New leaders taking over as Utah Legislature opens

Jan 28, 2019, 6:52 AM
Biden vaccine plan...
FILE PHOTO: Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Legislature’s 2019 session will open Monday with new faces in several leadership roles.
Taxes, education and Medicaid expansion are expected to be among the big issues this year. Utah voters approved fully expanding Medicaid in November, but lawmakers who long resisted the change are expected to propose revisions that will have supporters fighting back.

Here is a look at the top leaders, chosen by a vote of lawmakers within their party. Majority leaders appoint committees, chair daily sessions and oversee the running of their respective chambers:


Republican Brad Wilson is moving from majority leader to speaker of the Utah House, replacing outspoken former boxer Greg Hughes, who decided not to run for re-election in 2018 and is considered a possible candidate for governor.

Wilson represents Kaysville, and his day job is CEO of Destination Homes. During his legislative tenure he has helped oversee the sometimes contentious project to move the state’s aging prison from Draper to Salt Lake City. He also sponsored legislation that led to the removal of the so-called Zion Curtain that blocked bars from view in Utah restaurants.

Taxes will be among the big issues this year, he said, including Gov. Gary Herbert’s proposal to tax more services as sales tax revenue shrinks.

Sen. Evan Vickers is the new majority leader.


Utah’s new Senate president is Republican Stuart Adams, who was third in line as majority whip before winning the top job.

He represents Layton, near Wilson’s hometown of Kaysville.

He is a partner in a real estate development firm and was first elected in 2009. Education will be among the top issues this year, especially preparing people for jobs needed in the workforce, he said.

Adams co-sponsored a milestone 2015 compromise bill extending antidiscrimination protections to LGBT people. He also co-sponsored the measure that created Utah’s lowest-in-the-nation DUI threshold of 0.05 percent blood-alcohol content, which took effect this year.


The Senate also has a new minority leader, Democratic Sen. Karen Mayne. She joined the Senate in 2008 after being appointed to the seat held by her late husband, Sen. Ed Mayne. She’s been elected twice since then, and previously served in other leadership roles.

Criminal justice reform and water use are among the important issues she expects to see this year, along with taxes and Medicaid expansion.


Rep. Brian King is returning to his role as minority leader in the state House for the fifth year. An attorney by trade, the Democrat has sponsored bills to keep guns from people convicted of domestic violence, which passed, and to create more comprehensive sex education in Utah schools, which failed.

King also advocated for full expansion of Medicaid, which was approved by voters after failing at the Capitol for years. The issue could be a contentious one again this session, with Republican lawmakers saying changes may be needed to keep costs in check.

Today’s Top Stories


Jeff Gray is pictured. Photo credit: Jeff Gray Campaign Facebook page....
Lindsay Aerts and Samantha Herrera

Jeff Gray to bring back death penalty after becoming presumptive next Utah County Attorney

In the race for Utah County Attorney, prosecutor Jeff Gray beat incumbent David Leavitt and is expected to take office in January.
4 days ago
A voter drops a ballot into a box at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Mo...
Becky Bruce

The Utah primary election is expected to be ‘pretty normal’

Tuesday's primary election in Utah is expected to be about average for a midterm election.
6 days ago
A voter fills in the ballot on the voting machine during the Election Day voting at Vivint Smart Ho...
Lindsay Aerts

State elections leaders dismiss state lawmakers claims of vote switching

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — The State Elections Office says all of the state’s voting machines are working correctly ahead of Primary Election Day Tuesday. This comes after Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, made claims on social media, that some of the machines were changing people’s votes. Screenshot of Lyman’s social media post. Lyman posted on Facebook […]
6 days ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Waverly Golden

Planned Parenthood of Utah files lawsuit against the state

Utah's Trigger Law saw its first challenge on Saturday as Planned Parenthood of Utah filed a lawsuit to block the law that went into effect Friday evening.
7 days ago
marriage Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen firearm codify...
Mark Jones

With Roe v. Wade now overturned, could same-sex marriage be next?

Many people are wondering what precedents the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on next, possibly same-sex marriage. Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen says the court could do so it wishes.
9 days ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Mark Jones

S.B. 174 now in effect in Utah with Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade

With the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Utah trigger law, known as S.B. 174 is now in effect in the state.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
New leaders taking over as Utah Legislature opens