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Measure to stop partisan Regents appointees fails

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A measure that would have made appointees to the state Board of Regents non-partisan failed in its first hearing on the Senate floor Wednesday, 13-11.

Senators voiced concern about changing a system that had been in place for almost 35 years, and Democrats worried the change would seriously affect their representation on the board.

"Several boards are appointed in similar ways, such as the board of trustees," Sen. Brent Goodfellow, D-West Valley, said. "Balance is good, so I would speak against the bill because I don't think it's needed."

Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, the Senate sponsor of HB119, said that party affiliation should have nothing to do with the appointments because the board is not a political body.

"They shouldn't be involved in politics. They should be concentrating on the task at hand," he said.

The board is composed of 18 members whom the governor appoints, and no more than eight can be from a single political party.