How citizens can get involved with the legislative process

Jan 18, 2023, 7:30 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 8:14 am

As the 2023 Utah Legislative Session enters its third day, average citizens can still have their vo...

Audience members react to a speaker who was in favor of SB16 "Transgender Medical Treatments and Procedures Amendments” during a Senate Health and Human Services Standing Committee meeting at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. SB16 would ban gender-confirming surgeries and enact a moratorium on minors being prescribed puberty blockers.

SALT LAKE CITY — As the 2023 Utah Legislative Session enters its third day, average citizens can still have their voice be heard on the legislative process at the Utah State Capitol Hill. 

Taylor Morgan, co-host of KSL at Night and a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, joined Dave and Dujanovic with Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to explain how. 

Dujanovic asked, “How do average citizens get involved? And what do you think about like lawmakers actually listening to citizens during the session? Do you think that legitimately happens?”

“It does happen,” Morgan said. “The key is for Utahns to find out who their legislators are. What’s not effective is just to blanket all legislators with a form email. Or, to reach out to legislators that don’t represent you.”

To find out who your legislators are, Morgan says the easiest thing to do is to go to the legislature’s website, and search with your address. And when you reach out to the legislators, make sure they you let them know you are a constituent. 

“Another effective thing that I think or one this applicable is say you have a specific thing you want passed or you want to,” Noriega said. “You can find out who sits on that committee and reach out specifically to the people that make some of those decisions.”

The role of a lobbyist in the legislative process

Noriega asked, “Can you give us a little lobbying one-on-one?”

Morgan says unlike the legislators in Washington, D.C., Utah legislators have day jobs and are only in session for 45 days a year.

“Legislating and policy making is not their day job,” he said. “It is not necessarily their expertise. And so, they really rely upon interest groups, lobbyists. I know people hear the L word and they have negative thoughts.”

Morgan says he got into lobbying when he was a student at the University of Utah, and did it on behalf of the student body. He says anyone can lobby, and lobbyist are an important part of the legislative process.

“If you build trust with a legislator and work in good faith with them,” he said. “They really depend on you.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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How citizens can get involved with the legislative process