Utah Legislature Looks To Extend Annual Session

Nov 25, 2014

With the Utah Legislative session now less than two months away, Utah lawmakers are being asked to consider adding a couple of weeks to the annual 45-day session.

Because lawmakers don't meet on weekends during the session, the actual number of days spend legislating is nearer to 32 or 33. Last week a legislative committee forwarded the idea of amending the Utah constitution to stipulate that lawmakers should meet for a full 45 days within a 90-day calendar period. State representative John Westwood of Cedar City feels that more time just makes for more mischief.

"I am not for extensions. We have 45 days to conduct our business. We've done that, we want to remain efficient and take care of our bills and not extend it and bring in more bills. Sorry, I'm not for that. More is not always better," Westwood said.

Proponents of the idea suggest that extending the session would give lawmakers more time to consider bills, making for better laws and less unintended consequences, but unintended consequences in the form of more legislation and more government regulation are exactly what Westwood says he doesn't like about this measure.

"The thing is, I don't know about the senate but in the house we are given three priority bills to each legislator. Even at that, that's 225 bills right there alone for those three times the 75 members. We need to just take care of those three bills."

The measure would not only require legislative approval, but the approval of Utah voters as well.