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Utah lawmakers begin the 2023 legislative session

Jan 17, 2023, 12:16 PM | Updated: 1:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers returned to their seats as the Utah Legislature kicked off its 45-day general session.

Both the House and Senate convened for the first day of lawmaking on Tuesday.

Four new senators were sworn in during the morning and re-elected senators also took their oaths.

Senate President J. Stuart Adams made the opening day speech in the Senate, highlighting some of the big issues lawmakers will be addressing over the next 45 days.

That includes water conservation, and finding solutions to Utah’s dry climate as well as taxes, with Adams calling 2023, “the year of the tax cut.”

Adams also touched on education funding, teacher salaries and the option of more choices for parents in their child’s education.

This was followed by a discussion of how to thrive in an economy in the face of inflation, incorporating energy and infrastructure that’s future-minded, and creating affordable housing in a tough housing market.

“Let us, with ‘the work of many heads and many hands,’ engage in debate with foresight, make decisions that will positively impact generations, and serve the deserving people of Utah — those here now and the generations which will follow — to the best of our collective abilities,” Adams said.

That scratches just the surface: Other topics up for debate during the legislative session include abortion, transgender surgeries for minors, mental health, domestic violence prevention and responding to Utah’s growing population.

With billions of extra dollars on the table to spend, rounding out to a $3.3 billion surplus, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will be focusing on where all that money should go.

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