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Utah Lawmakers Pass Measure Calling on Congress to Abolish U.S. Education Department

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The Utah state legislature has passed a joint resolution calling for a return to federalism in general, and, in particular, the end of the federal Education Department.

The measure passed the Utah State House with a vote of 60-14, and the State Senate, 20-1. It was enrolled on March 17.

State Rep. Ken Ivory sponsored HJR 017, titled “Joint Resolution to Restore the Division of Governmental Responsibilities Between the National Government and the States.” The resolution “urges the President of the United States and Congress to recognize state authority and take action to restore power to the states.”

The measure specifically urges that Congress end the federal Education Department and block grant funds for education to the states:

WHEREAS, the [federalism] Commission received the following summary of federal overreach:

EDUCATION

  • Recognize that education is not a power delegated to the federal government under the Constitution, it is reserved to the states;
  • Abolish the United States Department of Education and block grant administration costs and federal appropriations to the state;
  • Repeal the mandates of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; and
  • Relax the overly expansive interpretation of federal regulations, which increase costs and adversely affects education at all levels.

The resolution also:

  • calls upon the President of the United States to reenact President Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order 12612 and to create a national commission on federalism;
  • urges Congress to pass and adhere to the Enumerated Powers Act;
  • urges Congress to pass the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act;
  • urges Congress to pass the Intergenerational Financial Obligations Reform Act;
  • urges Congress to direct the Government Accountability Office to conduct an audit of federal programs, rules, regulations, and laws that have federalism implications;
  • demands that all branches of the federal government refrain from any activity that limits the policymaking discretion of the states.

In addition, the resolution “encourages other states to join with the state of Utah in documenting issues of federal overreach.”

Two bills have been introduced into Congress that call for the abolishment of the U.S. Education Department.

In February, Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie introduced H.R. 899, a measure that contains only one sentence: “The Department of Education Shall Terminate on December 31, 2018.”

North Carolina Rep. David Rouzer (R) introduced another measure in March, H.R. 1510, that “proposes a responsible dismantle of the Department of Education by reallocating its billions in funding to be proportionally distributed to the respective states to be used for any education purpose as they see fit.”

President Donald Trump recently signed legislation that rolled back two Obama-era education regulations, one regarding teacher training programs and another focused on state requirements in meeting some directives of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was enacted in 2015 to replace No Child Left Behind.


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