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Utah’s rapid-fire Legislative session begins Tuesday

Utah State Capitol
Glenn Nagel
/
gnagel - stock.adobe.com 114353681
Twilight at the Utah State Capitol.

Ready or not, the 2023 session of Utah’s Legislature is getting underway.

The state’s legislative session runs just 45 hectic days, during which time elected leaders are set to tackle everything from Great Salt Lake water levels to abortion, transgender youth healthcare and education spending.

Tuesday Jan 17 marks the first day of the session. It concludes March 3.

Governor Spencer Cox started early, announcing in December he would seek a significant increase in education spending including raises in pay and benefits for every single teacher in Utah.

Utah currently has a budget surplus of about $3 billion, and its per-pupil education spending is ranked second to last in the country at $8,968 per student. Only Idaho, which spends $8,376 per student, was lower according to data from the National Education Association.

The Legislature is also eyeing tax cuts. In addition, State Senate President Stuart Adams told KPCW that the Legislature may take up regulation of short-term rentals. He also told the Park City Council that 2023 priorities include work on housing and development tools.

Four Republican legislators represent Summit and Wasatch counties in the state house: Kera Birkeland in District 4 (Pinebrook, Jeremy Ranch and Kimball Junction), Brian King in District 23 (Summit Park), Mike Kohler in District 59 (Park City proper and all of Wasatch County) and Scott Chew in District 68 (mostly northern Summit County to the Wyoming border).

In the state Senate, Republican John Johnson represents District 3, which covers Summit Park, Jeremy Ranch and north Summit communities including Henefer and Coalville. And Republican Ron Winterton represents District 20, which includes Park City proper, the Snyderville Basin and South Summit areas.

Legislative committee meetings and floortime sessions are open to the public.

KPCW is partnering with KUER in Salt Lake City to offer coverage of the session. Tune in Tuesday mornings at 8:30 to the Local News Hour for weekly wrap-ups of major action. Find in-depth coverage of legislative issues that impact the Wasatch Back throughout the session at www.kpcw.org.

More information about the session, including directions for attending virtually, is available on the state government website, le.utah.gov.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.