Why you should care about the interim meetings of the Utah legislature

May 15, 2023, 7:00 PM

Utah 2022 legislative session...

Aerial view of the Utah State Capitol. Federal disaster relief is on its way to Utah to help those impacted by flooding and wildfires. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News, KSL-TV Chopper 5

SALT LAKE CITY — Starting Tuesday, Utah lawmakers are gathering for interim legislative meetings. It’s the first in a series of meetings over the course of the year, where the legislature will flush out big state issues with the goal of eventually running legislation. 

“Interim meetings are where legislation is really made, it’s where the sausage is made,” said Taylor Morgan, KSL at Night host and political strategist. 

Morgan adds that voters often feel left out of the legislative process because big ticket items move quickly during the 45-day general session in January, leaving little time for public input. 

“That’s is really the purpose of interim — that’s where bills and issues are thorougly vetted,” said Morgan.

Different from the general session, interim committees are made up of lawmakers from both parties and both chambers. During the regular session, standing committees are made up of just the Senate or just the House, respectively. Interim allows each side and each chamber a chance to weigh in.

Utah’s 2024 prioroties 

So what will be discussed during this year? Specifics bills aren’t known right now, but some of the questions and topics lawmakers want to tackle, are.

For each legislative committee, the Senate President, House Speaker and committee chairs approved this list of priorty discussion guiding them into 2024. 

They range from “political neutrality” in education and a review of Utah’s sensitive materials law, to what to do with conserved water. Lawmakers also plan to tackle emerging technologies and cybersecurity, the health of Utah’s power grid, affordable housing, homelessness, and a slew of other state issues big and small. 

These committees might also decide to run “a committee bill” which is essentially a bill that already has committee approval. This bill would become a priority to be heard in the general session.  

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Why you should care about the interim meetings of the Utah legislature