What to expect from Utah’s upcoming legislative session

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The 2021 session of the Utah Legislature begins Jan. 19. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Utah’s legislative body will convene on Jan. 19 to deal with a variety of issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other social and economic changes.

Rep. Marsha Judkins of Utah House District 61 said there are multiple issues she sees as a top priority. “I am sponsoring bills that deal with criminal justice reform, education and affordable housing that I feel are quite important.”

Other issues revolve around economic changes as well. Rep. Nelson Abbott of Utah House District 60 hopes 2021 will be “the year of the tax cut.” Multiple proposals to change Utah’s taxes are expected. “One proposal on the table is to make social security proceeds for low-income recipients tax-free. Another is to make military retirement benefits tax free for low-income recipients. A third proposal is to lower the state income tax rate,” Abbott said.

Multiple representatives mentioned their intention to bring relief to Utahns during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Abbott said he also hopes to see a $1,200 bonus going out to school teachers to help mitigate pandemic impacts.

As the new session starts, multiple elected officials expressed a desire to see their constituents engaged in the political process and to keep up with what is happening on the floor.

“One of the easiest ways to stay engaged is to sign up to receive your legislators’ emails and follow their social media pages. You can email, text or call your legislator with any questions or input you have,” Judkins said.

Sen. Curt Bramble of Utah Senate District 16 felt it was important for citizens to make their voices heard. “I welcome citizen input,” he said. “We are fighting to keep the Capitol open so that people can have their voices heard in the people’s house.”

Bramble said citizens don’t need to be afraid to contact their senators and representatives directly. “Every legislator is just an average citizen who decided to take their turn at bat.”

All of Utah’s elected officials can be contacted through the information on the legislature website.

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