What are our lawmakers up to?
Now that our lawmakers have had a few months to recover from this year’s General Session, they are gearing up for their first interim session meeting of the year. Not sure what the interim session is? Wondering how you can get involved? No worries! We’re here to break down what you should know about Utah’s interim session.
Utah’s Legislature is part-time, which means that elected officials have just 45 days from January to March to propose, debate, amend, and pass legislation to address key issues affecting our state. For example, during the 2023 General Session, Utah lawmakers passed a record-breaking 575 bills and introduced a record 929.
Their time is so limited during the session that sometimes they aren’t able to address all of the proposed bills. So you may be asking yourself, if the general session only lasts 45 days, and this is the only time when bills can be passed into law, what do our state legislators do once it’s over?
The answer: legislators meet from May to November (except for July) for monthly Interim Sessions.
Utah’s interim sessions help fill the gaps of the general legislative session and play an important role in developing state policy and advocacy work throughout the year.
They happen once a month and, as during the general session, each legislator is assigned to a committee that focuses on specific issues like transportation, natural resources, or energy.
In this space, legislators hear from experts, organizations, businesses, and state agencies and get reports and comments on relevant topics. They also use this time to address citizen concerns, study new issues, discuss potential bills for the upcoming general session, and receive updates on recently passed laws.
While interim sessions might not have the fast-paced thrills of the general legislative session, it is just as important to be aware of what’s happening and what our elected officials are discussing from May to November. During these months, you’ll get a preview of legislators’ top priorities, what bills might come up during the general legislative session, and what issues are of concern for the state. But most importantly, it’s an opportunity for you to provide feedback and input that could shape decisions during the general session.
All interim meetings are open to the public, meaning you can attend committee meetings and sometimes even give public comments. Even if you’re not near the Capitol, you can stay informed of what’s happening in the interim session by watching or listening virtually to the various committee meetings.