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Posted: 3/7/2002 1:10:11 PM EDT
1. House shoots down bill targeting University of Utah's gun ban Associated Press (UT) March 7, 2002 Byline: PATTY HENETZ SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Utah House has defeated a bill that would have allowed the Legislature to halve the University of Utah's administrative budget if it continued to ban guns on campus. The 35-38 vote came during the last hour on the last day of the 2002 Utah Legislature's general session. The bill was generally assumed to be aimed at the university, but the sponsor, Sen. Mike Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, earlier assured the Senate that the bill wasn't punitive. He portrayed it as creating a way to notify agencies or groups when a legislator says they are not following Utah statutes. During an earlier debate on the bill, Sen. David Steele, R-West Point, pointed out that audit committees already are available to examine agencies and their practices. Moving in on its function would run the risk of setting up the legislative branch as the judicial branch, he said. The measure would have put up to half of any state agency's administrative budget in jeopardy if a legislator found it was not following Utah statutes. The bill, which had passed the Senate 18-10, would have required the chairs of both appropriations subcommittees overseeing the affected state agency to agree with the legislator who found fault with the agency. After committee hearings and pubic testimony, if the agency still refused to obey, it could be subject to penalties, including losing half its budget, including salaries and benefits. In January, University of Utah President Bernie Machen was called before legislators to defend the 20-year ban on guns at his campus. House Speaker Marty Stephens, R-Farr West, said the campus rule infringed on the state's concealed-weapons laws. Machen was warned he could face financial sanctions. He told legislators he was willing to go to court to defend the ban. Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has said that papers in the lawsuit testing the ban could be filed next week. In arguing against the bill, Rep. Afton Bradshaw, R-Salt Lake City, said it had "a hint of revenge." "Who are we to go in and be judge and jury," she said. After the vote Wednesday, Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake City, said of the legislative session: "See, there are a few successes."
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