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The Senate advanced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit school districts from hiring contract lobbyists.
Senators gave preliminary approval to SB123, which would forbid school districts or charter schools from using public money to pay contract lobbyists.
"We all work very hard to provide those dollars to education, and I just hate to see them watered down any more," said bill sponsor Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City. "This is my attempt to keep education dollars where they're supposed to be."
Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain, wondered whether the bill would keep associations, such as those representing school boards and superintendents, from lobbying as well. Madsen said some associations function using public money "laundered through various means." Jenkins said it would not affect those organizations, just school districts and charter schools.
Jenkins said the bill, however, does not prevent school district and charter school representatives from contacting lawmakers about legislative issues.
Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, thanked Jenkins for the bill.
"Shame on a school district that hires a lobbyist," Mayne said. "It makes elitist education. It makes one district stand from another."
The bill passed the Senate on second reading 23-2 and must pass the Senate one more time before moving to the House.