By Stan Rasmussen

TThe Utah Legislature is now meeting in its annual general session, which started Monday and will continue through March 9.

The state of Utah has an excellent legislative website with a wealth of information available to Utahns. Click here to learn the quickest way to find and read the text of a specific bill. To learn more (with pictures!) about how a bill becomes a law, click here. As a citizen, your voice and perspective are included in the legislative process if  you communicate with your legislators. To find your representative and senator and their contact information, click here.

In his introductory remarks (video), Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser addressed the critical need to rebalance the power of the states and the national government. Regarding the “intense partisanship and inability of Washington to effectively pass and deal with issues,” Pres. Niederhauser said,

…this is because the federal [national] government was never intended to be so comprehensive. … The vision of the Founders was to spread power over multiple layers of government in order to prevent any concentration of power. Most issues should be dealt with in our state houses and our city halls, not Washington, DC. … Centralized government was the very thing the Founding Fathers were trying to eliminate. … I call upon my legislative colleagues across this country to join together and build a barrier around state jurisdiction and guard it jealously. Even though I am encouraged by the talk coming from Washington, D.C., now, I don’t think they will give up the power on their own. We will need to hold their feet to the fire.

Underscoring the hard work and decisions of those who have gone before, Speaker Greg Hughes highlighted (video) several of the challenges and issues he and his colleagues in the Utah House of Representatives will address over the next 45 days. Among the more pressing matters will be:

  • The urgency to confront, in appropriate and effective ways, the homelessness crisis in our state
  • Intrusions of the national government and its executive-branch overreach – as manifest in the recent Bears Ears national monument designation – and the efforts now underway to rescind that designation
  • Continuing the prudent balancing of public education funding requirements and preservation of the state’s tax-policy competitiveness with other Western states – a critical element of which is the public land still under the control of the national government

Again, as citizens of Utah, you can participate in the processes of deliberation and decision-making on matters of public policy – if you will – and thereby equip your representatives in the House and Senate to be your voice in the legislative processes of our democratic republic.

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