Utah lawmakers considered and passed a record number of bills during the 2023 general session, but the top-line numbers don't tell the whole story.

Adam Brown, associate professor of political science at Brigham Young University, compiles an annual database to track several statistics about the Utah Legislature. Here's a breakdown of who passed the most bills, who voted "nay" the most and each party's batting average, according to Brown's Guide to the Utah Legislature.

Is the Legislature becoming more partisan?

In contrast to the U.S. Congress, Brown said the Utah Legislature is relatively bipartisan and cooperative, but that was seemingly on the decline this year.

"There tends to be less sharp partisanship here than you would see in Congress, but there was a little bit of evidence that was ticking up this year," he said. "Democrats struggled a little more to pass their bills this year than in the past."

Brown's party batting average metric shows that Democrats passed only 34% of their bills compared to 67% for Republicans. That's a 33-point difference, the biggest gap since 2009.

It's a recent low for Utah Democrats, who consistently passed between 52% and 57% of their bills between 2015 and 2019.

Democrats also had only 48% of their bills even reach the floor for a vote, the lowest rate since 2007, when the data became available. Democrats regularly had floor vote percentages in the mid-60s to low-70s prior to 2020.

Majority leadership makes committee assignments and largely controls which bills advance to the full chamber for a vote.

Members of the minority party still collaborated with the majority on several major bills this session, and it's too early to say whether Democrats' low batting average is an ongoing trend, or just an anomaly.

Who passed the most bills?

Brown tracks the number of bills introduced by each legislator, brought to a vote, or passed. All bills aren't created equal, so this isn't a perfect representation of who is most influential, but it can highlight the lawmakers who are regularly involved in the process.

In 2023, Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, led all lawmakers in both chambers with 29 bills brought to a vote — 28 of which were passed. Harper, the Senate president pro tempore, has long been one of the more prolific legislators and has been well above average in terms of bills sponsored, going back to 2007.

Sen. Stephanie Pitcher, D-Salt Lake City, passed 10 bills, the highest number for any member of the minority party. Pitcher — a first-time senator who previously served four years in the House — introduced 16 bills, 11 of which were brought to a vote.

Here are the top five legislators by number of bills passed:

  • Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville: 28
  • Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden: 20
  • Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan: 20
  • Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo: 19
  • Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross: 16

Six lawmakers — including four freshmen — passed zero bills this session. Rep. Steven Lund, R-Manti, was the only legislator who didn't introduce any bills of his own, although he was the floor sponsor of six Senate bills and signed on as a co-sponsor for more than a dozen.

Most frequent "nay" votes

It's probably not surprising that the list of lawmakers who vote no most frequently is made up of mostly Democrats, who hold a small minority of seats in both chambers. But the biggest "naysayer" was actually freshman Rep. Quinn Kotter, a Republican from West Valley City.

Kotter voted against 129 bills on the House floor, which means he voted no more than 16% of the time.

Here are the 10 lawmakers with the highest percentage of "nay" votes:

  • Rep. Quinn Kotter, R-West Valley City: 16.1%
  • Rep. Brett Garner, D-West Valley City: 14.1%
  • Rep. Gay Lynn Bennion, D-Cottonwood Heights: 12.7%
  • House Minority Leader Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City: 12.2%
  • Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City: 11.7%
  • Rep. Doug Owens, D-Millcreek: 11.5%
  • Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay: 11.5%
  • Minority Assistant Whip Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City: 11.5%
  • Rep. Sahara Hayes, D-Millcreek: 11.2%
  • Rep. Judy Weeks Rohner, R-West Valley City: 10.8%