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"It will be an independent body, not people who have a vested interest, not those who are defending the system but parents who are, many of them, actually critical of the system," Stephenson said. "That’s a perfect panel to hear complaints and then give a response concerning those complaints."
But some committee members feel there are simply too many problems with the bill, including that it was rushed.
The bill didn’t have its first hearing until the last two weeks of the session, and then had one Senate floor vote and one House floor vote — a path that skipped some of the typical steps.
Stephenson said it was heard so late in the session simply because it took a long time for bill drafters to get to it and because the education committee was bogged down hearing other bills.
The bill’s lateness didn’t go unnoticed. During the late night debate on the House floor, Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake City, worried about the volume of complaints the committee might receive. And she said, "I think this is awfully broad to be deciding at 20 [minutes] to 12 [a.m.] on the last night of the session."
The bill ultimately passed 38-37 in the House, after all House members were called to the floor for the vote.
Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, who sponsored the bill on the House floor, said he doesn’t believe it was voted on so late on purpose.
He said the bill was crafted with the best of intentions — to be transparent with parents about what their children are learning.
"We don’t want the rumors or the fear to carry the day," Hughes said. "We want real information and real scrutiny."
The governor has until April 2 to sign or veto bills.
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