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Opinion: Utah should limit how many bills lawmakers can propose each year

One can only imagine how much better bills would be debated, how much less revision would have to be done in future legislative sessions, if our legislature would simply establish a limit of about five or six bills a legislator could request in a session.

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House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, presides over the House during the 2022 session of the Utah Legislature.

House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, presides over the House during the 2022 session of the Utah Legislature at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

As the legislative chairman of the Utah Retired School Employees Association, I have the responsibility of following public education bills considered during our legislature’s session each year.

At the end of the session, after the governor has finished his role in the process, I do a brief summary of what happened, which summary is sent to all members of the URSEA. Below is part of the summary I sent this year, which should interest all Utah citizens:

“I couldn’t find out how many bills and resolutions were requested before they were numbered, but the total bills numbered were: House, 492 bills and 45 resolutions; and Senate, 260 bills and 11 resolutions; a total of 752 bills and 56 resolutions, 512 of which passed. This compares to last year’s 1,216 bills requested, 699 bills and 75 resolutions numbered, 502 of which passed. 

“So, my guess is that there would have been at least 1,200 bills requested at the beginning of the session. Our Legislature is composed of a total of 104 legislators. So that would be an average of about 12 bills requested per legislator. One can only imagine how much better bills would be debated, how much less revision would have to be done in future legislative sessions, if our legislature would simply establish a limit of about five or six bills a legislator could request in a session.”

I wish more people would complain to their legislators about this. We so often hear legislators complain about the overreach of the federal government in our lives, but they don’t seem to worry about how much they are intruding on our lives when they add that many bills each year to govern us. We need someone in the legislature brave enough to pass a bill that would reduce the number of bills that can be presented during a session. 

Fred Ash

Sandy