In his last opening remarks as House Speaker, Greg Hughes congratulated his fellow lawmakers, and himself, for working collaboratively to work to address homelessness, for enacting justice reform, for continued economic growth in the state, and for resolutions encouraging changes to Utah national monuments.
Hughes said those resolutions bore fruit when President Donald Trump visited the state in December to downsize the Bears Ears and Grande Staircase Escalante National Monuments.
In his speech to the assembled state representatives, Hughes also set his sights on the pharmaceutical industry — saying that Utah would be well served suing Big Pharma for its role in the American opioid epidemic.
"We need, in my opinion, to create a liability or an accountability for those that have produced these drugs as we see the carnage that has been created in what CDC, the national Center for Disease Control appropriately calls a ‘national health crisis,’" he said.
The House speaker, who earlier this month announced he wouldn't seek reelection, said that a number of bills to hold drugmakers accountable are in the works.
Hughes also said this session the legislature should seek to change the governance structure at the Utah Transit Authority, where he once served as board chair; and continue working to increase education funding.
The Utah Legislative session runs from now until the second week of March.