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Legislature Discusses Lengthening the Legislative Session

Brian Grimmett
File: Utah State Capitol

The Legislative Process Committee is recommending that the legislature take a look at expanding the 45-day legislative session.

Currently, the legislature meets for 45 calendar days, but they don’t normally hold meetings on Saturdays and Sundays. That means they only meet about 32 times to debate and vote on bills. The committee’s recommendation would expand the legislative session to 90 calendar days and as many as 45 working legislative days. Republican Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville, says as the state has grown so has the work of the legislature, and that’s led to people trying to shortcut the system.

“More bills are being passed that legislators have no time to read," Brown says. "And so, yeah, we’re doing quantity, but not quality.”

But Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake, says extending the session won’t change the rush of the final three days.

“And I don’t know how, even making it 365 days, that last day you’re still going to have that crush of legislation that’s going to come down and bury you on the last couple of days,” Davis says.

The recommendation will now go before the Legislative Management Committee. Any change to the legislative schedule would require a change to the state constitution and would need to be approved by voters during a general election. 

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