1. Gay-student-clubs issue dominated the Legislature. The result was passage of a bill that prohibits public-school employees from promoting homosexual acts and other illegal activity. Time expired before the House could address a second bill that would have required students to produce written consent from their parents to participate in any club. See Page A29
2. $80 million tax cut Legislators cut the income tax by $40 million, property tax by $30 million and various smaller taxes by $10 million. But they failed to give local governments more taxing powers, and Gov. Mike Leavitt likely will call a special session to deal with that. See Page A27
3. Record state spending Legislators adopted a $5.2 billion budget that saw 12 percent increases in many programs. They changed the state's spending-cap law to allow such growth. The state budget has doubled in less than 10 years. See Page A28
4. Fast lane gets faster Speed limits will increase, to as much as 75 mph on freeways and up to 70 mph on other highways. And PhotoCop has been banned, except in school zones or neighorhoods posted for 30 mph or less. Three cities are directly affected by the ban: West Valley, Sandy and Layton will have to curtail their photo-radar programs. See Page A33
5. Major highway projects Money to improve crowded Wasatch Front highways was not as forthcoming as some had hoped. Legislators showed election-year jitters in refusing to fund the $800 million to $1 billion needed for widening I-15 through Salt Lake County. However, they ponied up $110 million in a new highway fund earmarked solely for "construction, major reconstruction or major renovation" of congested roads. See Page A33
6. Reducing public-school class sizes Lawmakers launched an effort to spend $500 million over 10 years to reduce class sizes in Utah schools. The Legislature appropriated about $52 million to the effort for fiscal 1997, more than $30 million in new money. See Page A29
7. Utah beat Congress to the gate with welfare reform Legislators approved an employment-focused welfare program that takes successful welfare reform principles statewide. And they also created a new department, Workforce Services, which will bring together more than 30 employment, training and welfare programs into a "super-department" that will employ more than 2,000 people. See Page A30
8. No college tuition increase College students will get a one-year break in a 20-year run of tuition hikes, while higher education officials eye millions of dollars that lawmakers placed just beyond their reach. See Page A28
9. Lawmakers pass two abortion bills One measure makes a woman seeking the procedure have a face-to-face interview 24 hours before the abortion where she will be given a video to view of a fetus. The other outlaws two rarely used, late-term abortion procedures. See Page A30
10. Creating cities and townships Communities can become townships instead of cities if they wish. Creating a township allows residents to preserve their tax base for a later incorporation. As a township, they will have legal boundaries and their own planning and zoning commission. Proponents of half a dozen incorporations in Salt Lake County can now move forward with their already filed petitions. See Page A31
Roads and highways
$110 million for the Centennial Highway Fund, reserved exclusively for major construction and renovation of congested highways, likely to be spent for the first stages of widening I-15 through Salt Lake County and completing the Bangerter Highway through South Jordan, Riverton and Bluffdale.
$500,000 for urban-freeway sound walls.
$500,000 to buy rights-of-way for future roads.
$36.7 million in additional funding, though $34.5 million comes from the Uniform School Fund and can't be touched unless voters or the courts approve.
A one-year tuition freeze.
$25 million for improvements to buildings and infrastructure.
$500,000 for student financial aid.
$8.3 million, Snow College Noyes Building; $5.2 million, College of Eastern Utah student union; $4.3 million, Weber State University Val A. Browning Building; $6 million, University of Utah Gardner Hall; $1.2 million (design only) Utah State University Widtsoe Hall.
Total public education budget increased 11.9 percent over last year. Spending will total more than $1.7 billion.
Provided $31 million in new money to reduce class size with special emphasis on grades K-2.
Increased the value of the weighted pupil unit to $1,739, a 4 percent increase. Social Security and retirement were funded above the WPU.
Adult Corrections received pay raises for Corrections officers that amount to between 7 percent and 8.5 percent.
Adult Corrections also received money to continue contracting with a private Texas company to house 100 Utah inmates for another year.
Meanwhile, Youth Corrections received $800,000 for community-based programs and $200,000 for additional receiving centers, as well as $100,000 for juvenile sex-offender treatment. Adult Corrections got $450,000 for sex-offender treatment.
Added $9.2 million to child-welfare base budget for additional staff and programs.
Whacked $1.6 million from welfare reform, slowing expansion.
Funded $2.8 million building block to pay for waiting lists, family support and other services for people with disabilities.
$240,000 for substance abuse treatment for youths.
Raised personal needs allowance for people in nursing homes to $45 a month.
Raided Medicaid funding and removed $925,000 to pay for other things.
Community and Economic Development
Offered $660,000 to Hogle Zoo to help make it more of a destination point.
Gave the Film Commission $20,000. Added $300,000 into the base of the Single Head of Household program.
Spent $2.5 million on the Huntsman Cancer Institute.