(KCPW News) Should members of the Utah legislature be required to learn more about the changing demographics of the state and how to be more sensitive? A bill that would have required such training failed in a Senate committee Tuesday. Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero says his bill would have required new members of the legislature to go through a short class.
“One of the things that has been mentioned is use of the term ‘illegal aliens.’ Obviously, that’s a very dated term. What most people say right now is undocumented immigrants or undocumented community,” he says. “I think it’s a little more respectful. I think it’s a little more appropriate, talking about individuals as individuals and not their lifestyles.”
Romero told the committee the idea behind the bill stemmed from a 2008 incident when former Senator Chris Buttars said “this baby is black; it’s a dark ugly thing” on the Senate floor. He says the training could only benefit lawmakers as they work to create new state policy.
“There is a population growth that’s occurring in our state and we’re changing as a state,” he says. “We need to understand what that means and we need to figure out how to be as inclusive as possible so that we grow together.”
The bill failed in a 2-to-4 vote. The four Republicans who opposed the bill didn’t comment on their reasons at the hearing. Later, Senator Daniel Thatcher told KCPW he thought the bill was a solution looking for a problem.