SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on the start of Utah’s legislative session (all times local)
Utah lawmakers kicked off their 45-day annual session Monday morning with the usual pomp and circumstance and a pledge to take on big issues this year, including tax reform and opioids.
House Speaker Greg Hughes said in an opening address that legislators this year will continue work to tackle homelessness by working on affordable housing legislation and tackling the opioid crisis and the role that pharmaceutical companies play.
He did not offer details about the legislation.
Hughes, a Republican who announced earlier this month that this will be his final session as a legislator, also thanked lawmakers and said they’ll continue taking on big issues after he leaves.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser used his opening address to also speak about legislative plans to tackle opioid addition, Utah’s congested roadways and tax reform.
Utah lawmakers are expected to dig in to tax reform, Medicaid and more starting Monday when the state Legislature meets for a whirlwind annual session that wraps up the second week of March.
Chief among lawmakers’ priorities will be setting a budget that sends significant money to education, with a hope to boost Utah’s low per-pupil spending and stave off a ballot initiative led by a group of business leaders that would hike Utah taxes to pay for schools.
Lawmakers have more than 1,000 bills in the works and will only pass about 500 before the session ends March 8 at midnight.