A great way to learn how to impact state policy — even if you do it from home

Learn how to impact state policymaking by checking out the last Interim Session of the year. 

Every month our state legislators come together at the State Capitol to learn about and debate issues facing Utah in what is called “Interim Session”. These day-long sessions consist of Interim Committee meetings with state representatives and senators that are open to the public and provide an excellent window into how our state legislature works. Community members can attend these meetings either by coming to the Capitol in person (no experience or active participation required) or by listening to audio recordings of the meetings online (which post to the state legislative website shortly after the meetings end).

We think of Interim Session as a training ground for community advocacy at the State Legislative Session, the annual 45-day period beginning January 22, 2018, when state laws are proposed, debated and voted on and our state budget gets balanced. That’s why we invite community members to join us at the Capitol each month to learn more about our State Legislature, what our legislators do and how to impact their policy decisions. At Interim, ordinary people can:

  • Learn about the issues facing Utah today
  • Learn how our legislators talk and what messages are effective in reaching them
  • Learn how to advocate as a community member to impact policy decisions

This Wednesday, November 15th is the final Interim Session before the next State Legislative Session begins

That means Wednesday is your last chance to get a view of our legislative branch in action this year. It’s also when several pieces of draft legislation will be presented in preparation for the State Legislative Session. Use this opportunity to get a valuable window into how our legislature works so you can impact policymaking come January! Here’s how:

CALL TO ACTION

  • Join us on Wed, November 15th, 7:45-8:15a for our Final Interim Session Tour of the State Capitol of the year. Action Utah leaders will take small groups of community members on a tour of the Capitol Campus, review how our legislature works and show you how to advocate for an issue you care about on the Hill. Meet in the cafeteria on the ground floor of the Senate Building (east side of campus, next to the parking lot). Allow plenty of time for parking. Click here or email us​ to RSVP.
  • Sit in on a committee meeting. Action Utah will be at the Hill all day. Whether or not you join us for the tour, we’re happy to meet up with community members throughout the day to orient you and point you toward a committee meeting that interests you. Meet up at the fountain in the central courtyard at 8:15 or email us to coordinate. You may also attend meetings on your own if you prefer.
  • Can’t be there in person? Check out the State Legislative Calendar​ to see what committees are meeting when. Click on that committee to see their agenda for the day (final meeting agendas post at least 24 hours in advance). If a particular topic interests you, listen to the audio recording of that part of the meeting, available in the meeting “Summary”, which gets posted shortly after the meeting adjourns. Listening in will give you a great view not only into the issues, and also into how our legislators learn about the issues, what words they use and what messages are impactful to them. Not sure where to start? Try picking just one topic from one committee meeting and listening to the audio for a few minutes. You’ll get the hang of it quickly!

Being a part of Interim is fun, easy and highly informative. Don’t miss your chance!

INTERIM SCHEDULE (from the Legislative Website Calendar​​)

8:30a-11:15a – Interim Committee Meetings (open to the public)

Health & Human Services Committee – 30 House Building (map​) – Agenda​. NOTE: This meeting starts at 8:00a. One great bill on the agenda for Wed is Rep. Ward’s “Family Planning Service Amendments”, as well as discussion of medical cannabis and opioid misuse.

Business and Labor Interim Committee – 210 Senate Building (map​) – Agenda​. Includes discussion of Rep. Dunnigan’s Fireworks Restrictions Amendments (a possible clean air bill), Sen. Escamilla’s look at gender-based wage discrimination and Rep. Dunnigan’s Utah Antidiscrimination Act Amendments.

Education Interim Committee – 445 State Capitol (map​) – Agenda​. Discussion will cover draft legislation by Sen. Millner and Rep. Val Peterson about Recodification of the Public Education Code and Educator Preparation and Licensure and a look at state education goals and metrics.

Government Operations Interim Committee – 450 State Capitol (map​) – Agenda​​. Includes a discussion of the National Popular Vote, draft legislation of Campaign Finance Amendments, Voter Privacy and a bill that would create Instant Runoff Voting in municipal elections.

Political Subdivisions Interim Committee – 20 House Building (map​​) – Agenda​. Committee discussion will include draft legislation impacting Local Government Boards and Commissions Amendments (a possible follow up to last year’s HB 11), misdemeanor classification and indigent defense, the Mental Health Crisis Line and Free Expression Regulation Amendments.

Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Interim Committee – 25 House Building (map​) – Agenda​. Discussion to include the state’s long term energy policy plan (via the Governor’s Office of Energy Development) and a committee draft bill on Combined Heat and Power.

1:15-4:30p – Interim Committee Meetings (open to the public)

Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee – 450 State Capitol (map​) – Agenda​. Discussion topics include affordable housing and Community Development Block Grants, a report on the Early Childhood Services Study and a review of funding for homeless initiatives.

Judiciary Interim Committee – 2o House Building (map​) – Agenda​. Includes a report and recommendations on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI).

Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee – 25 House Building (map​) – Agenda​. Includes reports on the Sex-Offender Treatment Program, the Impact of Corrections Education Programs on Recidivism and also JRI.

Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee – 445 State Capitol (map​) – Agenda​. Including a report by the Utah Tax Review Commission, discussion about a draft bill proposing multiple state tax reforms (including an increased fee for electric vehicle registration) and review of proposed income tax credits.

Transportation Interim Committee – 210 Senate Building (map​) – Agenda​. Featuring a report by the Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force.

Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee – 30 House Building (map​) – Agenda​. Discussion includes presentation of draft legislation on Conservation Commission Amendments and Underground Storage Tank Amendments and a report from the Commission for Stewardship of Public Land.

Just announced: Senate Floor Session at 4:00p

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