Utah State Legislative Coverage

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UPR's reporting on the the Utah State Legislature. 

School districts would be able to allow 16- and 17 year-old students to vote in school board elections if H.B. 338 passed the Utah State Legislature. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was accompanied by state emergency orders that were longer than any in the state’s history, which created tension between former Governor Gary Herbert and state legislators. Now, Utah’s lawmakers are running a bill to place limits on the governor’s powers in a public health emergency

Government regulations and sexual health were hot topics at Thursday's legislative town hall. While many Cache County lawmakers expressed support for H.B. 92 during the meeting, the bill failed to pass out of committee on Friday and was sent back to the rules commitee.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Last summer, amid the protests demanding police reform following the death of George Floyd, we spoke with Darlene McDonald, of the Utah Black Roundtable and a member of the then newly-created Salt Lake City Commission on Racial Equity in Policing. She said at the time: “Once the protests end and the streets become quiet, it is imperative that we not lose focus. We must redefine a new normal in policing.”

A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would provide one of Utah’s most vulnerable populations with identification cards.

Today our focus is on rural Utah and the legislature. What issues are especially important to residents outside of the Wasatch Front? What legislation is being proposed? Our guests will include Sen. Chris Wilson, R-Logan; Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City; Rep. Christine Watkins, R-Price; Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan; and Sen. Ronald Winterton R-Roosevelt. We would love to hear from you. What is the most important issue where you live? Email us to upraccess@gmail.com

A concurrent resolution encouraging k-12 schools in Utah to consider retiring Native American names and mascots failed in the Utah House on Tuesday, 27 to 45. 

A bill that would extend the life of a state task force on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls easily cleared a senate committee on Tuesday. 


As of Wednesday, 325,000 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the State of Utah. At their weekly town hall on Thursday, Cache County lawmakers provided some updates the vaccination situation for their area.

A bill aiming to allow mental health a justifiable reason for students to miss school unanimously passed out of senate committee Wednesday.


As always, education is a hot-topic during Utah’s legislative session. Cache County lawmakers discussed in their weekly town hall some of the ways the pandemic is adding to the conversation. 

A bill that eliminates the requirement in Utah's revenge porn laws that victims must have experienced “actual distress” passed the Utah House on Monday. 

The Utah State Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would allow for residents over 21 who legally own a gun to conceal carry their firearm without a permit. H.B. 60, which already passed the House with an overwhelming majority, will need to be passed by the House one more time and be signed by the governor before it becomes law. Gov. Spencer Cox has already indicated that he intends to sign the bill.


Advocates: Ending Hunger in Utah, U.S. Should be Biden’s Top Priority

Feb 3, 2021
Tada Images/Adobe Stock

In his first week in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order extending a temporary increase in SNAP benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Sen. Hillyard Appointed To Independent Redistricting Committee

Feb 2, 2021
Bernard Gagnon

Members for the 2021 Independent Redistricting Commission were announced on Monday as a result of the 2018 Better Boundaries ballot initiative, which sought to reduce gerrymandering in the state.


A proposal to significantly increase the registration fees on electric vehicles in Utah cleared a legislative committee this week. 

On Monday, the Utah Senate passed a bill that would add some constraints to the state’s use of facial recognition software. 

New Bill Would Prohibit Protesting Private Residences

Feb 2, 2021

A bill to prohibit protesting outside of private residences was introduced in the Utah House on Monday and has been assigned to the rules committee. 

President Biden has issued an executive order placing an indefinite moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development on federal lands. Proponents of the moratorium say it’s a positive step and that previous lease sales on federal lands have harmed some of the West’s most cherished landscapes and slowed the nation’s shift to clean energy. Opponents argue that the moratorium will further harm already hard-hit economies with an outsized impact on rural areas. We’ll talk about it on Tuesday’s Access Utah. Our guests will include Sen.

The Utah Senate passed a bill on Monday creating a state flag task force. Efforts to create a new flag have been recurring over the past few legislative sessions and if passed, S.B. 48 will create a task force that will be charged with creating a process for public feedback in selecting a new flag and providing a report recommending new flag designs. 


At the request of the Utah Legislature, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute – with the assistance of a 37-person Technical Advisory Committee – has prepared a Utah Roadmap to help legislators make policy to improve air quality and address causes and impacts of a changing climate. We’ll ask legislators and others how the Roadmap is being implemented this legislative session. Our guests will include Rep. Steven Handy, R-Layton and Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City.

The first week of Utah’s legislative session has ended and Northern Utah lawmakers are already working on many different pieces of legislation. The men gathered virtually last week for a town hall streamed on Facebook, where they updated constituents on topics from taxes to firearms.

Bills To Expand State Crisis Intervention Pass Senate

Jan 26, 2021

On Monday, the Utah Senate passed three bills that would develop and expand the state’s crisis intervention teams. 


Democratic Representative Andrew Stoddard announced Tuesday that he is opening a bill file to explore impeaching Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes for his involvement in lawsuits regarding the results of the 2020 presidential election and for his ties to groups that were involved with the attacks on the United States Capitol earlier this month. 

Frenchieinportland, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

In response to disparaging comments made to Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell last week by former basketball player and current NBA sports analyst Shaquille O’ Neal, the Utah House passed a resolution on Tuesday to honor Mitchell. 

Today on Access Utah we’ll continue our coverage of the 2021 Utah Legislature by checking in with several advocacy and research groups. We’ll ask them what their priorities are and what they hope emerges from this session of the legislature. We’ll be talking to representatives from Sutherland Institute, Libertas Institute, Utah Health Policy Project, Utah Foundation, Utah League of Cities and Towns, and Crossroads Urban Center.




During this conversation, we hear from


While the Utah State Capitol Complex re-opened to the public on Monday, there are still many virtual options for participating in the legislative session from the comfort of your home.

Lawmakers meeting to override Gov. Herbert's veto.

The 2021 Utah legislative session kicks off under unusual circumstances. Among the many items up for consideration are several police reform measures and an effort to put pressure on schools to resume in-person classes. Plus, a new president means a significant change in public lands policy, and a likely reversal of strategy for two Utah national monuments. And Camp Last Hope, a new kind of homeless encampment, takes shape in Salt Lake City.

Gov. Spencer Cox facebook

On Thursday night, Governor Spencer Cox delivered his first State of the State address from the capitol building.  

On Wednesday, the Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations committee heard testimony to further expand a statewide student apprenticeship program that seeks to give high school students credit for workforce experience.