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LEAVITT SIGNS GAY-CLUB MEASURE AND OTHERS FROM SPECIAL SESSION

Gov. Mike Leavitt has signed into law the gay-club prohibition and several other bills passed during the April 17 special session.

The clubs bill allows school districts to ban any club and requires they prohibit student groups that encourage criminal behavior, promote bigotry or involve human sexuality. Critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are vowing to challenge the law in court.It and other laws take effect in mid-June. Also signed into law Tuesday were bills:

- Making minor adjustments to laws dealing with the accreditation of officials in the insurance industry.

- Boosting penalties for cruelty to animals, allowing for punishments of up to 1 year in jail and fines of $2,500.

- Granting families a tax break for putting up to $1,200 annually into special college-education funds. Leavitt had vetoed a more generous version of the measure following the regular legislative session, saying it was too costly. The new version is estimated to cost the state $120,000 in lost revenues annually.

- Delaying the effective date of an abortion bill by several months to give the state Health Department time to produce an educational video that must be offered to women seeking an abortion.

- Replacing neighborhood voter registration with a system of satellite offices to be set up in public buildings to register voters.

- Reworking a $52 million construction budget that Leavitt had vetoed in protest of "phase funding," which begins work on new buildings but leaves full payment to later years. The compromise measure deletes $6 million from Gardner Hall at the University of Utah and shifts that money to Weber State's Browning Arts Center.

- Granting a sales-tax break to Geneva Steel and Nucor Steel, worth an estimated $1.2 million over two years.

- Guaranteeing public schools will be first in line to dip into the state's emergency fund to make up budget shortfalls.