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Adoption and alcohol likely topics for Utah legislative session

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Posted at 8:42 PM, Jan 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-22 00:49:22-05

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah State Legislature goes into session on January 28, and lawmakers will address issues like adoption rights, alcohol laws and funding education.

Sen. John Valentine, R-Utah County, has a bill that would create what is called a master license for restaurants. This new license would allow national chains or even local restaurants to expand without obtaining individual liquor licenses for each establishment.

“A master license would be more expensive,” Valentine said. “It would be like 10 or 15 thousand dollars for the master license, but it would give you an assurance that you would always have the ability to expand because you wouldn't have to worry about whether or not there's a quota.”

Senator Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake County, said she plans to propose a bill to take on adoption rights for fathers. Right now Utah mothers can give their babies away without the father ever being notified.

“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls and emails from people saying that they’re concerned that the state of Utah is becoming more, it’s almost like a place where you can buy a baby,” she said.

Robles also said people can expect to see the speed limit on interstates increase to 85 mph in some areas, which is part of the reason she’s pushing legislation to make not wearing a seat belt while on those roads a primary offense. This means drivers could be pulled over and ticketed for not buckling up.

Representative Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said public education funding is perhaps the most important issue of the legislative session. He suggests increasing state income taxes for the rich. Right now most everyone pays 5 percent, but King said people who make more than $250,000 each year should have to pay 6 percent.

"I think what's most appropriate is to ask those who are in the best position to step up to the plate and help," he said.

King said he thinks the Republican majority may need some convincing on this point.

“As information comes to light that shows what trouble we’re facing in terms of our academic achievement and in terms of competing with neighboring states and other countries around the world in public and higher education, I think people are coming around to the idea that we simply need more resources,” King said.

These are just a handful of the bills likely to come up during the legislative session, which runs from January 28 to March 14.