Keeping with a recent tradition of traveling the state each summer, the Utah Legislature will visit Green River, Moab, Blanding and Monticello in September.
Two years ago, Utah's 104 part-time lawmakers visited St. George and Cedar City. Last year they went to Box Elder and Cache counties. An informal group of lawmakers visited Vernal four years ago, and so legislative leaders decided to go to southeastern Utah this year.Usually the trip is made in July. But after getting lucky with abnormally low temperatures in St. George in July two years ago, leaders decided not to push their luck. They're going to Moab in September, not July.
Rep. Keele Johnson, R-Bland-ing, and Sen. Mike Dmitrich, D-Price, will be the official hosts of the trip. But they're counting on local businessmen and chambers of commerce to kick in a lot of the goodies, like free meals.
Lawmakers will go on their regular interim study days Sept. 20-21, so no extra salaries will be expended. However, there will be unusual travel expenses, and while no figures are yet worked out, the trip will likely cost $20,000 or more.
A preliminary schedule calls for a luncheon meeting in Green River at noon on Sept. 20 and public
hearings in Moab that evening. The next day, lawmakers will split into five groups and visit the five chapter houses on the Navajo reservation. Then half of the legislators will return to Blanding for a public hearing and half will go to Monticello for a hearing that evening.
Last year, lawmakers decided to hold their Logan public hearing in the Logan Tabernacle. That caused some complaints by those who didn't want legislators to meet in a building owned by a church - in that case the LDS Church. The meeting was held in the Tabernacle anyway with remote TVs hooked up in a local restaurant for those who didn't want to go to the Tabernacle.
No meetings are planned in church-owned buildings in the southeastern Utah visit, officials said.