By Representative Christine Watkins, District 67
The 2024 Utah legislature will convene on Tuesday, Jan. 16. For 45 days, we will read, debate, and pass or not pass amendments to old laws or create new laws.
There have been so many bills filed that we are only guaranteed four bills to be written. I have 10 bills filed and six are done, which is because several were written last session, but I ran out of time for them to make it through committee.
We spent the summer in interim meetings, where we listened to bills that did make it last session and decided if new bills need to be filed for our specific committees. We can vote for a bill to go on to the session, but we cannot vote on bills (laws) until we are in the general session.
We will be looking at bills dealing with water, the Great Salt Lake, road rage, student safety in schools and many more. Last session, I worked hard to lobby my House Leadership for funding to expand infrastructure to attract new manufacturing businesses and to help existing energy companies in our area. Even though we only got funding for the San Rafael Research Center, the House Leadership realized they need to update the state’s energy policy and pay more attention to Southeastern Utah.
I am hopeful that some good things for our area will come out of this session. Most of my bills this year will deal with energy and the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS). I will write about them as they get into committee.
We have new leadership because our former Speaker of the House, Brad Wilson, resigned to run for the US Senate. Mike Schultz is our new Speaker, and he is a really good leader. I have a great working relationship with our new leadership team.
I have a new intern and her name is Marley Cambell. She will help me schedule meetings and once the session starts, you will be able to reach out to her. Please feel free to text me if you are visiting the Capitol or have a concern about one of the issues. If I do not get right back to you, please reach out again. Sometimes messages get buried by incoming messages.
Most of you know that I lost my husband during the session last year. We had nine days left, and I was able to return to finish passing all of my bills. I appreciated all of the cards, hugs and beautiful flowers. It has been a rough year without him, but I am tough, and things are good at my home and with my family.
I attended many meetings and conferences this last summer and fall getting ready for this year’s session. I am honored to serve you. Thank you.