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Because of a legislative oversight, marriage licenses are on sale at the unheard of price of only $10 at your local county clerk's office - but hurry, this price won't last.

The normal fee was reduced last month after state officials realized that the Legislature had failed to reauthorize a $20 surcharge that was applied to marriage licenses two years ago to fund a displaced homemaker program.House Speaker H. Craig Moody said the program had a "sunset clause" that automatically discontinued the funding in the absence of legislative attention.

"It was not our intent to sunset it, but neither the people involved in the program nor the Legislature caught it. It just slipped through the cracks," Moody said.

On Friday, legislative leaders met with Gov. Norm Bangerter in an attempt to resolve the problem. Moody said a number of options are being explored, including the possibility of a quick, half-hour special session of the Legislature.

"We are up on the hill once a month anyway, and we could meet without additional cost to taxpayers to address this single item," Moody explained. "The displaced homemaker act has proven too worthy a program to let it fail now. Too many people would be sadly affected."

Moody said the use of contingency funds was also explored with the governor, who agreed to consider all the options. If a special session is convened for any purpose, the item will be on the agenda, Moody vowed.

About $350,000 per year is raised by the license surcharge, which provides education and training for women who are trying to enter or re-enter the work force.

The mistake has also caused problems for local counties, which have had to refund the $20 fee to hundreds of couples who applied for licenses during the first weeks in March. Although the authorization expired March 1, many counties were not notified until March 20.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said someone from the Office of Legislative Research told her about the problem on March 10. "Our auditor has been working on getting the refunds out for that period, and of course we've reduced the fee to $10 until something happens."

According to Swensen, state officials suggested that county commissions could authorize the surcharge at the local level and forward the money to the state program. The idea was rejected, she said.

The bargain basement prices for marriage licenses will be available until April 27, when another legislative act - HB258 - tacks $10 to the fee. The bill also adds $15 to divorce filing fees and $1 to birth certificates. The act is expected to raise about $400,000 for a program to help children of divorce.

Until then, however, marriage will be a little cheaper. "It's kind of nice to have it back to $10," Swensen said. "The fee would have been $40, and it's difficult for a lot of young couples to come up with more money."