Final thoughts on the last day of the Utah 2023 Legislative Session

Mar 3, 2023, 12:13 PM | Updated: Aug 13, 2023, 7:59 pm

PPAU and ACLU are attempting to get a judge to grant a preliminary injunction against a new Utah la...

PPAU and ACLU are attempting to get a judge to grant a preliminary injunction against a new Utah law, banning abortions in clinics. (Annie Barker /Deseret News)

(Annie Barker /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah 2023 Legislative Session started out with a bang, with lawmakers putting their first focus on controversial issues including medical care for transgender youth in Utah, and a school voucher program.

Water and tax cuts were other big-ticket items Utah lawmakers addressed in the 2023 session.

We spoke with several lawmakers as well as Gov. Spencer Cox on the final day of the session, to get a sense of how things went, and what happens next.

Gov. Spencer Cox

Gov. Cox told KSL NewsRadio he was grateful for the work put in by lawmakers and the public over the past 45 days. He doesn’t think he’ll be using his power to veto bills. At least not very much.

“There are many bills that didn’t make it to the finish line and several that have been changed substantially,” Cox said. “And so we do have a few on our list, but it doesn’t look like there’ll be too much that is significant as far as vetoes.”

The governor has 21 days past the end of the session to review the 500-plus bills that will be passed in the 2023 session. He reminded Utahns that their voice can still be heard, and that he’s listening.

“We sit down as a team and we talk through every single bill, looking for things that they (lawmakers) have missed … listening to the public if we get those veto requests coming in, and then making a final decision.”


House Minority Leader Angela Romero

For House Minority Leader Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, one of the highlights of the 2023 Utah Legislative Session was a speech by one of her colleagues. On the floor of the Utah House of Representatives, Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, told other lawmakers that those who represent communities of color were exhausted after “attacks” on diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

“For many people, they’ll want to talk about a $28 billion budget and how we spent that,” Romero said. “But for me, that was a highlight because she just showed the need for us to talk about this (diversity, equity, and inclusion) more, but maybe not in a political sense.”

Romero was referring to H.B. 451, sponsored by Rep. Katy Hall (R-Salt Lake City) and H.B. 427 sponsored by Rep. Tim Jimenez, R-Tooele.

Romero noted that one of the major accomplishments by Democrats in both the Utah House and Senate was to stand together in opposition to H.B. 101, which would have removed the state sales tax on food. But the bill is also tied to changing the way that education is funded in Utah.

“All Democrats voted no on that because we didn’t like it tied to the earmark (education funding).  We’re big supporters of public education, and I don’t think that you need to tie one to the other.”




Senate President, Sen. J. Stuart Adams

For Sen. J. Stuart Adams, R-Salt Lake City, education was the winner in the Utah 2023 Legislative Session.

“Phenomenal that we’d be able to give education, add up all the numbers, a 13% increase in the W.P.U, the weighted pupil unit,” he told KSL NewsRadio. “You add everything in, it’s 18.5%. This is truly a great year for education.”

It’s also a record bill for taxes, Sen. Adams said, and by that, he means tax breaks for Utahns.

“It’s almost $800 million in tax cuts this year,” he said. Adams said that most consumers will see these tax changes in their income, gas, and social security taxes.

And finally, Sen. Adams said he’s proud of the work lawmakers did on addressing water issues in Utah.

“We’re going to spend $500 million on water infrastructure this year. We are going to fix our water problems in Utah. I’m confident of that.”


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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Final thoughts on the last day of the Utah 2023 Legislative Session