, post your arguments and data in the comment section."

Democrat Minority Whip Brad King of Price said he "really kind of liked" the idea.

"We'd much rather have it out there where we can all see it," he said. Next step: public release of the official bill

- Nicole Stricker

HB318: Options for charter-school construction

Charter schools would be able to access low-rate financing to pay building leases under a bill proposed by Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper.

Some counties and municipalities - but not all - already allow charter schools, which are funded with public money, to bond through them.

Hughes believes his bill will keep more money in the classroom and not waste it on expensive building financing.

"If you want to see charter schools succeed, this is a smart way to do that and make sure they're committing money to the classroom," he said.

What's next: The bill awaits a committee assignment.

- Julia Lyon

SB157: Notifying parents of police questioning

Get questioned by a police officer, and mom and dad may be the first to know.

Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, is sponsoring a bill requiring police officers to notify a parent or guardian within 24 hours that the child had been interviewed or questioned. Officers also would have to give the child contact information, including name and telephone number.

The proposed bill would apply in cases where a child is a witness, victim or lawbreaker.

- Brooke Adams

HJR1 Carrying Utah's water on Snake Valley deal

Utah legislators want to make sure Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. gets the facts before he signs a water deal with Nevada.

House members approved a resolution Wednesday that urges the governor's office to wait to partition the Snake Valley aquifer until scientific and environmental studies are done.

"Before anyone sticks a straw into the ground and starts drawing out water, we need to know the impact on the other side," said Rep. Richard Wheeler, R-Ephraim.

Next step: moves to a Senate committee.

HB213: Helping foster teens drive legally

A newly proposed bill would allow a foster parent to help a teenager get a driver license - as long as the foster parent also agrees to be liable for that driver.

The legislation requires that the Division of Child and Family Services notify a foster parent that signing as the responsible adult when a teen applies for a learners, practice or permanent driver license also means being on the hook if the teen is in an accident. - Brooke Adams