Utah State Legislature

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Utah State Legislature

Seal of Utah.svg.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2014 session start:   January 27, 2014
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Leadership
Senate President:   Wayne Niederhauser (R)
House Speaker:  Rebecca Lockhart (R)
Majority Leader:   Ralph Okerlund (R) (Senate),
Brad Dee (R) (House)
Minority leader:   Gene Davis (D) (Senate),
Jennifer Seelig (D) (House)
Structure
Members:  29 (Senate), 75 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art VI, Utah Constitution
Salary:   $117/day + per diem
Elections
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
14 seats (Senate)
75 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Redistricting Committee of the Utah Legislature handles redrawing boundaries
The Utah State Legislature is the state legislature of Utah. It is a bicameral body, comprising of the Utah House of Representatives, with 75 Representatives, and the Utah State Senate, with 29 State Senators.

The Legislature convenes at the Utah State Capitol in of Salt Lake City on the third Monday of January for an annual 45 day session.

As of September 2014, Utah is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: Utah House of Representatives, Utah State Senate, Utah Governor

Qualifications to hold office

To be eligible for the office of a state Senator or Representative, a person must be a citizen of the United States, be at least 25 years of age, be a qualified voter in the district from which elected, and must be a resident of the State of Utah for three years and a resident of the district from which elected for six months.

Sessions

Section 2 of Article VI of the Utah Constitution establishes that the Legislature is to convene a new session every two years on the second Monday in January. This means that the "2010 session" was actually a continuation of a regular session that convened in 2009. Section 16 of Article VI limits these regular sessions to sixty legislative days, except in cases of impeachment.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 27 through March 14.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included LGBT antidiscrimination, giving protection to clergy who refuse to perform same-sex marriages, the state budget, education funding and changing the position of Attorney General of Utah from an elected position to an appointed one.

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 28 to March 14.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included ethics reform, adoption rights, alcohol laws and education funding.[1][2]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 23 through March 8.

Major issues

Major topics included a projected $13 billion budget, improving technology for students, illegal immigration, and infrastructure improvements.[3]

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 24 through March 10.[4] A single day special session was called by Governor Gary Herbert for July 27, to consider several issues, including adjustments to health insurance rates, liquor commission guidelines, judicial evaluations, and adopting another resolution supporting a federal balanced budget amendment.[5] Gov. Herbert has called for a second special session this year, set for the week of October 3. During that week, the legislature will cover redistricting issues.

The 45 calendar days that the Utah Legislature is in regular session during 2011 is tied with Wyoming, New Mexico, and Arkansas for the shortest legislative session in the country.

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 25 to March 11.[6]

Role in state budget

See also: Utah state budget

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[7][8]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in September.
  3. Agency hearings are held from October through November.
  4. Public hearings are held from March through June.
  5. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in December.
  6. The legislature typically a budget in February or March. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Utah is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[8]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[8]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Utah was one of the 10 states that used cost-benefit analysis more than the rest of the states with respect to determining return on investment regarding state programs. In addition, these states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis with respect to large budget areas and when making policy decisions.[9]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: Following the Money 2014 Report

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[10] According to the report, Utah received a grade of B- and a numerical score of 82, indicating that Utah was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[10]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Utah was given a grade of B in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[11]

Senate

The Utah State Senate is the upper house of the Utah State Legislature. It consists of 29 State Senators. Each member represents an average of 95,306 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[12] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 77,006.[13] Senators are elected to a four-year term, with half of all districts up for election every two years.


Party As of September 2014
     Democratic Party 5
     Republican Party 24
Total 29


The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Utah State Senate from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of the Utah State Senate.PNG

House of Representatives

See also: Utah House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the Utah State Legislature. It consists of 75 Representatives. Each member represents an average of 36,852 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[14] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 29,776.[15] Representatives are elected to two-year terms, with all districts up for every two years.

Party As of September 2014
     Democratic Party 14
     Republican Party 61
Total 75


The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Utah State House from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of the Utah State House.PNG

Redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Utah

The Legislature handles legislative redistricting, with the Governor holding veto power.

2010 census

Utah received its local census data on February 24, 2011. The state showed a 23.8 percent growth rate, with no county losing population. The largest cities showed mixed growth: Salt Lake City grew by 2.6 percent, West Valley City grew by 18.9 percent, Provo grew by 7.0 percent, West Jordan grew by 51.8 percent, and Orem grew by 4.7 percent. The counties were more impressive: Salt Lake grew by 14.6 percent, Utah grew 40.2 percent, Davis grew by 28.2 percent, Weber grew by 17.7 percent, and Washington grew by 52.9 percent.[16]

Utah's 2011 redistricting process went relatively smoothly, with the Republican controlled Legislature overwhelmingly passing new maps on October 4. Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed the maps on October 19. However, the Legislature approved, and the Governor signed into law, revisions to the maps in late January 2012 after errors were discovered.

Legislators

Salaries

See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Utah Legislature are paid $117/day. Legislators receive $96/day for lodging each calendar day, tied to the federal rate. They also receive $61/day for meals.[17]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Utah legislators assume office the first or second day of session (January).

Joint legislative committees

The Utah Legislature has six joint interim committees:

History

Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Utah
Partisan breakdown of the Utah legislature from 1992-2013

Utah Senate: Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Utah State Senate. The Utah State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Utah was under Republican trifectas for all 22 years.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Utah House: Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Utah State House of Representatives. The Utah House of Representatives is one of nine state Houses that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Utah was under Republican trifectas for all 22 years.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Utah, the Utah State Senate and the Utah House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Utah state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Utah state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. During every year of the study Utah had Republican trifectas. Its SQLI ranking stayed consistently in the 20s range for the first half of the study, but gradually moved up, bringing it into the top-10 for five of the last six years of the study.

Chart displaying the partisanship of Utah government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

External links

References

  1. FOX 13, "Adoption and alcohol likely topics for Utah legislative session," January 21, 2013
  2. Salt Lake Tribune, "Call them the Swallow Reforms," January 24, 2013
  3. Salt Lake Tribune, "Top issues to watch in the upcoming Utah Legislature," January 21, 2012
  4. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 6, 2014(Archived)
  5. StateScape, "Session Updates," July 22, 2011
  6. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," December 8, 2010
  7. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  9. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  11. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  12. census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  13. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
  14. census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  15. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
  16. U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Utah's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," February 24, 2011
  17. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013