The Senate has given unanimous approval to a resolution to propose an amendment to the Utah Constitution to exclude Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents Day from the Legislature's general session calendar.
SJR12, sponsored by Sen. President John Valentine, R-Orem, now moves to the House after Friday's 29-0 vote in the Senate.
Because the start date of the session is set by the state constitution as the third Monday in January, the resolution to change the start date needs the votes of two-thirds of both the House and Senate to place it on the 2008 general election ballot for a vote of the people.
SJR12, as amended, would change the start date of the legislative session to the fourth Monday in January and exclude all federal holidays from the session's 45-day count.
A similar resolution failed in 2000, the same year lawmakers established the state's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, by renaming it Human Rights Day. Civil rights leaders have long called for a change in the start date to honor the King holiday. In the past, however, Valentine and other lawmakers have said meeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day drew more attention to the holiday.