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Opening Remarks from Utah's Speaker of the House

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Monday is the opening day of the Utah General Legislative Session. UPR's Jennifer Pemberton was at the state Capitol for the opening remarks from the Speaker in the House Chamber.

  

It’s a new session. And Representative Greg Hughes’ second year as Speaker of the House. He admittedly had an intense freshman year.

“If my legislative experience has been any indication, I truly don’t think you will ever confuse last session with any session we ever serve again," he told the representatives. "Ever. I truly think it was unique.”

After recapping what made last year worthy in his mind of the nickname "The Super Bowl" of legislative sessions, he moved on to the goals of this year’s session. He opened with a commitment to legislation on technology and education to “fulfill the vision” of his predecessor Speaker Becky Lockhart before moving on to public lands.

He lauded what he called the “legal dream team” behind the Public Lands Initiative, saying “I believe that the natural resources, the management of the land, the environmental management and care of the land is better done by our state than by a large federal bureaucracy.”

Speaker Hughes joked that his speech was three hours long; it was really closer to 40 minutes. He was also able to mention a plan for water infrastructure spending and declared a goal of completely eliminating "red air" pollution days in the state, before closing with the warning that “sitting is the new smoking,” which he declared from his standing podium, urging lawmakers to take the stairs during the session.