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Utah PolitiLinks: Lawmakers present agendas, while House daily media availability ends

FILE - Senators stand during the national anthem on the first day of the Legislature at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

After a moment a silence in both the House and Senate for fallen Unified police officer Doug Barney, whose funeral was Monday, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, and House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, laid out the goals and agendas for the session.

Issues include education, water, air quality, transportation and taking control of public lands, according to a Deseret News Article.

Lawmakers are exploring a $14 million lawsuit that would transfer federal public lands into state ownership.

In addition to the opening speeches, there were musical performances, including a rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic performed by Calvary Baptist Church.

Battle Hymn of the Republic performed by Calvary Baptist Church Video from Ginny Romney

Justice Reinvestment Initiative addressed

In Chief Justice Matthew Durrant's State of the Judiciary speech, Durrant focused on how Utah's Justice Reinvestment Initiative won't work and could lead to more crime, according to a Deseret News article.

"On this point I need to be clear — if treatment is unavailable, not only will the system fail to improve, it will likely worsen," Durrant said in the article. "Putting offenders who previously would have gone to jail or prison into the community, without treatment, will almost certainly increase crime."

The initiative is facing particular scrutiny because of the recent death of Barney, who was shot by Cory Lee Henderson, a man who was possibly released early because of the program.

House daily media availability ended

Hughes will no longer hold daily availability with the news media and instead meet with reporters individually.

Previously the sessions were streamed live and posted on the Utah Reps YouTube channel.

According to a Deseret News article, the Utah Senate and Gov. Gary Herbert will still have regular meetings with the media.

"We want to have these media availabilities and public access," Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said in the article. "We want that to be out on the Internet. That's what we're doing now. We encourage the press to be here every day. We want the public to know what we're doing."

Opinion section

One Utahn talks about Libertas president Connor Boyack's moral argument for medical marijuana.

Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber discusses Utah's need for political and business leadership in economic matters.


Twitter: GinnyRomney