‘The goal is to veto nothing’; says Gov. Cox for 2024 session
Jan 12, 2024, 6:57 PM | Updated: 7:11 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — Tuesday begins the 2024 legislative session, where Utah lawmakers will create and tweak laws spanning topics from housing and homelessness to water and education. Gov. Spencer Cox said he hopes he doesn’t have to veto any of it.
“The goal is to veto nothing,” he told KSL TV in a sit-down interview Friday. “I know may sound a little bit strange, but if we do our job, that means we’re working so closely with legislators.”
Cox said a successful session for him means solving for affordable housing, making a dent in homelessness, and providing for education.
The legislature has its own priorities. The Senate lists things like energy, education, housing, homelessness, water, infrastructure, and tax cuts. Senate Majority leaders say they want to cut Utah’s income tax again.
“We’ve done it for three years. We’d like to be able to add a fourth year to that,” Senate Majority Whip Ann Millner, R-Salt Lake City, said.
Milner said how the state manages its water amid a drought is a high priority.
“We’re going to need to work on our infrastructure, our storage and conservation efforts that are going to allow us to make sure we can meet the needs of this growing state,” she said.
Then there are the bills that tend to be talkers. Early in the session, we expect to see a bill head to the floor getting rid of so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion statements and offices on Utah’s public college campuses.
Millner called it an “equal opportunity” bill.
“We want we want a world that’s diverse. We want to help every student succeed in that world. We want a world in which there is equity and that everybody has equal opportunity to succeed,” she said.
Bill banning DEI offices in Utah colleges is public.
It prohibits submissions/statements/training that "promote differential treatment" based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or gender identity. @KSL5TV #utpol https://t.co/yREZN8288e
— Lindsay Aerts (@LindsayOnAir) January 12, 2024
We also know that bills have been made public aimed at limiting bathrooms that transgender people can use. Cox has vetoed transgender sports legislation in the past.
“What I’m hoping and what I’m asking the legislature for is that we have a respectful conversation to figure out the best way to handle this very divisive issue in a way that treats people with dignity and respect,” Cox said.
And as for how much revenue the state is expecting? Projections won’t come until February.
“Just because revenue projections are down from where they’ve been in the past doesn’t mean that things aren’t looking good. And from what we’re hearing from economists, we are in a really good spot,” Cox added.
Last year upwards of 575 bills were passed into law, there are already hundreds filed this year.