POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Education, water are big issues in 2023 Utah Legislative Session, expert says

Jan 13, 2023, 8:00 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — The 2023 Utah Legislative Session begins next week. For 25 days, legislators will discuss bills that will have a direct impact on the future of the state.

Dr. Holly Richardson, who manages Utah Policy Daily, joined KSL at Night with Derek Brown and Taylor Morgan on Wednesday night to preview the session. 

Brown asks, “Give us what you think are the top two or three (bills) that we really, you know, that we ought to be looking at even if we’re not.”

“Let me give you a couple of broad categories rather than specific bills,” Richardson said. “So, they’re pretty big buckets, and you can have lots of buckets that may or may not be controversial in any way.”

Richardson says education is going to be a big issue during the session.

Governor Cox’s recommended budget proposal numbers are quite high for teachers and education, putting a lot of money there,” she said. 

Richardson says the legislative leadership supports that idea. However, she also mentioned there are rumblings that the legislators may decide to do something closer to backpack funding. 

“Which some people are also calling vouchers,” Richardson said. 

With the ongoing drought in the state and the dire situation of the Great Salt Lake, Richardson says water will be another hot topic in the legislative session.

“And so there will be more bills along that,” she said. 

Other items in the 2023 Utah legislative session

Richardson was asked what other big items or big spending appropriations people should keep an eye on.

“I think the tax policy stuff,” she said. “So, both the governor and the legislative leadership agree that there’s going to be significant tax cuts. There’s not agreement yet on what exactly that looks like.”

She expects money will be appropriated to social services to help with housing. Additionally, Richardson says people are advocating for programs such as school lunch.

“Can we provide school lunch for all kids in school,” she said. “Because it happened during the pandemic, and it really seems to make a difference for the kids who were able to eat consistently every day.”

Lastly, Richardson says to keep an eye on two bills concerning Medicaid. 

The first bill would expand Medicaid coverage to women whose families made 200% or less of the federal poverty level.

The second bill would extend postpartum coverage from 60 days to a year. 

 

KSL at Night can be heard on weekdays from 7 to 9 p.m.

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Education, water are big issues in 2023 Utah Legislative Session, expert says