Write the legislature and assert your position that they separate HB 215 into two separate bills and honor the constitution’s single-subject requirement.
(Names/Single emails will be forwarded to the legislature as you sign). The list of names will be compiled and delivered to the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, and the bill sponsors in a single document. Names will not be publicized.
At this time, we, the undersigned citizens of the State of Utah, formally request that the Legislature follow the mandatory provisions of the Utah Constitution with respect to HB 215 and limit HB 215 to one subject.
Specifically, the Utah Constitution Article VI, Section 22 states:
“Except general appropriation bills and bills for the codification and general revision of laws, no bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.” (emphasis added)
HB 215 has two very distinct subjects – a raise to public school teacher salaries, and an entirely new scholarship program to give money directly to private schoolers and homeschoolers.
While HB 215 tries to fit both subjects under one subject by calling itself a “Funding” bill, funding alone cannot usually be the operative subject of legislation for purposes of the Utah Constitution. While courts do give some deference to the Legislature, they do not give wide latitude to fit two subjects together simply because they purport to be related to “funding.”
For example, in the case of Pass v. Kanell, 100 P.2d 972, 98 Utah 511 (Utah 1940), the Supreme Court of Utah, pursuant to the Utah Constitution Article VI Section 22, struck down a law that had two subjects, one on vehicle registration and one on the liability of certain drivers of vehicles, even though both dealt with “motor vehicles”. The Court specifically looked past the fancy title and stated: “Registration of automobiles and ownership of and liability for negligence of a rent driver, to some may be one subject. To us it is at least two.” Id.
If a bill only contains “one subject” because the subject is “funding”, or “laws of Utah”, or some other general, far-reaching language, then the Utah Constitution will have no meaning. To give the Utah Constitution the meaning intended, the normal definition and usage of terms should be applied.
With HB 215, there are two distinct and separate subjects contained in the Bill. One for public teacher salaries and one for creating an entirely new system of “choice” in Utah that gives public money in unprecedented amounts to private individuals and actors. The two subjects are not interrelated or correlated in any manner, as one can occur without any need for the other to occur.
Due to these, we, the undersigned citizens, formally petition the Legislature to require HB 215 to be separated into separate bills that each addresses the applicable subject at hand – one for teacher salary increases and one for school choice. Otherwise, if this is not done, HB 215 may not survive judicial review as was the case with the legislation in Pass v. Kanell above.
Due to the overwhelming response to this petition, it may take up to 30 seconds for this form to go through. Maybe more, depending on demand.
Upon completion, you will be redirected to a “landing page” or CTA for the bill itself. An “auto-reply” will follow eventually.